Tuesday, 18 October 2016

More on bug reports, September 1973 and a jumping mouse

Incomplete bug reports

Since writing an earlier post on the subject I've continued to monitor new bug reports. I have been very disappointed to see that so many have to be marked as being "incomplete" as they give little information about the problem and don't really give anyone an incentive to work on and help fix. So many are very vague about the problem being reported while some are just an indication that a problem exists. Reports which just say something along the lines of:
  • help
  • bug
  • i don't know
  • dont remember
don't do a lot to point to the problem that is being reported. May be some information can be gleaned from any attached log files but please bug reporters, tell us what the problem is as it will greatly increase the chances of your issue being fixed, investigated or (re)assigned to the correct package. Reporters need to reply when asked for further information about the bug or the version of Ubuntu being used even if it is to say that, for whatever reason, the problem no longer affects them. And I say to all novice reporters: "Please don't keep the Ubuntu version or flavour that you are using a secret!"

Bug report or support request?

Some reports are probably submitted as a desperate measure when help is needed and no-one is around to help. Over the last couple of months I've seen dozens of bug reports being closed as they have "expired" because there has been no response to a request for information within 59 days of the request being made, Obviously Ubuntu users are having problems but are their issues being resolved? Are those users moving back to Windows or to another Linux distribution because they aren't getting help they need and don't know how to ask for it?

Many of the issues that I'm referring to should have been posted initially as support requests at the Ubuntu ForumsAsk Ubuntu or Launchpad Answers and then filed as bug reports once sufficient help and guidance had been obtained and the presence of a bug confirmed.

A bug with the bug reporting tool ubuntu-bug?

Sometimes trying to establish the correct package against which to file a bug is a difficult task especially if you are not conversant with the inner workings of Ubuntu. Launchpad can often guide the reporter but it seems many reports are being incorrectly filed against the xorg package in error. Bug #1631748 (ubuntu-bug selects wrong category) seems to confirm this widespread problem. If a bug is reported against the wrong package and no description of the issue is given there is no chance of the issue being investigated.

Further reading

The following links will give those who are new to bug reporting some help in filing a good bug report that can be worked on by a bug triager or developer.

How to Report Bugs
How to Report Bugs Effectively
Improving Ubuntu: A Beginners Guide to Filing Bug Reports
How do I report a bug?

To the future and some events of September 1973

In just a couple of weeks I'll no longer have to worry about getting up early for work, fighting my way though the local traffic and aiming for an 8 o'clock start which is something that I seldom manage to achieve these days. No doubt I'll be able to devote much more time to work on Ubuntu and who knows I may well revisit some of the teams and projects that I've left over the past couple of years.

Looking at Mark Shuttleworth's Wikipedia page it seems that he was born just a week or two after I started my working life in September 1973. A lot has changed since then. We didn't have personal computers or mobile phones and as far as I can remember we managed perfectly well without them. Back then I had very different interests, some of which I've recently returned to but obviously I had no idea what was in store for me around 40 years later.

Thanks for everything so far Mark!

zz = Zesty Zapus, a mouse that jumped

So we now have a code-name for the next Ubuntu release which Mark has confirmed will be Zesty Zapus, Apparently a zapus is a North American mouse that jumps. So, now that we've reached the end of the alphabet, what next?

Prediction: There will be much discussion about the code-name for the 17.10 release and it's announcement will probably be the most anticipated yet.

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