"The system detected a problem, do you want to report it?" dialog

Robert Heller heller at deepsoft.com
Sat Aug 25 19:29:32 UTC 2018

At Sat, 25 Aug 2018 20:00:07 +0100 "Ubuntu user technical support,  not for general discussions" <ubuntu-users at lists.ubuntu.com> wrote:

> On 25/08/18 00:49, Robert Heller wrote:
> > I'm getting this "The system detected a problem, do you want to
> > report it?" dialog. It does not say what the problem is.  
> I've had these from time to time and they're a pain in the OSS.
> > How do I find out what the problem is?  I am not interested in
> > reporting it. 
> I always assumed that clicking "Report" would auto-generate a report and
> send it, but it doesn't. It opens a browser window onto whatever
> report-a-bug web site the developers use, where you have to create a
> username and password (and go through the email confirmation loop) and
> then write your own report on what went wrong — when in all likelihood
> you don't know what went wrong. If the devs want people to report 
> errors, which I assume they do, they MUST create a better system for 
> doing so.
> I *would* be interested in sending an auto-generated report, and I 
> wouldn't mind adding a note about the state of the system when it 
> happened, but I'm an end user, not a developer (these days). 
> Unfortunately the current developers assume everyone is running a full 
> suite of dev analytic tools and that they are able to pinpoint the cause 
> of the error themselves. In this they err.

I eventually figured out the problem. It was a *week old* error that I had
already seen and in fact already "cured". A week ago Friday I did a system
update (apt-get update;apt-get dist-upgrade) and ran out of space on the /boot
file system -- it was too small. I was running apt-get in a terminal window,
saw the error an then *manually* (apt-get purge) removed the old kernel that
would have been removed with apt-get autoremove. I then resumed the apt-get
dist-upgrade (successfully) and scheduled (in my mind) a disk re-partitioning
job the following Friday, that I in fact did. It was at this point that the
*stupid* dialog box popped up wanting to report a problem, that I in fact had
already fixed (or was about too)... In this case it was not a "bug", but
merely a system config type of problem, that was easy to fix, something *I* am
an old hand at, since I have been dealing with admining Linux machines for
decades, including major system upgrades, replacing disks, etc.

In other words, the "error" popup was totally extranious, unnecessary and 
quite anoying.  Is there any reason not to get rid of this silliness?  Oh, and 
I don't really want the users of these machines to be randomly reporting 
"bugs" in any case.  I'd rather they just tell me when something goes wrong.

> > I suspect it is something stupid that I can fix, but I
> > cannot figure out how to find out what is wrong.
> If you know the date/time, look in /var/log/syslog or /etc/messages or 
> wherever your system logs its messages and see if there is anything 
> unusual happening. It's probably not wise to ignore it: those messages 
> tend only to appear when something serious is happening.
> I've also had them come up when there's a hardware problem that the 
> software can't identify, so the next time you bring the system down, don 
> a grounding wrist strap, open the box and reseat the cards, clean the 
> fluff, and make sure it all looks OK.
> > This is with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. I am used to CentOS and used to a less
> > pointy-clicky user interface, where one gets real error messages, not
> > these silly "idiot light" dianostics.
> 14.04 is getting a little long in the tooth but should still be stable.

I know, but I am not one to randomly upgrade machines to the "latest" version 
on a whim, which often causes all sorts of problems, mostly subtle.  These 
machines are being used by people who are not Linux experts and who need the 
machines to "Just Work" and not randomly change in non-trivial ways.

I will upgrade these machines but in a careful, planned fashion.

> I had many CentOS systems in my last job, but CentOS was hopelessly out 
> of date for what we wanted to do, although it was stable. Fortunately 
> they were servers, so there weren't any popups: all access was command 
> line and all error messages were on the console.
> ///Peter

Robert Heller             -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software        -- Custom Software Services
http://www.deepsoft.com/  -- Linux Administration Services
heller at deepsoft.com       -- Webhosting Services

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