C++11 ELF/DWARF parser
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elf Added #include <errno.h> to files that use errno. Sep 4, 2018
examples Added #include <errno.h> to files that use errno. Sep 4, 2018
test dwarf: support non-native byte order Dec 2, 2016
.travis.yml Travis's trusty image already has Python 3 Sep 28, 2016
LICENSE MIT license Sep 28, 2013
Makefile Add a simple test suite and a "make check" target Sep 28, 2016
README.md Link to Libelfin's home page (GitHub) Sep 17, 2016


Libelfin is a from-scratch C++11 library for reading ELF binaries and DWARFv4 debug information.

Quick start

make, and optionally make install. You'll need GCC 4.7 or later.


  • Native C++11 code and interface, designed from scratch to interact well with C++11 features, from range-based for loops to move semantics to enum classes.

  • Libelfin fully implements parsing for Debugging Information Entries (DIEs), the core data structure used by the DWARF format, as well as most DWARFv4 tables.

  • Supports all DWARFv4 DIE value types except location lists and macros.

  • Nearly complete evaluator for DWARFv4 expressions and location descriptions.

  • Complete interpreter for DWARFv4 line tables.

  • Iterators for easily and naturally traversing compilation units, type units, DIE trees, and DIE attribute lists.

  • Every enum value can be pretty-printed.

  • Large collection of type-safe DIE attribute fetchers.


Libelfin implements a syntactic layer for DWARF and ELF, but not a semantic layer. Interpreting the information stored in DWARF DIE trees still requires a great deal of understanding of DWARF, but libelfin will make sense of the bytes for you.

Using libelfin

To build against libdwarf++, use, for example

g++ -std=c++11 a.cc $(pkg-config --cflags --libs libdwarf++)

To use a local build of libelfin, set PKG_CONFIG_PATH. For example,

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$PWD/elf:$PWD/dwarf

There are various example programs in examples/.


Libelfin is a good start. It's not production-ready and there are many parts of the DWARF specification it does not yet implement, but it's complete enough to be useful for many things and is a good deal more pleasant to use than every other debug info library I've tried.