User:DarioAndres/Basic Guide about Crash Reporting

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Contents

Introduction

This document describes how to create useful bug reports for crashes of KDE applications.

(You can get a more detailed document at How to create useful crash reports)

What is a "crash" ?

A crash or (system crash) in computing is a condition where a program (either an application or part of the operating system) stops performing its expected function and also stops responding to other parts of the system. More information at Wikipedia

Creating useful crash reports

A good crash report consists of two parts: a description of how to reproduce the crash and a backtrace of the crash. With any of those elements missing, it is very hard (if not impossible) for developers to tackle the problem.

Description

A useful description should contain everything that you were doing prior to the crash. It should not just say "it crashed".

Examples: Did you click on a button, did you open a particular website or file which caused problems? These little details, which may look useless to you, may be useful for the developers, so just write them down.

A more insightful article on how to write good bug descriptions is available at this link, please read that before reporting bugs.

KDE Platform and Application's version

The KDE Platform version is an important detail that is often missing in bug reports.

If you do not know what KDE Platform version are you using, you can get it:

  • Selecting the "About KDE" option in the Help menu of every KDE application

or

  • Running the command kde4-config --version in Konsole. You will get an output like this:
Qt: 4.6.0
KDE Development Platform: 4.4.0
kde4-config: 1.0
noframe
 
Note
The crash reporting assistant integrated in KDE 4.3 and later automatically includes the KDE version in your report.

Application specific details

For several applications it can be useful to have specific details inside the bug reports:

  • Plasma Desktop: Plasmoids you have in your desktop (both official and unofficial), desktop settings (wallpaper plugin, themes), activities and dashboard configuration.
  • KWin (the windows manager): state of compositing(desktop effects): enabled / suspended / disabled, kind of effects enabled, window decoration.
  • Konqueror: Sites you were visiting, number of opened tabs, plugins you have installed, non-default settings.
  • Dolphin: file view mode, grouping and sorting settings, preview settings, directory you were browsing.
  • Kopete: IM protocols you use, plugins you use.
  • KMail: Mail protocols and account-types you use.
  • KWrite/Kate/KOffice: Type of the document you were editing.
  • Juk/Dragon/Amarok (multimedia players): Type of media (extension and format) you were watching and/or listening to.

Backtraces

A backtrace basically describes what was happening inside the application when it crashed, in a way that developers may track down where the mess started. They may look meaningless to you, but they might actually contain a wealth of useful information.

  • Don't attach the backtrace to the bug report. Instead, simply paste it. This way it is much easier for developers to search for duplicate reports, because attachments can not be searched.
noframe
 
Note
If you are providing a backtrace in a report which does not belong to you, consider that the report could be unrelated to your crash, even when the symptoms are the same. In such cases, just attach the backtrace as a file, so the bug triagers can check it and say if it is the same crash or not

Generating a new backtrace

To generate a new backtrace you need the application to crash again. This can be achieved repeating the same steps and situation that leaded to the original crash.

  1. If you were told to install a specific debug information package, please do it before repeating the crash. (More information ...)
  2. Repeat the original steps or situation to "reproduce" the crash
The application crashes and the KDE Crash Handler dialog appears
  1. Click the "Developer Information" tab in the KDE Crash Handler dialog to fetch a new backtrace
  2. When finished, copy the backtrace and paste it inside the bug report


Screenshot of the KDE Crash Handler dialog

KDE 4.3+ Crash Handler dialog

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