News from the automatic crash reporting front

Martin Pitt martin.pitt at
Fri Jan 26 11:20:09 GMT 2007

Hi all,

during this week's distro team sprint I spent a fair while on
implementing new Apport features, as well as add some optimizations
for faster data collection. I would appreciate a more widespread
testing of and feedback about the new workflow and features, as well
as inform the documentation team to update the screenshots and
instructions (you might want to steal from [1] which I just updated).

In particular, apport got the following improvements:

- Automatic upload of debug information to Malone.

  Thus it is no longer necessary to manually attach the debug data
  file blob to a newly filed bug report. Instead, the data is uploaded
  first, then the user is guided through bug filing (including a
  default bug title, which should help to mitigate bug duplicates),
  and then the apport debug information is automatically turned into
  additional description text and attachments.

  The same applies for bugs that are filed through the Help menu's
  'Report a bug' entry: you will not see any interactive apport
  windows at all any more, but land straight on the +filebug page.

- Per-package hooks to collect additional information.

  Packages can now ship a file /usr/share/apport/<package>.py with a
  method 'add_info(report)' to add additional data, logs, etc.
  Ubiquity will use this soon. This should help to further reduce the
  bug ping-pong for some packages.
  Feel free to ask me for help with creating your own plugins!

- Automatic reports for package installation/upgrade failures.

  If you use update-manager for upgrading your system, it will now
  generate a report with it and ask you to send it to Launchpad.

  This feature is prepared in apport and will be uploaded next week.

- Faster and more robust core dump acquisition.

  apport now uses a new feature from Linux 2.6.19, which allows it to
  pipe the crashed program's core dump directly to apport. This means
  that (a) the crash report does not need to be written to the disk
  temporarily, (b) we can now get reports for programs with a
  non-writeable current directory (such as notification-daemon), and
  (c) our remaining fixes are suitable for submitting upstream, so
  that eventually apport can run on an upstream kernel.

- Lots and lots of bug fixes and speedup of package information

Thanks for your attention and thanks in advance for your feedback!



Martin Pitt
Ubuntu Developer
Debian Developer
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