For years we are asking for debug symbols and arch devs saying they are coming and nothing has happened.
The thing is, such debug symbols could change the whole distribution and it's not easy to implement them. Arch is a fast, lightweight distributions. It's famous from it. If you compile a package with debug symbols, the package gains weight, uses more memory and in result the system build from such packages is slower. This is probably one of the secrets why Arch is the way it is - because it lacks debug symbols. With the symbols, Arch would be no faster then Ubuntu. It would be still more flexible but again, not faster.
Another issue with adding debug symbols is: it takes more time to compile and packages take more space (so more space is needed) and since Arch is not backed by any company and run by volunteers, they are not rushing to implement them.
There is an idea to have split packages, a main package and it's debug symbol part if I understand it correctly. This sounds like an interesting solution, because you could simply install this debug additional package for specific package and you could have fully working package with debug symbols without forcing it everywhere but again, it would mean to double the arch packages count, more compilation, more resources used to maintain those packages.
At least those are the arguments that were conveyed to me when I pursued this topic, also frustrated, why can't I help more by having debug symbols and why aren't they included in arch base.
Still, we can produce helpful bug reports and many Arch users do, but we can't back it up by detailed info with debugging symbols. We just add as much info as we can:
- what is the terminal output,
- what is the behavior,
- what you did previous to that bug
- make experiments and report results: check configs (use clean test user), roll back to previous version and then report results, change something to see if this helped, etc.
You just need to be creative. However, some issues will stay hard to debug, especially those pesky, vague segmentation faults (crashes). But even then I saw how developers were managing quite well with such reports without having those debug symbols info.
Ah, if the issue is general and happening on different distros, you can use other distro to create meaningful debug trace. Open Suse Thumbleweed should have them (if I'm not mistaken) and with the same package versions it should present similar environment as on Arch.