abrtd is a daemon that watches for application crashes. When a crash occurs, it collects the problem data (core file, application’s command line, …) and takes action according to the configuration and the type of application that crashed.

By default it uses inotify interface [3] to monitor the dump location (/var/spool/abrt/) for new directories created by C/C++ hook and a Socket API (/var/run/abrt/abrt.socket) used by other hooks like Python hook.

The reason for using socket instead of direct filesystem access is security. When a Python script throws unhandled exception, Python hook catches it, running as a part of the broken Python application. The application is running with certain SELinux privileges, for example it can not execute other programs, or to create files in /var/spool/abrt or anything else required to properly fill a problem directory. Adding these privileges to every application would weaken the security. The most suitable solution for the Python application is to open a socket where abrtd is listening, write all relevant data to that socket, and close it. abrtd handles the rest of the processes.

C/C++ hook

When C/C++ application crashes kernel uses core_pattern to handle the crash. Abrt overrides default core_pattern with a pipe to abrt-hook-ccpp executable that stores core dump in abrt’s dump location and notifies daemon about new crash. It also stores number of files from /proc/<PID>/ that might be useful for debugging — maps, limits, cgroup, status. Format and meaning of these files is described in the documentation of the Linux kernel [1].

To enable C/C++ hook use:

systemctl enable --now abrt-ccpp


Variable used to specify a core dump file name template. If the first character of the pattern is |, the kernel will treat the rest of the pattern as a command to run. The core dump will be written to the standard input of that program instead of to a file.

By default, /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern contains core string and kernel produces core.* files in crashed process` current directory.

Abrt’s C/C++ hook overrides this with:

|/usr/libexec/abrt-hook-ccpp %s %c %p %u %g %t e

which results in kernel calling abrt-hook-ccpp. Detailed description can be found in the documentation of the Linux kernel [2].


To be able to get full featured GDB backtrace from a core dump file, debuginfo data must be available on the local file system. These data are usually provided in the form of installable packages, however, ABRT needs to allow non-privileged users to analyze the core dump file and report the obtained backtrace to bug tracking tool. Hence, ABRT maintains its own debuginfo directory /var/cache/abrt-di where all users can download and unpack the required debuginfo packages through /usr/libexec/abrt-action-install-debuginfo-to-abrt-cache command line utility.

Upon a new core dump file detection ABRT generates a list of build-ids (XXYYY..YYY) using eu-unstrip -n --core=coredump. When a user decides to report the core dump file, the ABRT debuginfo tool goes through that list and remembers those build-ids for which the file XX/YYY..YYY.debug exists either in the system directories (/usr/lib/debug/.build-id or /usr/lib/.build-id) or in the ABRT debuginfo directory. Finally, packages that provide the debug files are looked up in *debug* repositories, downloaded and unpacked to the ABRT debuginfo directory.

Python hook

The python3-abrt-addon package provides an exception handler for Python 3 applications.

The Python interpreter automatically imports the abrt.pth file installed in /usr/lib64/python3.7/site-packages/. This file in turn imports which overrides Python’s default sys.excepthook with a custom handler that forwards unhandled exceptions to abrtd via its Socket API.

Automatic import of site-specific modules can be disabled by passing the -S option to the Python interpreter:

python -S

Oops watcher

Kernel oopses are detected by watcher abrt-dump-journal-oops, typicaly this process runs as a daemon and watches systemd-journal. When kernel oops logs appears, watcher extracts them and creates problem dir, which is further processed by post-create event handler for type Kerneloops.

Xorg watcher

Xorg crashes are detected by watcher abrt-dump-journal-xorg. Mechanism is same as in oops watcher, systemd-journal is watched and Xorg crashes are extracted in time of their occurence. In addition xorg watcher can be configured to search for next Xorg crashes, config file is located in /etc/abrt/plugins/xorg.conf.


A problem life cycle is driven by events in ABRT. For example:

  • Event 1 — a problem data directory is created.
  • Event 2 — problem data is analyzed.
  • Event 3 — a problem is reported to Bugzilla.

When a problem is detected and its defining data is stored, the problem is processed by running events on the problem’s data directory. For event configuration how-to, refer to Event configuration.

Standard ABRT installation currently supports several default events that can be selected and used during problem reporting process. Refer to Standard ABRT Installation Supported Events to see the list of these events.

Only following three events are run automatically by ABRT:

runs after the problem directory creation
runs after the processing chain is finished to notify user about new problem
similar to notify for duplicate problems. See Deduplication.


When ABRT catches new crash it compares it to the rest of the stored problems to avoid storing duplicate crashes.

It first checks if there is core_bactrace or uuid item in the problem directory we are processing.

If there is a core_backtrace, it iterates over all other dump directories and computes similarity to their core backtraces (if any). If one of them is similar enough to be considered duplicate, event processing is stopped and only notify-dup event is fired.

If there is an uuid item (and no core backtrace), simple comparison of uuid hashes is used for duplicate detection.

Elements collected by ABRT

Commonly available elements:

Property Meaning Example
executable Executable path of the component which caused the problem. Used by the server to determine component and package data. '/usr/bin/time'
type Problem typem, see Supported problem types. 'Python'
component Component which caused this problem. 'time'
hostname Hostname of the affected machine. 'fiasco'
os_release Operating system release string. 'Fedora release 17 (Beefy Miracle)'
uid User ID 1000
username User name 'jeff'
architecture Machine architecture string 'x86_64'
kernel Kernel version string '3.6.6-1.fc17.x86_64'
package Package string 'time-1.7-40.fc17.x86_64'
time Time of the occurrence (unixtime) datetime.datetime(2012, 12, 2, 16, 18, 41)
count Number of times this problem occurred 1
pkg_name Package name 'time'
pkg_epoch Package epoch 0
pkg_version Package version '1.7'
pkg_release Package release '40.fc17'
pkg_arch Package architecture 'x86_64'
uuid Unique problem identifier computed as a hash of the first three frames of the backtrace 'c55e3deb95d46553fdbefb1bc1d020e89a762fb7'

Elements dependent on problem type:

Property Meaning Example Applicable
abrt_version ABRT version string '' Crashes caught by ABRT
cgroup cgroup (control group) information for crashed process '9:perf_event:/\n8:blkio:/\n...' C/C++
core_backtrace Machine readable backtrace with no private data   C/C++, Python, Ruby, Kerneloops
backtrace Original backtrace or backtrace produced by retracing process   C/C++ (after retracing), Python, Ruby, Xorg, Kerneloops
dso_list List of dynamic libraries loaded at the time of crash   C/C++, Python
exploitable Likely crash reason and exploitable rating   C/C++
maps Copy of /proc/<pid>/maps file of the problem executable   C/C++
cmdline Copy of /proc/<pid>/cmdline file '/usr/bin/gtk-builder-convert' C/C++, Python, Ruby, Kerneloops
coredump Core dump of the crashing process   C/C++
environ Runtime environment of the process   C/C++, Python
open_fds List of file descriptors open at the time of crash   C/C++
pid Process ID '42' C/C++, Python, Ruby
proc_pid_status Copy of /proc/<pid>/status file   C/C++
limits Copy of /proc/<pid>/limits file   C/C++
var_log_messages Part of the /var/log/messages file which contains crash information   C/C++
suspend_stats Copy of /sys/kernel/debug/suspend_stats   Kerneloops
reported_to If the problem was already reported, this item contains URLs of the services where it was reported   Reported problems
event_log ABRT event log   Reported problems
dmesg Copy of dmesg   Kerneloops