Open Source

How to get rid of the system crash popup in Ubuntu Linux

If crash reports in Ubuntu are getting on your last nerve, here's how to easily disable them.

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Image: iStockphoto/frentusha

How many times have you logged into your Ubuntu account, only to have that pesky system program problem report popup? I've witnessed it upon logging into a brand new installation, as well as on well-tuned, updated systems. And no matter how many times you walk through the process of reporting the bug, the issue persists.

I want to show you how you can permanently rid your system of this popup on Ubuntu Linux. I will be demonstrating the process on Ubuntu GNOME 16.10.

What does it all mean?

First and foremost, the program problem report means that a piece of software has crashed on your system. But fear not, it doesn't mean there's something fundamentally wrong with your desktop or server. What it means is that a program (practically any program) has crashed on your system and Ubuntu offers you the ability to report the problem. And, yes, it's great if you want to report the problem (as bug reports go a very long way to help developers improve the platform). However, chances are that bug has already been reported; so you reporting it over and over (assuming the popup will finally go away) is not nearly as helpful as you'd think. Report it once and be done with it.

Put an end to the popup

Before I get to the how, I have to say that I recently started testing Ubuntu 17.10 (the first Ubuntu release to make the return to GNOME) and have yet to see this particular popup greet me. That is quite promising (especially for a beta release). Of course, Ubuntu 17.10 (as of this writing), is still very much in beta, so chances are you're not using this release. With that said, if you're using Ubuntu 17.04 or earlier, you might still be seeing this warning.

Once you've reported that bug, and the popup returns, what do you do? It's actually quite simple. If you open up a terminal window and issue the command ls /var/crash, chances are you will see a listing for the app that has crashed (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

A recent crash reported. Whoopsie!

If there is a file within /var/crash, apport will repeatedly pester you about the issue. To delete these reports (and stop the popups for those particular crashes), issue the command sudo rm /var/crash/*. At this point the report system won't be bothering you about those old crashes. However, the report system will alert you to new crashes.

Would you care to end that bit of annoyance? The system responsible for this is called apport. Do understand, if you disable apport, you will not be alerted to application crashes, so you won't know to report any bugs. What does this mean? If you're one who likes to alert the developers of problems, you won't want to disable apport. If, on the other hand, you care not one wit about reporting bugs, you can disable this system without a second thought.

To disable apport, go back to your terminal window and issue the command sudo nano /etc/default/apport. In that file you should see the single, uncommented line:

enabled=1

To disable this, change the 1 to a 0 (zero) and save/close the file. At this point, apport will no longer bother you with application crash reports. Should the weight of guilt rest heavy on your shoulders, and you feel the need to start reporting bugs again, you can reenable apport by editing the /etc/default/apport file and switching the 0 back to a 1. The reports will start up once again.

That's all there is to it

At this point, you will no longer be bothered by those pesky crash reports on your system. Just remember, although those can be rather annoying, bug reports are a critical element in a developer's process. If you'd like to keep apport running, you can always delete the crash report (from /var/crash), once you've submitted the report for that particular bug, and no longer be bothered with the report for that crash. And don't forget, you can always disable/enable apport at your leisure.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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