Debugging Rust with VSCode on FreeBSD

The following is a set of notes for installing VSCode on FreeBSD and getting a debugger up and running in a step by step guide. I thought I would share them in a full post as having a full IDE with syntax and error highlighting along with detailed in-context explanations has been really useful as I get to grips with Rust.

If you find any errata then please hit me up on twitter @dhigit9 and I will make the amendments.

There are four points we will walk through and it should take ~30 minutes.

  1. Install Required Dependencies

  2. Setup Rust

  3. Install VSCode with Plugins

  4. Debug a Sample App

Install Required Dependencies

As root run the following command:

# pkg install chromium gconf2 gdb git bash

To explain a little about these pre-reqs:
VSCode uses a lot of shared libraries from chromium so we need to add it. This should become less onerous as vscode/electon make it into ports but right now this is the state of affairs.
If you are using KDE then gconf2 is required.
This tutorial uses gdb as the default installation of lldb on FreeBSD doesn't have the required python scripting support enabled. It may be possible to build lldb with python support from ports but this would add significantly to the setup time.

Finally we add bash to run the rustup scripts.

Setup Rust

Rust can be set up from pkg with # pkg install rust But the Rust Language Server (RLS) components in VSCode depend on rustup so we are going to use that in this scenario.
Please feel free to download and audit the script if you are not comfortable running random scripts from the internet.

I am also adding the default toolchain to be nightly as I will be using this in other tutorials but feel free to use stable if you would prefer.

% curl -sSf | sh -s -- --default-toolchain nightly

We will also need to add the cargo bin folder to your path. There are a number of ways to do this but I prefer editing my cshrc in % ~/.cshrc
Uncomment the set path line and add $HOME/.cargo/bin

set path = (/sbin /bin /usr/sbin /usr/bin /usr/local/sbin /usr/local/bin $HOME/bin /usr/local/lib/qt5/bin $HOME/.cargo/bin)  

In order to get the code completion facilities with the rust plugins we should get the source and set up an environment variable to point to it.

% mkdir code
% cd code
% git clone
% cd rust

Get the sha1 for the nightly build

% rustc -V
rustc 1.33.0-nightly (e40548bc4 2018-12-21)  

Now reset the code so it's in sync with the build

% git reset --hard e40548bc4
% HEAD is now at e40548bc43 Auto merge of #56779 - adrian-budau:master, r=alexcrichton

Now we need to setup an environment variable in ~/.cshrc as we did for PATH so the plugins know where to find it.

setenv RUST_SRC_PATH $HOME/code/rust/src  

Now refresh your environment

% source ~/.cshrc

Install VSCode with Plugins

Builds of VSCode are supplied from here -

I am using 1.26.0 on FreeBSD-12.0-RELEASE with no issues you can download it directly from

Once the download has completed expand the file

$ tar xvf VSCode-freebsd-x64-1.26.0.tar.xz

Then link the binary to an executing folder in this example we use $HOME/bin as that was configured as part of the path config in the cargo setup. It's also called code as this is in my muscle memory from other operating systems.

% ln -s $HOME/VSCode-freebsd-x64- ~/bin/code

Now start VSCode by running % code at a terminal.

Click the plugin button PlugingButton and search for RLS and install.
RLS Screen

Repeat this process by searching for Native Debug
Native Debug Screen

Click the reload button to Refresh VSCode.

If everything is configured correctly you should be prompted to install the additional rust tooling by RLS.

Now we are ready to debug some code.

Debug a Sample App

% cd ~/code
% cargo init sampleapp
% cd sampleapp
% code .

Navigate to the main source and set a breakpoint
Set a Breakpoint Screen

Now open a command prompt CTL + ` or navigate View -> Terminal
and run % cargo build
This will create an executable at ./target/debug/sampleapp
Build Screen

Now we are ready to debug!

Press F5 or Click the Debug -> Start Debug menu

You will be prompted to select and environment - choose GDB.

You will then be asked to fill in the launch.json.
You can keep all the setting but point it too your debug build by setting the target to ./target/debug/sampleapp

This is a full example.

    // Use IntelliSense to learn about possible attributes.
    // Hover to view descriptions of existing attributes.
    // For more information, visit:
    "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
            "name": "Debug",
            "type": "gdb",
            "request": "launch",
            "target": "./target/debug/sampleapp",
            "cwd": "${workspaceRoot}"

If you save the file and press F5 again you should be dropped into the code at the breakpoint you created earlier with the call stack and more information available.
The right click context menu should also work for you too.

Breakpoint Screen

That's all for now but I will be posting more things as I find them and write them up.