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Bonobo component debugging advice, version 0.1 by Michael Meeks <>

Since it is not transparently obvious how to debug Bonobo components the following suggestions may be of use.

Read the FAQ

This will cover particularly common errors and their solutions obviating the need for further debugging.


It is vital to ensure that the correct versions of both the component and the container are being run. The safest way to make sure this is the case is to explicitly specify the path eg.

./bonobo-my-component & ./my-test-container

Correct install

It is rather important to make sure that bonobo has compiled and installed correctly. If you are using CVS ensure that your bonobo has installed without errors and that you have run ldconfig.

Stale processes

It is a good idea to check there are no stale component processes running in the background, check with

ps ax | grep 'bonobo-my-component'

or just:



So: debugging. The best way to do this is to have two X-terms, in one run the component:

gdb ./bonobo-my-component
$ r

And in the second run the container:

gdb ./my-test-container
$ r

Putting breakpoints in shared libraries such as bonobo is not possible until they have been linked in. Hence break in main, and then start populating your breakpoints.

Ok, so it seems some people also get horribly confused by libtool libraries that are in fact here to help; libtool creates a shell script in place of the binary to allow non-installed libraries to be linked correctly. That aside you need to do:

$ libtool gdb ./my-program-name.

NB. don't go fiddling in .libs, you will get burned. NNB. it seems that emacs' debug mode doesn't like this; you have to write a small 'libtool gdb' wrapper script eg. 'libtool gdb $@'

CORBA method tracing

There is beautiful built in ORBit2 method tracing facility that will show you all CORBA invocations, their objects, arguments, microsecond timestamps etc. To use it you need to configure ORBit2 with the --enable-debug switch and then either define the environment variable ORBIT2_DEBUG or use the ORBDebugFlags command line option or orbitrc flag. See the ORBit2 FAQ for more info.

Order of execution

It is of course important to ensure that the component has registered before executing the container. A good guide is to wait until your hard disk has stopped thrashing madly before running the container.

Nothing will activate!


And try again - it's possible that a debug message is being suppressed by bonobo-activation-server that this will show you.

Nothing seems to happen, the code just locks

Check that you are doing either a bonobo_main() or a bonobo_activate() followed by gtk_main(). Failure to do this will cause strange lockups, caused because the POA is still queueing incoming requests waiting to be activated. NB. this must be done in both container and component.

Getting more information

If you are doing serious development consider compiling gtk+, glib and bonobo with debugging symbols:

export CFLAGS='-g' ; ./configure

If you suspect the name server of causing problems use type:


to get debug to the console, simply adding a breakpoint in g_log will help get at the innards of the bonobo-activation process.

Debugging bonobo-activation

This is often best done by running:

gdb ./bonobo-activation
r --ac-activate

And then cutting and pasting the IOR it spews out into /tmp/orbit-$USER/reg:...-local.

The last resort

And finally when the handfuls of hair are coming out thick and fast, consider reading the source, it only looks scary, it won't bite.

Talk to the experts.

Try reading the mailing list archive .

Alternatively if you wish to buy in the programming expertise to meet an agressive deadline see:

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