8.81. About Debugging Symbols

Most programs and libraries are, by default, compiled with debugging symbols included (with gcc's -g option). This means that when debugging a program or library that was compiled with debugging information, the debugger can provide not only memory addresses, but also the names of the routines and variables.

The inclusion of these debugging symbols enlarges a program or library significantly. Here are two examples of the amount of space these symbols occupy:

Sizes will vary depending on which compiler and C library were used, but a program that has been stripped of debugging symbols is usually some 50% to 80% smaller than its unstripped counterpart. Because most users will never use a debugger on their system software, a lot of disk space can be regained by removing these symbols. The next section shows how to strip all debugging symbols from the programs and libraries.