callgrind_control - Linux


callgrind_control is a command-line tool used for controlling performance profiling using Callgrind, a tool for profiling memory usage and performance of C and C++ programs. It enables dynamic control of profiling operations and manipulation of profiling data.


callgrind_control [options] [command [arguments]]


  • -h, –help: Displays help information.
  • -v, –version: Displays version information.
  • -i, –interactive: Launches an interactive session with Callgrind console.
  • -o Specifies the path to the output file for profiling data. Default: callgrind.out.<pid>
  • -f Selects profiling mode: none (disables), mem (memory profiling), cpu (CPU time profiling), or both (both). Default: both
  • -D Sets the sampling period (in clock ticks) for CPU time profiling. Default: 200000
  • -t Limits profiling to the specified time duration in seconds.
  • -d <objdump_path> Specifies the path to the objdump executable used for callgrind analysis.
  • -p Excludes matched functions from profiling: -p 'function_name' (regex syntax)
  • -j Includes only matched functions for profiling: -j 'function_name' (regex syntax)
  • -g Includes only matched global variables for memory profiling: -g 'variable_name' (regex syntax)
  • –annotations= Enables annotations from the specified file.
  • -C Generates Callgrind output in Calltree format.


Simple profiling:

callgrind_control ./my_program

Interactive profiling:

callgrind_control -i ./my_program

Memory profiling only:

callgrind_control -f mem ./my_program

Profiling with custom output file:

callgrind_control -o my_profile.out ./my_program

Excluding specific functions from profiling:

callgrind_control -p 'function1|function2' ./my_program

Common Issues

  • Ensure that the objdump binary is installed and accessible for Callgrind analysis.
  • If profiling is not starting, check if the program has been compiled with debug information (e.g., -g flag for GCC).
  • Large programs may generate huge profiling data. Adjust the sampling period or time limit accordingly.
  • Callgrind may occasionally struggle with programs that use dynamic libraries or complex object models.


Callgrind can be integrated into continuous integration (CI) pipelines using scripts that invoke callgrind_control and process the profiling data for identifying performance bottlenecks.

Related Commands

  • valgrind: A comprehensive tool for memory and performance analysis.
  • objdump: A binary code disassembler used for Callgrind analysis.
  • ggdb: A graphical user interface for Callgrind.