From Just Solve the File Format Problem
A core dump file is the saved image of a program's memory state from a Unix-style OS, usually made when it crashes, so that a developer can debug it. The name refers to the days when computers used magnetic core memory for their RAM.
File names are usually just
core or start with a prefix of
core., depending on system configuration.
Core files are often in a version or extension of the OS executable file format, such as ELF.
- FreeBSD man pages: core(5)
- Linux man pages: core(5)
- Mac OS X man pages: core(5)
- Oracle Solaris 11.2 man pages: core(4)
Core files are usually generated by the OS itself, and can be read by debugging tools for the system they were created on.