RFC: remove traceback from "newer branch format than your bzr"

Maritza Mendez martitzam at gmail.com
Wed Aug 12 01:39:13 BST 2009

I agree.

And in addition I could point to some brilliant developers who just
don't want to be bothered with information they cannot realistically
be expected to act upon.

And tracebacks are more than enough to scary off documentation
specialists who need vcs but obviously are not coders.

Finally my biggest hurdle.  if a manager ever hears about something
that sounds unstable (he does not even need to see it for himself.  A
Managers job is to make safe decisions based on incomplete data!) it
could be enough to stop bzr adoption in its tracks.  I am having this
experience now.

FUD is a real effect.  The svn team seem to understand this and have
made it very unscary to nondevelopers.  I believe this is an important
"hidden" source of their success.  So far none of the dvcs systems
have perfected this... Which means it is still an opportunity for bzr
to distinguish itself as a leader in the user experience.


On 8/11/09, Russel Winder <russel.winder at concertant.com> wrote:
> I am with Emma on this.  And I seem to recollect we have had this debate
> in the past.
> For high quality programmers, there is no issue.  They implicitly
> understand the difference between internal and external problems and can
> likely differentiate them and deal with them.  Heck, they are probably
> doing exactly the same in the stuff they are writing.
> Weak programmers are just weak, and all too often incompetent.  Sadly.
> We cannot ignore them though as they form the vast majority of
> programmers.  Sadly.  Let us treat them as non-programmers.
> More importantly, for me, are the real non-programmers who we are going
> to get using Bazaar, even if Bazaar is focused on programmers as
> audience.  Actually I think in the end they will be the majority users.
> Non-programmers will be scared witless by the current penchant for
> Bazaar to throw programmer informative stack traces.  This is especially
> true where the situation is an error and not a bug.
> I think that release versions of Bazaar should *never* display a stack
> trace.  bzr.dev and the RCs are a different matter since they are being
> used in situations where the information is actually useful, by people
> who (generally) can deal with the situation.  No problem there.
> Stack traces in release versions are, for me, a huge problem, because
> they will frighten secretaries, managers, authors, and cause their
> bosses to be shocked and this will stop the spread of Bazaar.
> On Tue, 2009-08-11 at 08:47 +0300, Alexander Belchenko wrote:
>> Emma Jane пишет:
>> > This evening I tried to grab a copy of Ian's new documentation. I'm
>> > using the
>> > Bazaar that comes with Ubuntu (1.13) which happens to use the old
>> > formats. I
>> > was a greeted with a fairly scary message. It's at the bottom of this
>> > message.
>> >
>> > While I appreciate the usefulness of tracebacks, I'm not sure it's
>> > entirely
>> > necessary or appropriate in this case. More specifically:
>> >
>> > 1. The first line of the error pretty much says everything I need to
>> > know:
>> > 	bzr: ERROR: exceptions.KeyError: 'Bazaar repository format 2a
>> > 	(needs bzr 1.16 or later)\n'
>> > With the exception of the \n, I think this message does a pretty good
>> > job of
>> > telling me what the problem is. The rest of the message (all traceback?)
>> > could
>> > be omitted.
>> >
>> > 2. At the end of the message, which is what my terminal window scrolls
>> > after
>> > dumping a lot of garbage, I'm told to report a bug. I don't think it's a
>> > "bug"
>> > that I'm using an old version. Perhaps a new type of error message is
>> > needed?
>> No, in your case (big scary traceback) it's actually bug. So if you'll
>> file a bug about traceback on
>> unknown format somebody will definitely improve this part, if not already
>> done.
>> >
>> > 3. Generally I find tracebacks really scary. I don't do anything in
>> > Bazaar that
>> > *should* generate errors (I typically work with fewer than 30 files and
>> > fewer
>> > than 500 revisions per project; I rarely do merges and use BzrUpload for
>> > most
>> > projects). I would prefer if the tracebacks were turned off by default
>> > with a
>> > message on how to enable them, but there's no way that I can see to turn
>> > them
>> > off.
>> >
>> >
>> > regards,
>> > emma
>> >
>> > PS I'm now using the PPA at Robert's recommendation and it's working
>> > well.
>> > Thanks!
> [ . . . ]
> --
> Russel.
> =============================================================================
> Dr Russel Winder      Partner
>                                             xmpp: russel at russel.org.uk
> Concertant LLP        t: +44 20 7585 2200, +44 20 7193 9203
> 41 Buckmaster Road,   f: +44 8700 516 084   voip:
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> London SW11 1EN, UK   m: +44 7770 465 077   skype: russel_winder

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