Install GEF

There is NO mandatory dependency to have gef running contrarily to other projects. A simple recent GDB compiled with Python scripting support will do.


Only GDB 7.7 and higher is required. It must be compiled with Python 2 or 3 support.

All recent distributions of Linux now embeds a GDB version compiled with at least Python 2 (although more and more are migrating towards Python 3).

You can verify it with the following command:

$ gdb -nx -ex 'pi print(sys.version)' -ex quit

This should display your version of Python compiled with gdb.

For example, with Python2

$ gdb -nx -ex 'pi print(sys.version)' -ex quit
2.7.3 (default, Mar 18 2014, 06:31:17)
[GCC 4.6.3]

Or Python3

$ gdb -nx -ex 'pi print(sys.version)' -ex quit
3.4.0 (default, Apr 11 2014, 13:08:40)
[GCC 4.8.2]

If you see an error here, it means that your GDB installation does not support Python.

Note: If your GDB is compiled with Python3, GEF will assume that your environment locales are in UTF-8 (which is the standard). If you use on purpose another locales, you may expect Unicode exceptions preventing many commands to work as expected. Please set up your locales to UTF-8 to have GEF running smoothly.

Setup from repository

The best way to use GEF is through cloning the git repository from GitHub, and then sourcing the file from your ~/.gdbinit.

$ git clone  # or git pull to update
$ echo 'source /path/to/' >> ~/.gdbinit

One-time setup script

If you only need GEF for a one-time environment (VMs, etc.) that do not have/need git installed, just go with:

$ curl -s -L | sh

Optional dependencies

A few commands were added to GEF to extend its capabilities. It is highly recommended to install the following modules (but not required):

Some of those modules can be installed through python-pip. The following commands will work for most distributions, but substitute pip3 for versions of gdb compiled with Python 3:

$ pip install capstone
$ pip install ropper

Please refer to each project for installation and troubleshooting guides. As gef works out of the box, please do not send issues to this project if you have problems while installing those modules.

gef will assume the module installations are valid. Otherwise, it will automatically disable all the gef commands that require this invalid module.

Check setup

To check that GEF has been correctly installed, simply start a new gdb session against any binary.

$ gdb -q /bin/ls

You should see the following header and prompt

$ gdb -q /bin/ls
gef loaded, `gef help' to start, `gef config' to configure
37 commands loaded (15 sub-commands), using Python engine 3.5
Reading symbols from /bin/ls...(no debugging symbols found)...done.