Reproducible w3m bug

Martin Olsson mnemo at
Fri May 15 09:56:30 UTC 2009

For the first bug I recommend that you upstream it. There is not a lot
of people in the Ubuntu project that fix bugs themselves, most people
spend their time on packaging and integration (even though some people
also do upstream work separately from their Ubuntu work). Filing an
Ubuntu bug is nice for tracking (in case we have time to cherry pick
it for release or maybe even do an SRU) but the bug report that really
counts is the upstream one for sure. That said, there is also packages
that are unmaintained and just as you point out sometimes it's just a
waste of time; the fix is just to be careful about where specifically
to invest your time.

Keep in mind that different packages have different number of users that
are interested in having it fixed. Suppose Linux has 1% market share and
that w3m has 1% of share among Linux users, now that's not a lot of people.
People needs to prioritize between lots of different bugs/work and in that
case fixing bugs in Firefox/Xorg/kernel (which is used by far more people)
is probably more useful. It's not that people don't care about your bugs,
it's just that there is so many of them that choices have to be made and
priorities have to be set.

As for the second bug, learning how to analyze and fix bugs is a long
and hard process. It's not just about learning the immensely complicated
ins and outs of gdb, VCS tools and compilers but it's also about learning
the how the community works. Just as there is a technical learning curve
there is also a community learning curve where you learn where to file
bugs, who is the right person to ask, what info to include, which bugs
are worth your time and so on. Both of these learning curves are in the
"marathon rather than sprint" department so don't stretch yourself too
far because you can't win on "strength" alone, you _need_ to be patient.

The best way to do it is to make sure you work on stuff you think it
_fun_ and interesting to mess around with, otherwise it just won't work.


Sitsofe Wheeler wrote:
> This is a quick heads up about a w3m bug that was reported many years ago and
> has not seen any responses. As w3m is installed by default and the bug has easy
> steps to reproduce the problem I'm making a last ditch effort to raise the bugs
> visibility:
> A brief question - is this the sort of thing that people _don't_ want to hear
> about? Whenever I am drowned in "Is this still a problem?" emails (and bear in
> mind it takes ages to type up these reports in the suggested style precisely so
> OTHERS can reproduce the problem) it occurs to me that perhaps I've
> misunderstood the purpose of the Ubuntu bug tracker (it seems to most punish
> those people who spend the most time on bugs). The most vivid example was this:
> (there was even a
> patch and an explanation). As the years go by I am finally realising that I am
> no longer willing to spend considerable effort only to see it wasted. I think it
> would help immensely if bug standards were lowered so that when nothing happens
> the contributor does not feel like anything of significance has been given (in
> terms of time/effort). Alternatively it should be made clear that Ubuntu is only
> capable of repackaging upstream and that if you aren't reporting bugs upstream
> then all you are doing is entering a "is it still there?" cycle until the issue
> is fixed upstream or you run out of time.

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