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Old 03-03-2009, 09:12 PM
Steve McIntyre
 
Default -dbg packages; are they actually useful?

Hey folks,

I'm looking at my local mirror (slowly) update at the moment, and I've
got to wondering: are the large -dbg packages actually really useful
to anybody? I can't imagine that more than a handful of users ever
install (to pick an example) the amarok-dbg packages, but we have
multiple copies of a 70MB-plus .deb taking up mirror space and
bandwidth. I can understand this for library packages, maybe, but for
applications?

Thoughts?

--
Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK. steve@einval.com
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Powered Midship Specialty


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Old 03-03-2009, 10:06 PM
Russ Allbery
 
Default -dbg packages; are they actually useful?

Steve McIntyre <steve@einval.com> writes:

> I'm looking at my local mirror (slowly) update at the moment, and I've
> got to wondering: are the large -dbg packages actually really useful to
> anybody? I can't imagine that more than a handful of users ever install
> (to pick an example) the amarok-dbg packages, but we have multiple
> copies of a 70MB-plus .deb taking up mirror space and bandwidth. I can
> understand this for library packages, maybe, but for applications?

They've been vital for me several times with library packages and I've
occasionally cursed libraries that didn't have them. I find them much
less interesting for applications (and indeed dropped them from one
application package that I took over after it was orphaned).

There are some exceptions, though; for example, I ship debug symbols for
the OpenAFS fileserver since it's often hard to figure out what's going on
without a backtrace and upstream is very active and very good about
analyzing those backtraces. I similarly think it's important to provide
debugging symbols for slapd.

--
Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>


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Old 03-03-2009, 10:11 PM
Don Armstrong
 
Default -dbg packages; are they actually useful?

On Tue, 03 Mar 2009, Steve McIntyre wrote:
> I've got to wondering: are the large -dbg packages actually really
> useful to anybody?
>
> Thoughts?

I think they are useful, but probably not for the vast majority of
users. [I've used them on a few dozen occasions.]

What I really wish for is the ability to have a relatively centralized
location where the symbols from every single package ended up that was
separate from the normal mirrors.

The above, coupled with a coredump submission site which would accept
coredumps and automatically generate backtraces for them (or a script
that downloaded the -dbg packages, unpacked them and backtraced the
coredump) would be a great help in debugging some of the relatively
rare segfaults. [We could probably even hook up a coredump handler to
such a script.]

There was some talk that Ubuntu was going to implement such a thing at
the Prague UDS, but I've no clue if it ever came to fruition.


Don Armstrong

--
Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle
is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to
fool.
-- Richard Feynman "What is and What Should be the Role of Scientific
Culture in Modern Society"; 1964

http://www.donarmstrong.com http://rzlab.ucr.edu


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Old 03-03-2009, 10:19 PM
Bastien ROUCARIES
 
Default -dbg packages; are they actually useful?

On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 12:11 AM, Don Armstrong <don@debian.org> wrote:
> On Tue, 03 Mar 2009, Steve McIntyre wrote:
>> I've got to wondering: are the large -dbg packages actually really
>> useful to anybody?
>>
>> Thoughts?

See #508585 and http://debug.debian.net/

It will be really nice to have this stuff generalized for squeeze.

> I think they are useful, but probably not for the vast majority of
> users. [I've used them on a few dozen occasions.]
> What I really wish for is the ability to have a relatively centralized
> location where the symbols from every single package ended up that was
> separate from the normal mirrors.

See http://debug.debian.net/

> The above, coupled with a coredump submission site which would accept
> coredumps and automatically generate backtraces for them (or a script
> that downloaded the -dbg packages, unpacked them and backtraced the
> coredump) would be a great help in debugging some of the relatively
> rare segfaults. [We could probably even hook up a coredump handler to
> such a script.]

Like unbuntu system. it is really really helpful.

> There was some talk that Ubuntu was going to implement such a thing at
> the Prague UDS, but I've no clue if it ever came to fruition.

It is implemented in ubuntu, and lauchpad receive automatic report.

> Don Armstron
>
> --

Bastien


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Old 03-03-2009, 10:41 PM
Ansgar Burchardt
 
Default -dbg packages; are they actually useful?

Hi,

Don Armstrong <don@debian.org> writes:

> What I really wish for is the ability to have a relatively centralized
> location where the symbols from every single package ended up that was
> separate from the normal mirrors.
>
> The above, coupled with a coredump submission site which would accept
> coredumps and automatically generate backtraces for them (or a script
> that downloaded the -dbg packages, unpacked them and backtraced the
> coredump) would be a great help in debugging some of the relatively
> rare segfaults. [We could probably even hook up a coredump handler to
> such a script.]
>
> There was some talk that Ubuntu was going to implement such a thing at
> the Prague UDS, but I've no clue if it ever came to fruition.

Ubuntu has both of the above: automatic generation of debug symbol
packages at build time [1] and a backtracing service integrated in the
bug tracker [2].

