I want to alter a ELF executable function call and replace one of it's parameters. The executable calls dlopen() function and passes RTLD_NOW as the flag parameter. I want to change it to RTLD_LAZY.

What's the easiest way to detect the exact place where this call is done, and replacing the parameter.

I have to do it on production environment, so I only have GNU toolchain, gcc, gdb, etc.

  • 2
    Are you talking about permanently patching the executable or modifying at run time?
    – PSS
    Aug 3, 2013 at 14:28
  • Both. At runtime to test it. And then persist it. Aug 3, 2013 at 20:14
  • Theoretically LD_PRELOAD would be your friend, but given that dlopen is implemented within the loader, it's possible that this approach would fail.
    – 0xC0000022L
    Aug 4, 2013 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


The easiest way to do this is with . Put a breakpoint on the dlopen function, and change the parameters (likely passed on the stack). RTLD_NOW is defined as 2. Simply change it by 1 (RTLD_LAZY).

To sum up, in gdb

breakpoint dlopen
set stack_memory_address = 1

Where stack_memory_address is the address of your mode parameter.

  • How do I save it, is it possible from gdb ? Aug 4, 2013 at 19:39
  • 1
    You can use an hex-editor, seek to the offset that you broke on in GDB, and change the 2 in a 1.
    – jvoisin
    Oct 26, 2013 at 14:23

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