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Re: obsoleting annotate level 2

Bob Rossi writes:
 > Hi,
 > I have been writing a front end to gdb called cgdb. It depends on gdb's
 > annotate level 2 feature. This project can be downloaded at
 > Before that it was hosted at
 > It is a curses front end to gdb that is intended to be lightweight and
 > responsive. I originally wrote cgdb because I use gdb, sometimes for
 > several hours, during the day at work. We use GNAT's version of gdb
 > which seems to be behind GNU ( As far as version and features ).

Interesting, I don't know if you are aware, gdb has already a curses
interface. configure gdb with --enable-tui and invoke with --tui.

Documentation is at:

Would it make sense to unify the efforts? Even though i see you want a 
completely separate UI.


 > I decided to make it a curses front end because there are many times
 > during the day when I ssh into a window's box using cygwin.
 > At the time I started developing cgdb ( about 8 month's ago ). I began
 > looking into how to interface with gdb without losing any of the
 > command line power. I began looking into how other debugger's did it.
 > So I soon realized that xxgdb, ddd and gvd all used annotate level 1.
 > I then did a little more research and discovered
 > which
 > encouraged me to use annotate level 2. Since even NOW, the manual says
 > nothing about annotate level 2 being deprecated, but describes how to
 > use the annotations.
 > I used annotate 2 to interface to gdb for several reasons:
 >    1. gdb-mi is not in older versions of gdb. Including GNAT's version
 >       of gdb ( which we use at work ). If I wrote a front end using this
 >       the gdb-mi feature of gdb, I would not be able to debug programs
 >       with GNAT, cygwin, red-hat, suse ... out of the box distributions.
 >       This seems UNACCEPTABLE.
 >    2. gdb-mi does not have readline support at the command line.
 >       This is an important feature if the GUI wants to keep gdb's
 >       useful command line feeling 100%.
 >    3. gdb-mi did not ( at the time ) support the CLI commands.
 >    4. annotate level 2 gave much more information to the GUI over
 >       annotate level 1. Including:
 >       1. When the user is interfacing with the readline library.
 >       2. When the breakpoints need to be checked (instead of every time).  
 >       3. The prompt can change. the debugged program can output the
 >       string '(gdb) ' to stdout without breaking the GUI.
 >       4. I was able to allow the user to communicate with the debugged
 >       program, no matter how the debugged program sets the terminal.
 >       ex. ( cbreak, raw ...)
 > I feel that cgdb should be separated from gdb for several reasons:
 >    1. cgdb should support a rich variety of options including
 >       1. macro support
 >       2. key bindings that do not have to be Emacs style
 >       3. configuration file for syntax color support ...
 >       4. regular expression searching
 >       5. many more options that can make cgdb easier to use.
 >    2. Users should not have to recompile gdb to get curses support.
 >    3. I can write cgdb knowing nothing about the internals of gdb,
 >       without sacrificing the risk of bugs in gdb for a GUI.
 > With these things in mind, I understand that gdb must move on. With or
 > without cgdb. Eventually cgdb will support gdb-mi. My only claim is that
 > gdb keep supporting annotate level 2 until it is ready to remove both
 > annotate level 1 and 2.
 > This way when other programs like gvd, ddd and xxgdb are rewritten to 
 > use gdb-mi and not annotate level 1, then programs like cgdb and
 > possibly others can be rewritten as well. I know these programs will use
 > gdb-mi when it is stable and ready. Util then, I don't think annotate
 > level 1 or 2 should be removed since there are existing front ends to gdb
 > that use them.
 > I believe this is fair. In fact, I am even willing to support annotate
 > level 2 if necessary. I know I have no association with GNU, but I would
 > be willing.
 > Thanks,
 > Bob Rossi

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