Bug reporting for Ubuntu Server? WTF?

Brian Murray brian at ubuntu.com
Fri Feb 12 18:49:58 UTC 2010

On Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 12:17:47PM -0600, Patrick Goetz 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)").

This question better answered by the Launchpad team but as I understand
it bug filing should happen in the context of a project or distribution
not just anywhere.  Additionally, for Ubuntu bug filing should happen
with-in the context of a package instead of being filed about the
distribution as a whole.
> 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!

Well, not every Ubuntu user is aware of apport and ubuntu-bug hence the
wiki page regarding it.  Lots of bug reporters are first time Ubuntu
users and are not aware of the tools available to them.
> 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.

The ReportingBugs wiki page also has a section about "Filing bugs when
off-line" which discusses how to use apport-cli to save a report that
you can then report from another system with X and a browser.
> 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?  

Well, ubuntu-bug uses apport which will check for hooks regarding the
package.  These hooks are written by people familiar with the package
and add additional information to the bug report that would be helpful
in debugging the issue.  Incidentally, samba now has a hook in Lucid.

> 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.

If you were to use the off-line filing method a web browser would be
opened where you could then provide feedback as to what you are sending.

> 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?

The single textfield, the bug summary, is used to search for duplicates
before you do any additional work of writing a complete description or
uploading an attachment.

I'm sorry you had a poor bug reporting experience but hope you
understand that we are trying to get high quality bug reports by
encouraging people to use tools that gather detailed information about
their systems and environments.
Brian Murray                                                 @ubuntu.com
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