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Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2023 22:43:28 -0400
From: Matt Wozniski <>
Subject: Unwinding multithreaded musl applications with elfutils fails

I'm unsure if this is an elfutils bug or a musl bug. I suspect both.
I've already reported this to the elfutils maintainers at

Using the elfutils eu-stack program or libdw's dwfl_getthread_frames
API to unwind multithreaded applications linked against musl libc on
x86-64 fails, getting stuck on `__clone`:

TID 241:
<uninteresting frames snipped>
#20 0x00007f6f2f74f08b start
#21 0x00007f6f2f75138e __clone
#22 0x00007f6f2f75138e __clone
#23 0x00007f6f2f75138e __clone
#253 0x00007f6f2f75138e __clone
#254 0x00007f6f2f75138e __clone
#255 0x00007f6f2f75138e __clone
eu-stack: tid 241: shown max number of frames (256, use -n 0 for unlimited)

GDB seems to detect the condition that libdw is getting stuck on,
emitting a warning message but terminating:

<uninteresting frames snipped>
#44 0x00007f8f83e4d08b in start (p=0x7f8f836b8b00) at
#45 0x00007f8f83e4f38e in __clone () at src/thread/x86_64/clone.s:22
Backtrace stopped: frame did not save the PC

I suspect the cause for gdb's "frame did not save the PC" warning and
elfutils' repeated emission of the same frame is an invalid DWARF CIE
for __clone in musl.


docker run -it --privileged python:3.10-alpine sh

And in the container:

apk add --update musl-dbg elfutils
python3.10 -c "import os, threading; threading.Thread(target=lambda:
os.system(f'eu-stack --pid={os.getpid()}')).start()"

That spawns a thread that forks a subprocess that runs `eu-stack` on
its parent, and reproduces the issue. If you remove the thread and
just run:

python3.10 -c "import os; os.system(f'eu-stack --pid={os.getpid()}')"

then unwinding succeeds, ending at `_start`.

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