KDE Crash Tracking System ðŸ’£

KDE is now evaluating Sentry, a crash tracking system.

Who can get access? Everyone with a KDE developer account.

But what is it?

Since forever we have used Bugzilla to manage crash reports but this has numerous challenges that haven’t made any improvements in at least 10 years:

  • Finding duplicates crashes is hard and in our case involves a human finding them
  • When debug symbols are missing we need to ask the user to recreate the problem, which is not always possible
  • Users need to worry about debug symbols (this is in part improved by the rise of debuginfod – yay!)
  • We have no easily consumed graphs on how prevalent a specific crash is, and by extension we have a hard time judging the importance
  • The user needs to actually write a report for us to learn of the crash (spoiler: most crashes never get this far)

All in all it’s a fairly dissatisfactory situation we are in currently. Enter Sentry.

Sentry is a purpose-built crash tracking system. It receives crash reports via API ingestion points and traces missing frames with the help of debuginfod, can detect duplicates automatically and thus show us particularly aggressive crashes, and much more. Best yet, it supports many different programming languages which allows us to not only improve the quality of our software but also our infrastructure services.

The current evaluation instance is already amazing and helped fix numerous problems, and the current setup is not even using all features yet and we have hampered rollout a bit: only git builds currently submit data. If all goes well and we find it to be amazing I hope we’ll eventually be able to roll this out to production releases.

Let’s look at a crash I’ve fixed recently.

Here’s what Sentry received from the user:

Not terribly useful. So with the power of debuginfod it turned it into this:

I then applied some brain power to create a fix and consequently the crash has disappeared, as we can see in this neat graphic here:

Here’s a complete crash information page from a recent infrastructure problem in our bugzilla bot:

Also check out my Akademy talk:

KDiff3 master as git mergetool? Yes, please!

I like using kdiff3, I also like using git, I also like using bundles for applications. Let’s put the three together!

Set up the KDE git flatpak repo and install kdiff3

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists kdeapps --from https://distribute.kde.org/kdeapps.flatpakrepo
flatpak install kdeapps org.kde.kdiff3

Write a tiny shim around this so we can use it from git. Put it in /usr/bin/kdiff3 or $HOME/bin/kdiff3 if $PATH is set up to include bins from $HOME.

exec flatpak run org.kde.kdiff3 "$@"

Don’t forget to chmod +x kdiff3 it!

git mergetool should now pick up our kdiff3 wrapper automatically. So all that’s left to do is having a merge conflict and off we go with git mergetool

KDE Applications in Ubuntu Snap Store

Following the recent addition of easy DBus service snapping in the snap binary bundle format, I am happy to say that we now have some of our KDE Applications in the Ubuntu 16.04 Snap Store.


To use them you need to first manually install the kde-frameworks-5 snap. Once you have it installed you can install the applications. Currently we have available:

  • ktuberling – The most awesome game ever!
  • kbruch – Learn how to do fractions (I almost failed at first exercise :O)
  • katomic – Fun and education in one
  • kblocks – Tetris-like game
  • kmplot – Plotting mathematical functions
  • kgeography – An education application for learning states/countries/capitals
  • kollision – Casual ball game
  • kruler – A screen ruler to measure pixel distance on your screen

The Ubuntu 16.04 software center comes with Snap store support built in, so you can simply search for the application and should find a snap version for installation. As we are still working on stabilizing Snap support in Plasma’s Discover, for now, you have to resort to a terminal to test the snaps on KDE neon.

To get started using the command line interface of snap you can do the following:

sudo snap install kde-frameworks-5
sudo snap install kblocks

All currently available snaps are auto generated. For some technical background check out my earlier blog post on snapping KDE applications. In the near future I hope to get manually maintained snaps also built automatically. Also from-git delivery to the edge channel is very much a desired feature still. Stay tuned.