ABRT

Handle crashes of your applications automatically and debug with ease!

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What is ABRT

ABRT (Automatic Bug Reporting Tool) is a set of tools to help users detect and report application crashes. It’s main purpose is to ease the process of reporting an issue and finding a solution.

ABRT can also be a valuable tool in developer’s toolbox, helping with collecting and debugging crashes in various programming languages.

Coupled with FAF (Fedora Analysis Framework) it provides extensive statistics about crashes of your application over its complete life cycle.

Using ABRT

ABRT is installed by default on most Fedora spins. You can verify its functionality by forcefully crashing an application of your choice. We choose sleep as our victim for demonstration purposes. Following commands will run sleep in background and then kill it with SIGSEGV signal to produce a crash:

sleep 10m &
kill -SIGSEGV $!

When ABRT handles a crash you will get notified via desktop pop-up or console notification if abrt-desktop or abrt-console-notification package is installed. You can then investigate the crash via gnome-abrt GUI application or use abrt-cli when working from console.

It is always a good idea to test the ABRT functionality for applications you are developing or maintaining in Fedora. If you are building your own RPMs you might have to enable handling of non-GPG signed software. In case ABRT failed to handle crash of your application consult troubleshooting section of ABRT project documentation.

Reporting

If the crashing application is part of Fedora you can leverage reporting to Fedora hosted FAF instance and Red Hat Bugzilla. This is one of the advantages of having a package included in official Fedora repositories that allows developers and maintainers to receive bug reports from users of their application.

New ABRT CLI

Available since Fedora 23 is the new ABRT CLI tailored specifically for developers. It is part of a abrt-cli-ng package and can be installed with:

$ sudo dnf install abrt-cli-ng

CLI is then available as abrt executable, try running it on your system:

$ abrt

By default it lists crashes that belong to currently logged-in user. To get detailed information about a last crash use info subcommand:

$ abrt info

If bash-completion is installed on your system, the CLI can use it to complete hashes of problems or package names for its subcommands:

$ abrt backtrace <TAB>

If the last parameter specifying problem to use is omitted subcommand will work with the last problem that occurred on the system.

To run GDB against a last problem use:

$ abrt gdb

To install debuginfo packages for the affected package use

$ abrt debuginfo-install

These two can be combined to automatically install debuginfo packages prior running gdb with:

$ abrt gdb --debuginfo-install

To get the full list of commands and options use

$ abrt --help

or

$ abrt <subcommand> --help

Further reading

Refer to ABRT project documentation for more information and configuration examples.