How can I be a KDE power user?

As far as I can tell, KDE is essentially a desktop environment shell layered on top of many very useful libraries. The difficulty is, how does one test each individual layer?

Here’s a recent example. I started by using Amarok as my music player, a default choice it seems for many KDE users. I put an audio CD in the drive, and it appeared in Amarok. When I tried to play or rip the CD, though, the interface just wouldn’t respond.

Fast-forward many, many hours later, and I’ve traced the issue through logs spit out by Amarok, Phonon, Kscd, gstreamer, ffmpeg, and the kernel itself, and I narrow the issue down to KDE I/O layer. cdparanoia reads disks just fine. No KDE-based app can. There’s a lot of seek errors in the kernel logs, which appear only when a KDE-based app is up and running with a CD in the drive.

So what’s the big deal, you might ask? I figured it out. What’s the problem?

Perhaps I’m spoiled, but in GNOME I debugged issues quite differently. If I had an issue, I’d go through each API layer, and use each one’s executables. Note the difference between KDE and GNOME: GNOME makes every layer, every setting easy to access, if you look for it. KDE gives you everything at once, and hides everything else in a wall of libraries. There’s no intermediate executables I can use to debug each layer, by manually running through steps myself. There’s no ability to get a work-around, or to helpfully narrow down the area where the bug exists for Google searching.

How do I make my debugging with KDE more productive? What steps do I take? How have you debugged KDE-based applications? I know about the KDE wiki page, but is there anything else?

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  • gerlos  On June 21, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Talk to the people. Talk to the developer team of that bit you want to debug. Tell them of the problem, ask them where to look to fix it. It’s easy.
    I feel that the biggest resource in KDE community are people, indeed. They are very helpful and welcoming. Try.

    • javaJake  On June 21, 2011 at 10:45 am

      Good idea. Should be obvious I suppose. 🙂

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