Linux kernel debug information missing from Intrepid

Pär Andersson paran at
Sat Nov 1 01:22:45 UTC 2008


On Friday 31 October 2008 21.55.39 Martin Pitt wrote:
> In Intrepid it is now marked as a "debug symbol" package and lands at

The packages is not installable using APT as they are missing from the ddebs 
repository Packages file. Also the meta-packages seems to be missing.

> However, I agree that you aren't the first one who complains about
> this, and it isn't all that obvious how to find it.
> Maybe some kernel package should at least ship a README to explain how
> to find it?

I am probably one of the others you mention. I made a comment on some bug some 
time back, but due to work I have not had the time to follow up on this. :-(

The current state is that you have to use Google and find IRC logs to get any 
information at all about this change. For me this is a huge regression, I 
would have liked it to be mentioned in the release notes that kernel debugging 
is no longer supported.

That I say unsupported is because until now Ubuntu have actually been one of 
the distributions where this have had the best support. Everything have been 
available in the normal repository, and upgrades have worked thanks to the 

Compare this with CentOS where you have to get the debuginfo from a separate 
FTP site after every kernel upgrade, or Debian where I don't think they are 
packaged at all. Fedora have them in a separate repository, but this is 
configured by default so you you just use yum --enablerepo=fedora-debuginfo.

Unless the ddebs repo is made as easy to use as Fedoras debuginfo I don't 
think the kernel debug stuff should move there, so for Intrepid please move 
them back. If you really need to move them then wait for Jaunty, make sure you 
document the change and handle upgrades for people that have them installed.

I think kernel debugging is special enough that it can have an exception and 
not been in ddebs with normal user space debug symbols. For some reasons why 
kernel debugging is special just look up some Solaris marketing about what 
DTrace can do. On Linux we have systemtap instead but it needs debug symbols 
to work. OProfile is another good example, it works for user space 
applications, but for diagnosing hardware issues you will need the kernel 

A little of topic, but at work we are a CentOS shop. Two colleagues that have 
"upgraded" their laptops to Ubuntu have both mentioned how easy it was to get 
oprofile running.

I also read in the release notes for RHEL 5.3 beta yesterday that systemtap is 
mentioned. I find it sad to see Ubuntu going in the opposite direction.

This rant got a little longer than I intended, sorry about that, but I really 
think this is a big regression that should be corrected. 

Just don't think that I am only complaining. This (and one kmail bug) is the 
only real problem I have with Intrepid. I upgraded to some late alpha, and 
overall I think this is one of the best releases yet. :-)


Pär Andersson

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