Even if you're not hugely into code, the GNU Debugger (GDB) is a fascinating tool. It allows programmers to step through each line of compiled code in the binaries their projects produce. Learning how to use GDB is a subject that fills books. In essence, it helps developers fix bugs by allowing them to jump into their code when a crash occurs or to set a point in their code when they want to break out of its running state and into the debugging state where you can view the values held by variables and pointers, and perhaps step through each problem a line at a time. By default, all of this is accomplished from GDB's command-line interface. But there are graphical options, including desktop GUIs, GDB integration with many of the most popular IDEs, and this, GDBFrontend.

Unlike other graphical helpers for GDB, which typically run on a desktop, GDBFrontend's GUI is accessed using a web browser. This is extremely useful if you only have access to a command line (and not a desktop), or if you want to debug an executable over a network.. On one port is an interactive GDB session, which is exactly like running GDB on the command line, while another port hosts the web UI. You can use the web UI much like you would a native desktop application. You can load and execute a binary; set breakpoints; step through, step into, and jump over code; view variables, and a file browser to study the source. There's even a disassembler for binaries without the debugging symbols, and you quickly forget you're using a debugger in a web browser.

Project Website

If you have difficulty remembering the myriad GDB commands, GDBFrontend spawns a simple, powerful GUI in a local web session.

Icon preview


Our desktops and applications wouldn't be the same without the icons used to manage and launch them or represent the files created by them. These icons don't just signify the branding of a specific distribution or desktop, they're often more like home furnishings, chosen to suit a user's personality or sense of aesthetics. This is why there's such a huge range, and so much effort is expended by designers to create them. And as with font creation, the process of designing and creating icons is horribly complicated. They may be simple graphics files, but to create one, you not only need an artist's sensibilities and skill, you need to apply those skills using a set of curves, colors, and styles you can use across all the icons you create, often in collaboration with other people. Any help you can get to better integrate your designs into the diverse world of desktops will be hugely valuable.

This is why the KDE Plasma team have developed Ikona, an icon preview utility to help designers see how their work looks in context, without always having to install and test manually. It's designed to work alongside the drawing tool, easily lets you check an icon's palette, see how it looks in both light and dark themes, and view it alongside an assortment of other icons, all rendered in pixel perfection in sizes 16, 22, 32, 48, and 64 pixels wide. This is thanks to its new SVG-based format that allows it to embed multiple sizes in a single file. Imported SVGs won't have this feature, but saved icons will. Saving an icon lets you choose which sizes you want to include, and you can also easily create a montage of icon options to share with other designers for feedback.

Project Website

Ikona is one of the first KDE applications to be written in Rust, a language and platform that's becoming increasingly popular.

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