Bug reporting for Ubuntu Server? WTF?

Charlie Kravetz cjk at teamcharliesangels.com
Fri Feb 12 18:47:50 UTC 2010

On Fri, 12 Feb 2010 12:17:47 -0600
Patrick Goetz <pgoetz at mail.utexas.edu> wrote:

> I just filed a bug against the 64-bit Karmic (9.10) server edition on 
> bugs.launchpad.net and noticed that the process appears to have 
> regressed considerably.
> First of all, there is no longer any clear indication on the front page 
> of bugs.launchpad.net about how one goes about filing a bug, even when 
> logged in.  While I understand that developers want people to use apport 
> (more on this in a moment) it would be nice to have a simple, brief 
> description explaining how to file a bug which does not involve reading 
> an entire manual (e.g. "(Read our guide or take a tour)").
> But OK, fair enough, go to project home (launchpad.net), and select the 
> Ubuntu project.  Now I do see a big label entitled "Report a Bug", 
> clicking on which takes me to a lengthy advertisement for Apport.  Um, 
> OK, apport is a great idea, but if I could or wanted to use Apport I 
> WOULD HAVE DONE SO -- that's why I'm on f'ing bugs.launchpad.net!
> The server system I'm filing a bug for doesn't have any X packages 
> installed and is in a location far away.  I only access it using ssh, 
> hence can't use the graphical interfaces described in the ReportingBugs 
> documentation.
> However, I do need to file a bug, so continue to spin my wheels skimming 
> over information that is completely irrelevant.  At some point I find:
> ----------------------------------
> If you can't file your report from the menu, for example:
>      * You're using the Server Edition
>      * The application doesn't have the appropriate menu item
>      * The application won't start at all
>      * Your problem is not related to an application but is an 
> infrastructure component, such as the Linux kernel or graphics subsystem
> You can still help us by using ubuntu-bug.
> ---------------------------------
> Oh really?  Suppose, being a somewhat expert user, I happen to know 
> exactly what package I'm filing the bug against, exactly what 
> distribution I'm running, and exactly what I want to say in the bug 
> report to simplify the process of getting the bug triaged -- how does 
> ubuntu-bug help with that?  Some anonymous bug report filed against a 
> package which is not actually crashing would appear to be somewhat less 
> than helpful.  Of course I could be missing something, but just typing
>    ubuntu-bug samba
> followed by selecting "Send Report" with 0.0 feedback as to what is 
> being sent and with no ability to state what the bug actually is appears 
> completely useless to me.
> Finally, many pages later I find what I'm looking for:  the new and 
> improved way of filing bugs on launchpad.net, by using the link
> http://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/PACKAGENAME/+filebug?no-redirect
> So what's my gripe now?  How about a field allowing me to specify that 
> this bug applies to a *particular* Ubuntu distribution, rather than one 
> single textfield and a way to upload an attachment?
> One would think that we've learned this lesson by now:  stymying expert 
> users in order to simplify the process for neophytes is not the way to 
> go about "fixing" linux.  Why not continue to have a decent way for 
> people who know what they're doing to file bugs on bugs.launchpad.net 
> while ALSO having apport available for people who fear the command line 
> more than death?

Having used all these methods to file bugs, I have never been stopped
from commenting on the bug report before all of the automatic methods
attached the log files and filled in commentary. Each method does allow
you to make the comments you want to, then hit the buttons to continue.
I don't know why you would send the report without making the needed
comments, but I suppose that is also an option. 

Using ubuntu-bug simply insures there are the log files that those who
triage bugs are going to ask for if they are not included. What is bad
about that? It never stops you from adding your comments prior to
allowing that to happen. If you the needed log files, the distribution
version is entered already. 

Even expert users should appreciate the idea that they won't be asked
to attach missing files. I see the current methods as a great
advancement when it comes to helping get the information needed as
easily as possible. 

Charlie Kravetz 
Linux Registered User Number 425914          [http://counter.li.org/]
Never let anyone steal your DREAM.           [http://keepingdreams.com]

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