Sunday, November 13, 2011

KDE 4.7.3 - Identifying Plasma crashes with Gentoo

One of the less pleasant surprises about KDE 4.7.3 was that somehow "upstream" managed to introduce quite some stability regressions in the Plasma desktop. On both my laptop and my work desktop it kept crashing every now and then. This usually does not cause big problems as Plasma is immediately restarted by some KDE magic, however it can be quite annoying (in the British sense). Which is why by now we have kde-base/plasma-workspace-4.7.3-r2 in the Gentoo portage tree, where the worst offenders should be fixed by backporting from future 4.7.4. Please upgrade and test...
A related question is of course, if Plasma crashes, how do I get any more information on the origin of the problem? Usually the KDE crash reporter DrKonqui does not pop up... For diagnosis, you'll have to enable debug info while building, and core dumps while running the software. For doing both in Gentoo we have an excellent howto, which also documents how you use gdb to extract the backtrace information. Then, if you report the bug, please paste the backtrace; only that makes it possible to identify the exact problem that caused the crash! Happy hunting!


  1. Those crashes must be a Gentoo-specific thing then because under openSUSE my last Plasma crash was years ago. And yes, I currently have 4.7.3.

  2. Same as above, no crashed on Arch Linux either.

  3. I don't think it's a Gentoo-specific issue. I also have Gentoo (stable and ~kde) and I didn't have crashes with plasma-workspace. I have other troubles (Konsole doesn't do anything when I press 'End' key, for example, Kamoso is 'unemergeable') but no crashes (excepting rekonq).

  4. Crashes very frequently here (OpenSuse/KDE-4.7.3).

  5. Maybe something just made these crashes more visible now. The two patches that I added correspond to KDE bug 272495 (Arch, Ubuntu, but also on my Gentoo system) and 277036 (indeed only Gentoo).

  6. a) it is highly dependent on your settings (tasks widget and system tray settings both)

    b) the bugs where there before, but were far less triggered ... until we fixed other bugs and then they became much more evident for certain configurations

    and yes .. we've been fixing them up. 4.8.0 should be even more stable (*knocks on wood, as we continue to do testing*) as there are some not-so-backportable improvements in the master branch (which 4.8 will be drawn from) that should cover a few more corner cases.

  7. @Aaron: yeah that's roughly what I suspected. And I was really impressed by the large number of fixes that I found in the KDE/4.7 branch, so keep going! :)

    On the long run it would be nice to encapsulate plasmoids somehow, but that's probably post-KDE-4 stuff...

  8. this is just not a gentoo thing.

    I have gentoo at home and opensuse at work.

    opensuse with kde repository ( 4.7.3 ) crashes plasma almost constantly. gentoo also crashes , but a little less ( and less annoying ).

    Good thing i see that this is being taken cared of. on both distro's , changing back to 4.7.2 solved the issue

  9. @Aaron:

    completly... on home i upgraded to master.

    rock stable so far. and using icontasks plasmoid.

    only problem i had mgresslin fixed it in 5 minutes.

    by the looks of current master ... 4.8.0 should be a great release :)

  10. even I have very frequent plasma crashes since I upgraded to 4.7.3 on ubuntu system.