The gap between the power of interactive debuggers and what most people actually use is wider than it has ever been. I will survey the capabilities of state-of-the-art debuggers (such as record-and-replay, reverse execution, and omniscience), say a bit about how they work, and explain how shifting hardware and software trends are working both for and against progress in these areas. I will discuss some of the observed reasons why developers don’t use interactive debuggers more, and what might be done about that, both inside and outside the research community.
Robert O’Callahan obtained a PhD in static program analysis at Carnegie Mellon, researched dynamic analysis at IBM Research, switched to browser engine and Web standards development at Mozilla (becoming Distinguished Engineer), led development of the rr record-and-replay debugger at Mozilla, then co-founded Pernosco to develop an omniscient debugger. Currently he works for Google Research in Auckland studying distributed systems.