How much matters a workaround?

Gunnar Hjalmarsson gunnarhj at
Thu Apr 4 23:06:08 UTC 2013

Skype does not work on an updated Raring.

One workaround is to downgrade libqtwebkit4 to version 2.2.1-4ubuntu1,
so the problem probably lies in the qtwebkit-source package.

Another workaround is to start Skype like this:

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/mesa/ skype

These and other workarounds have been discussed at some bugs; I'm aware of:

I have proposed a Skype patch (attached to bug 1155327) that makes use
of the LD_PRELOAD workaround, and is intended for the case libqtwebkit4
is not fixed in time for the 13.04 release. I don't propose it as a
replacement for a proper fix, of course, but as a temporary fix aimed at
preventing that Skype breaks.

However, I have met an unexpected reluctance to discuss an upload of the
temporary fix. These are two comments in bug 1155327 that make me
somewhat worried:

[comment #14]
"Actually, having a workaround by definition lessens the severity, as if
someone wants to still run Skype, they can."

[comment #28]
"NAK for pushing the workaround to the archive. If the problem is in
qtwebkit, then other applications may be suffering from similar
problems. We should fix this in one place. There is a workaround in
place for people who need it in the meantime."

It's true that some users can google around, find a workaround, and fix
it for themselves. That's what I did. But what about users who can't?

Skype is a widely used application. If libqtwebkit4 isn't fixed in time
for the release, would it be wise to release Ubuntu 13.04 in a shape
where Skype is broken, even if it could easily have been avoided? I
don't think it would.

Ultimately this is about how much we care about non-geek users of Ubuntu.

Gunnar Hjalmarsson

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