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In opening a bug report for a program just now, a core dump from coredumpctl was requested. Running that command produced a message that the command wasn't available, but could be made available by installing systemd-coredump.

When I installed systemd-coredump, I saw that installing it REMOVED the packages apport and apport-kde. (I'm using Kubuntu 18.04.)

I completed the filing of that bug report, using a coredump provided from coredumpctl as requested.

Now, is there a reason to prefer coredumpctl to apport? I see from the package descriptions that apport-kde is the GUI; probably that's what I've been seeing pop up after a program crash. But it doesn't seem provide a "get coredump" button in the UI when it pops up, just a "relaunch" or "leave closed" option. Does systemd-coredump have any analogous UI tool?

Perhaps more to the point, is there a way to provide the same coredump from apport as I provided from coredumpctl (or better yet to provide it from the apport-kde GUI), or are the results qualitatively different?

Really what I'm trying to establish is whether I should leave systemd-coredump installed, or remove it by reinstalling apport-kde just to have my system closer to the "normal" setup for Kubuntu 18.04. I'd like to understand the implications of the decision.

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To be able to answer your question I need to explain a bit of context around how all this works.

  1. The systemd-coredump package and the coredumpctl program

    The systemd-coredump package, when installed, will configure your system to use systemd for coredump files management. By default, it will

    • save coredump files into some central location
    • automatically delete them after some number of days or when they start to take up too much of disk space
    • allow you to browse them (and do few other things with them) from command line, using coredumpctl utility.

    I like running this package on my servers. When something really bad happens, coredump files this package records are readily available for me to analyze. For the rest of the time, these files are automatically rotated and I don't need to worry about them.

  2. The apport and apport-kde packages

    Those packages do similar function as systemd-coredump, but with some additional (K)Ubuntu stuff. It will:

    • save coredump files into some central location
    • take care of deleting them when they are no longer needed
    • show GUI notification that some program had just crashed, asking user if they want to send crash report to (K)Ubuntu servers
    • upload crash report to (K)Ubuntu servers (if this was allowed by user).

    I usually leave this with its defaults on my Kubuntu laptop, except that I disable crash reports uploading in Settings->Applications->Diagnostics.

Now, to answer your questions:

is there a reason to prefer coredumpctl to apport?

apport will use your favorite GUI to notify you about crashes and allow you to chose if you want to upload crash report to Ubuntu error tracking servers. coredumpctl will do neither of this, it will only record coredump file.

Does systemd-coredump have any analogous UI tool?

AFAIK, no. But, coredumpctl is IMHO really cool command line utility.

Perhaps more to the point, is there a way to provide the same coredump from apport as I provided from coredumpctl (or better yet to provide it from the apport-kde GUI)

Resulting coredump files should be exactly the same: coredump data is actually provided by kernel when program crashes, and both utilities discussed here take what kernel provided and dump it onto disk.

Thus said and AFAIK: there is no GUI way of exporting these files.

Really what I'm trying to establish is whether I should leave systemd-coredump installed, or remove it by reinstalling apport-kde just to have my system closer to the "normal" setup for Kubuntu 18.04. I'd like to understand the implications of the decision.

If you want to be "closer to original", install apport-kde. Most visible implications of choosing one over another:

  • you might or might not see program crash notifications
  • coredump files might or might not be uploaded to Ubuntu error servers

Note that Ubuntu Wiki - Apport says that apport is disabled by default for various reasons, meaning you might not see any difference on your system.

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