Handling complete failure in the installer

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at canonical.com
Thu Nov 26 21:33:16 GMT 2009

Hash: SHA1

Evan Dandrea wrote on 12/11/09 14:18:
> Right now, when the installer crashes it simply exits and an apport
> icon appears in the panel.  Clicking on the apport icon tells you that
> "ubiquity" crashes, but doesn't mention the installer, or next steps
> you can take to install.  It's also not obvious that you need to click
> on the apport icon.  Equally, apport is also supposed to be disabled
> for release, so users wont see anything at all when ubiquity crashes
> (save this time when Martin apparently forgot to disable it).

Michael Forrest of the Canonical Design team will be looking at the
installer for Lucid, so from me just a few quick thoughts:

> My thought is to leave the apport interaction as is, but also pop up a
> dialog on failure that explains what recourse the user has, and
> provides a button that launches apport-collect ubiquity.  I've
> discussed this with Colin and he agrees that we need a better
> workflow.

I wish Ubuntu stable release users (not just alpha/beta users) were
shown a sensible explanation of what's happened when any application
crashes (not just Ubiquity), with the ability to relaunch them. The
hardest part of implementing that in apport would be mapping the name of
the crashed process to the name of an application to display in the alert.

(I also wish Ubuntu had a crash database that even stable release users
could submit crash reports to, without flooding Launchpad with bug
reports, like Firefox has. But that's another story.)

> The mockup below is what I've come up with.  What does everyone think?
> <title>Well, this is embarrassing.</title>
> +---+
> |(X)| The installation has failed due to an unrecoverable error.
> +---+
> This is likely due to a bug in the installer.  Would you like to report it?
> [ Report Bug ]

"Look, mum, it says there's an insect in the installer."

The text here could use the word "problem" instead consistently, but
then (because of the aforementioned lack of an Ubuntu crash database)
you'd still be exposing people to all the bug-reporting geekery of
Launchpad itself. So if you include this possibility at all, you need to
word this paragraph in a way that diverts people who won't be
interested. Something like: "If you are familiar with reporting software
bugs, you can help us by reporting this one."

> <b>You have several options before you</b>


> - <b>Try the installation again.</b>
>    <s>The bug you are encountering may be related to a particular option.
>    Choosing a different set of options could allow the installation to
>    complete.</s>

With a button to click to do that.

> - <b>Try to install an older version of Ubuntu, then upgrade.</b>
>    <s>You may not encounter the same error if you <a:1>install an older
>    version</a> of Ubuntu.  You may then <a:2>upgrade for free</a> to the latest
>    version.</s>
> - <b>Check CD for defects, try a new CD or a different installation medium.</b>
>    <s>The installation medium could be faulty.  It is reccomended that you run
>    the "Check CD for defects" option you saw when booting this CD/DVD.
>    This may rule out the possibility of a bad CD burn.

With a button to click to do that, if possible.

>    It may help to clean the CD/DVD, to burn the CD/DVD at a lower speed, or
>    to clean the CD/DVD drive lens (cleaning kits are often available from
>    electronics suppliers).
>    The <a:3>Startup Disk Creator</a> application will let you copy your
>    installation CD to a bootable removable device, such a USB disk.  These
>    devices are often more reliable than traditional CD media.</s>

With a button to click to start that.

Overall I think you need to dramatically reduce the amount of text here.
This might involve reducing the number of options.

- --
Matthew Paul Thomas
Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org


More information about the Ubuntu-installer mailing list