Ubuntu debuginfod and source code indexing
Table of Contents
You might remember that in my last post about the Ubuntu debuginfod service I talked about wanting to extend it and make it index and serve source code from packages. I’m excited to announce that this is now a reality since the Ubuntu Lunar (23.04) release.
The feature should work for a lot of packages from the archive, but not all of them. Keep reading to better understand why.
While debugging a package in Ubuntu, one of the first steps you need to take is to install its source code. There are some problems with this:
dpkg-devto be installed, which ends up pulling in a lot of other dependencies.
- GDB needs to be taught how to find the source code for the package
being debugged. This can usually be done by using the
dircommand, but finding the proper path to be is usually not trivial, and you find yourself having to use more “complex” commands like
set substitute-path, for example.
- You have to make sure that the version of the source package is the same as the version of the binary package(s) you want to debug.
- If you want to debug the libraries that the package links against, you will face the same problems described above for each library.
So yeah, not a trivial/pleasant task after all.
Debuginfod can index source code as well as debug symbols. It is smart enough to keep a relationship between the source package and the corresponding binary’s Build-ID, which is what GDB will use when making a request for a specific source file. This means that, just like what happens for debug symbol files, the user does not need to keep track of the source package version.
While indexing source code, debuginfod will also maintain a record of the relative pathname of each source file. No more fiddling with paths inside the debugger to get things working properly.
Last, but not least, if there’s a need for a library source file and if it’s indexed by debuginfod, then it will get downloaded automatically as well.
… but not a perfect one
In order to make debuginfod happy when indexing source files, I had to
dpkg and make it always use
compiling stuff. This GCC option is used to remap pathnames inside
the DWARF, which is needed because in Debian/Ubuntu we build our
packages inside chroots and the build directories end up containing a
bunch of random cruft (like
we need to make sure the path prefix (the
is uniform across all packages, and that’s where
This means that the package must honour
dpkg-buildflags during its
build process, otherwise the magic flag won’t be passed and your DWARF
will end up with bogus paths. This should not be a big problem,
because most of our packages do honour
dpkg-buildflags, and those
who don’t should be fixed anyway.
… especially if you’re using LTO
Ubuntu enables LTO by default, and unfortunately we are affected by an
annoying (and complex) bug that results in those bogus pathnames not
being properly remapped. The bug doesn’t affect all packages, but if
you see GDB having trouble finding a source file whose full path
/usr/src/..., that is a good indication that you’re
being affected by this bug. Hopefully we should see some progress in
the following weeks.
Your feedback is important to us
If you have any comments, or if you found something strange that looks like a bug in the service, please reach out. You can either send an email to my public inbox (see below) or file a bug against the ubuntu-debuginfod project on Launchpad.