In all-stop mode, whenever your program stops under gdb for any reason, all threads of execution stop, not just the current thread. This allows you to examine the overall state of the program, including switching between threads, without worrying that things may change underfoot.
Conversely, whenever you restart the program, all threads start
executing. This is true even when single-stepping with commands
In particular, gdb cannot single-step all threads in lockstep. Since thread scheduling is up to your debugging target's operating system (not controlled by gdb), other threads may execute more than one statement while the current thread completes a single step. Moreover, in general other threads stop in the middle of a statement, rather than at a clean statement boundary, when the program stops.
You might even find your program stopped in another thread after continuing or even single-stepping. This happens whenever some other thread runs into a breakpoint, a signal, or an exception before the first thread completes whatever you requested.
Whenever gdb stops your program, due to a breakpoint or a signal, it automatically selects the thread where that breakpoint or signal happened. gdb alerts you to the context switch with a message such as `[Switching to Thread n]' to identify the thread.
On some OSes, you can modify gdb's default behavior by locking the OS scheduler to allow only a single thread to run.
off, then there is no locking and any thread may run at any time. If
on, then only the current thread may run when the inferior is resumed. The
stepmode optimizes for single-stepping; it prevents other threads from preempting the current thread while you are stepping, so that the focus of debugging does not change unexpectedly. Other threads only rarely (or never) get a chance to run when you step. They are more likely to run when you `next' over a function call, and they are completely free to run when you use commands like `continue', `until', or `finish'. However, unless another thread hits a breakpoint during its timeslice, gdb does not change the current thread away from the thread that you are debugging.
By default, when you issue one of the execution commands such as
step, gdb allows only
threads of the current inferior to run. For example, if gdb
is attached to two inferiors, each with two threads, the
continue command resumes only the two threads of the current
inferior. This is useful, for example, when you debug a program that
forks and you want to hold the parent stopped (so that, for instance,
it doesn't run to exit), while you debug the child. In other
situations, you may not be interested in inspecting the current state
of any of the processes gdb is attached to, and you may want
to resume them all until some breakpoint is hit. In the latter case,
you can instruct gdb to allow all threads of all the
inferiors to run with the
set schedule-multiple command.
on, all threads of all processes are allowed to run. When
off, only the threads of the current process are resumed. The default is
scheduler-lockingmode takes precedence when set to
on, or while you are stepping and set to