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13.20 Running self-tests under valgrind

For projects written in C or similar languages, running the self-tests under Valgrind can reveal hard to find memory issues. The valgrind-tests module searches for Valgrind and declares the VALGRIND automake variable for use with automake’s TESTS_ENVIRONMENT.

After importing the valgrind-tests module to your project, you use it by adding the following to the that runs the self-tests:


This will run all self-checks under valgrind. This can be wasteful if you have many shell scripts or other non-binaries. Using the Automake parallel-tests feature, this can be avoided by using the following instead:

AUTOMAKE_OPTIONS = parallel-tests

Then valgrind will only be used for the and tests. However, this means that binaries invoked through scripts will not be invoked under valgrind, which could be solved by adding the following:


And then modify the shell scripts to invoke the binary prefixed with $VALGRIND.