Remote debugging on Blackberry devices

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This page is a how-to on how to setup remote debugging for BlackBerry devices with the command-line tools. Currently the instructions are for Linux and Mac, but should be similar on Windows.

Please do not miss the the GDB manual to learn how to use GDB, the command-line debugger.

Note that Qt Creator supports remote debugging for BlackBerry devices as well, see this article for details. Qt Creator uses the same steps as outlined below, just wraps it into its IDE.


  • Allow SSH connections to your BlackBerry device. See the BlackBerry Hints and Tips article for more details about this.
  • Compile your app in the debug mode

Deploying the application

The deployment process is the same as for just testing the application the device:

> blackberry-nativepackager -devMode -package bar-descriptor.xml

For PlayBook, see the steps described here

Launching the application

As next, you should launch the app on the device and stop it for debugging. blackberry-deploy will do this for you:

> blackberry-deploy -debugNative -device <device_ip> -password <device_password> -launchApp

This will stop the execution early on (immediately after the process has been spawned) and wait for the debugger to attach and tell it to continue.

The PID is in the output from blackberry-deploy listed as result::<pid>. You will need this <pid> below to attach to the process.

Attach and setup the debugger


> ntoarm-gdb

In the GDB shell, run

(gdb) target qnx <device_IP_address>:8000
(gdb) attach <pid>
(gdb) file /path/to/app/executable/on/the/host
(gdb) set solib-search-path $HOST_QTDIR/lib:$HOST_QTDIR/plugins/xyz/:$BBNDK/target_<version>/qnx6/armle-v7/lib/:$BBNDK/target_<version>/qnx6/
(gdb) attach <pid>
(gdb) b main
(gdb) c

With the last command from the above block, the app should stop in in the first call in main().

Note: $HOST_QTDIR is a path on the development host machine pointing to the root folder of the Qt build for the ARM target, and not on the device. $BBNDK refers to the folder where the BlackBerry NDK is installed. It can contain multiple versions of target and host files. This is why you have to replace <version> with a value which is valid for your environment.

Reading symbols from shared libraries might be unreliable…

If versions of the target libs on the host do not match those on the target, gdb might fail to load symbols from shared libraries. You can check the status of loaded shared libraries by

(gdb) info sharedlibrary

You can enforce reloading of the shared libraries by:

(gdb) sharedlibrary

TBD: add information how to download a runtime matching the device libraries.