Making KDevelop suitable for large C projects

Nitin Gupta ngupta at
Sat Mar 27 04:28:12 UTC 2010


For past few months, I have been working on a simple IDE (called KXref) based
on Sublime UI framework, to allow working with large C based projects (Linux
kernel in particular):

However, I soon realized that it will be much more useful and productive if
all this can be developed as plugins for upcoming KDevelop4. My initial
attempt to get it working for Linux kernel failed badly primarily due to lack
of cscope, or better GNU global, integration (built-in background parser is
too slow for such large projects). There are many other factors which make it
unsuitable for kernel projects (as detailed below).

Unlike popular belief, an IDE for kernel projects (IMHO) is highly desirable.
Trying to understand such huge and complex codebases is almost impossible
otherwise. Plain vim+ctags is often not sufficient.

I'm planning to submit this as a GSoC proposal. I would be thankful for any

Making KDevelop suitable for large C projects
(Linux kernel in particular)

 * Integration with GNU global for code cross reference
 - Current built-in background parser does not have a persistent storage
support. This makes it unsuitable for large projects.
 - Built-in parser seems to be much slower. Parsing of Linux kernel project
takes forever to finish.
 - GNU global advantage over cscope+ctags: Support incremental database
update, actively maintained with a good roadmap.

 * Call graphs similar to KScope:
 - Existing call graph plugin is currently very limited. It currently only
shows functions called by the function currently under focus.
 - Currrently, call graph window cannot be “detached” which is almost a must
for multi-monitor and widescreen setups.

 * Project templates:
 - Generic C project template(s)
 - Linux kernel specific template(s): e.g.: include only x86/x86_64
architecture files, do not include drivers, etc.

 * SCM support:
 - Git support exists in kdevelop4-extra-plugins but not sure how robust it
is. For good Linux kernel project support, need to make sure that this works
 - Better file history navigation as supported by p4v for Perforce (as a
KDevelop plugin):

 * Built-in 'oops' (kernel crash messages) interpreter:
 - Transform plain oops message into references to functions shown in
 - Interpret stack dump into function parameters.

 * Integration with SystemTap (
 - Explore existing tap points.
 - Easily create new one with auto-generated scripts (provide library of
commonly used scripts).
 - Visualizers for various kinds of stats exported by SystemTap.


More information about the KDevelop-devel mailing list