Regards,
Ansgar

[1] https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel-announce/2006-September/000195.html
Packages with debug symbols can be downloaded from
http://ddebs.ubuntu.com
[2] https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2007-March/023440.html

--
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:21 PM
Sune Vuorela
 
Default -dbg packages; are they actually useful?

On 2009-03-03, Steve McIntyre <steve@einval.com> wrote:
> Hey folks,
>
> I'm looking at my local mirror (slowly) update at the moment, and I've
> got to wondering: are the large -dbg packages actually really useful
> to anybody? I can't imagine that more than a handful of users ever
> install (to pick an example) the amarok-dbg packages, but we have
> multiple copies of a 70MB-plus .deb taking up mirror space and
> bandwidth. I can understand this for library packages, maybe, but for
> applications?

Yes. They are very useful - without those, crash reports are mostly
useless.

/Sune
- thru his KDE maintainer glasses


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Old 03-03-2009, 11:28 PM
Axel Beckert
 
Default -dbg packages; are they actually useful?

Hi,

On Tue, Mar 03, 2009 at 10:12:22PM +0000, Steve McIntyre wrote:
> I'm looking at my local mirror (slowly) update at the moment, and I've
> got to wondering: are the large -dbg packages actually really useful
> to anybody? I can't imagine that more than a handful of users ever
> install (to pick an example) the amarok-dbg packages, but we have
> multiple copies of a 70MB-plus .deb taking up mirror space and
> bandwidth. I can understand this for library packages, maybe, but for
> applications?

I was glad to have them available for e.g. tracking down some nasty
xulrunner bugs on non-x86 -- and I guess xulrunner only counts half as
library. Same for liferea, webkit (a library, okay: and some webkit
browsers (midori comes to my mind).

Just an idea coming to my mind: What if they are available from their
own APT repository which doesn't need to be mirrored everywhere?
Somehow in a similar way as the CD images are distributed separately.

Ok, the CD images are no APT repository and splitting off the -dbg
packages to a separate repository would mean that what is built from
one source package would have to be split up (probably after upload)
and put into different APT repositories.

Regards, Axel
--
Axel Beckert - abe@deuxchevaux.org, abe@noone.org - http://noone.org/abe/


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Old 03-04-2009, 01:23 AM
Daniel Burrows
 
Default -dbg packages; are they actually useful?

I doubt most users will install them on their own, but I've found
them to be moderately useful in tracking down crashes. It's easier
to convince people to install a -dbg package than to convince them to
recompile the program from source.

Daniel


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Old 03-04-2009, 01:25 AM
Steve Langasek
 
Default -dbg packages; are they actually useful?

On Tue, Mar 03, 2009 at 03:11:12PM -0800, Don Armstrong wrote:
> On Tue, 03 Mar 2009, Steve McIntyre wrote:
> > I've got to wondering: are the large -dbg packages actually really
> > useful to anybody?

> > Thoughts?

> I think they are useful, but probably not for the vast majority of
> users. [I've used them on a few dozen occasions.]

There are 785 packages matching '*-dbg' in unstable on i386. 327 of them
are for applications (well, !libraries). Does it really make sense to ship
all of these in the archive if, out of the whole set, they're useful to
people on "a few dozen occasions"?

According to popcon[1], 433 of these packages have an install count of 10 or
less; 616 have an install count of 30 or less.[2] For orphaned packages,
these are the kinds of numbers where the QA team starts talking about
removals. Granted, the numbers on -dbg packages are going to be lower
because they're often installed just for debugging and then removed again,
but I think we should seriously look at whether all these one-off debug
builds are really justified, and whether they really belong as part of the
main archive (and on all our mirrors).

> What I really wish for is the ability to have a relatively centralized
> location where the symbols from every single package ended up that was
> separate from the normal mirrors.

Yes, absolutely. Doing this right, though, requires integration with the
buildd network, so that the debugging symbols can be extracted as part of
the official build instead of being lossily reconstructed after the fact.

> The above, coupled with a coredump submission site which would accept
> coredumps and automatically generate backtraces for them (or a script
> that downloaded the -dbg packages, unpacked them and backtraced the
> coredump) would be a great help in debugging some of the relatively
> rare segfaults. [We could probably even hook up a coredump handler to
> such a script.]

> There was some talk that Ubuntu was going to implement such a thing at
> the Prague UDS, but I've no clue if it ever came to fruition.

'apport' in Ubuntu does exactly this (and has been in use since well before
the Prague UDS); it hasn't really been worth evaluating for inclusion in
Debian without first resolving the problem of lack of systematic debugging
symbols. If there's a will to get that done in Debian now, I will
definitely be happy to ditch the samba-dbg package for one.

--
Steve Langasek Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com vorlon@debian.org

[1] Well, popcon also thinks there are 887 such packages, rather than 785; I
guess there are some of these no longer in unstable.
[2] Unfortunately, thanks to bug-buddy Recommending gnome-dbg, we also have
almost 40 GNOME -dbg packages with greater popcon stats than libc6-dbg!


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