I, Brian Murray, apply for MOTU.


Brian Murray

Launchpad Page

Wiki Page


Who I am

I'm Brian Murray and work for Canonical as a QA Engineer on the Ubuntu Platform team. I primaraly focus on bug reports, bug workflow, bug statistics, special reports of bugs - basically everything bug related! I've been using Linux since 1999 (wow, that's 10 years) starting with Red Hat. I actually used to be an RHCE.

My Ubuntu story

I've been using Ubuntu since 2005. I've been involved with the Ubuntu community since December 2007, starting out with the documentation team.

My involvement

Some of things I am involved in, or have been in involved in Ubuntu include:

  • organizing and leading bug days
  • performing Stable Release Update verification of proposed packages
  • developing and packaging updates of bughelper and python-launchpad-bugs
  • working on the launchpad greasemonkey scripts project

  • managing the Ubuntu Bug Control team
  • creating opportunities for harvest

  • documenting bug workflows and triaging procedures to reduce the barrier to entry for new contributors
  • documenting and collating debugging procedures for many packages

  • giving classes at Ubuntu Developer Week and Ubuntu Open Week

Additionally, during my time working on Ubuntu I've run across a few patches in bug reports that I've wanted to see integrated into the package. I'd like to be able to get these bugs fixed directly.

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

I've worked a lot on python-launchpad-bugs and bughelper and have had lots of uploads sponsored for them. In addition I've been working on getting patches in bug reports included in packages and helping out with

  • In ciso I improved an included patch and setup the package to use dpatch.

  • In makeztxt I updated the debian watch file and updated the package to a new version.

  • I updated the firefox-launchpad-plugin to include a few new searches, from Steve Beattie, and added distinct icons for the searches. I also updated all the search plugin formats to new xml formatting.

  • I've also incorporated some patches into apt-cacher and added some Ubuntu specific patches to allow update-manager to work with it.

  • For imdb-tools I incorporated a patch and forwarded the bug upstream so the package can be synced again in Karmic.

  • For iperf I prepared a debdiff including a reporter's patch but that ended up being a sync request since the bug fix was already in Debian.

  • For hwtest I prepared a debdiff of a patch which also became a Stable Release Update.

  • I backported an update to flashplugin-nonfree so I could complete an SRU verification of another bug.

  • I cleaned up someone else's patch to seahorse so the bug would really be fixed.

  • Pending - audacity

  • Pending - protobuf

I've also added apport package hooks to usplash and compiz. I'm really proud of these and the printing hook for apport, used by cups, as they increase the quality of bug reports in Launchpad and make them easier to triage.

Areas of work

The packages I've worked on the most are bughelper, python-launchpad-bugs and update-manager. With update-manager the work has been done in bzr and having my branches merged.

Things I could do better

In my work I see a lot of bug reports that need to be forwarded upstream and instead of doing the forwarding I sometimes open an upstream task. So, I could do a better a job of actually forwarding them and adding the bug watch.

Plans for the future


I plan to continue working on bugs with patches and ensuring that they get tested, incorporated into the Ubuntu package and forwarded upstream where appropriate. I've started some work on this by documenting what qualifies a patch, how to identify them in Launchpad and the process for subscribing the appropriate teams to bugs with patches. I've also written a document on how to test and incorporate patches into Ubuntu packages. I'd like to generate more interest in this process, and resolve and issues with it, so we can get the backlog of patches tested and incorporated into Ubuntu.

Additionally, I'd like to continue adding apport package hooks for the most notorious (in terms of quantity of bug reports) packages.

What I like least in Ubuntu

The thing I probably like the least about Ubuntu is that participating can be extremely complicated for new community members. For example, with bug reports there are so many different things that can and should be done to a report to improve it that it can be quite overwhelming for a first time triager. The same thing applies to packaging and packages with the wide variety of patch systems that any particular package can use. One thing I have done with the Bug Squad documentation is to break it up into more manageable bits so one is not overwhelmed by the enormity of it. I think that both the packaging documentation and processes could both benefit from being broken into more approachable pieces.


If you'd like to comment, but are not the applicant or a sponsor, do it here. Don't forget to sign with @SIG@.


As a sponsor, just copy the template below, fill it out and add it to this section.


General feedback

I think Brian would make an excellent addition to MoTU. He's been a huge asset to bug triage, and has handled many of the various patches that have gone long unnoticed in the bug tracker. I've sponsored many of his uploads across several releases. In Jaunty, I sponsored apt-cacher, python-launchpad-bugs, firefox-launchpad-plugin, and apport. I've found the quality to be consistently high, with attention to detail, and an interest in taking suggestions. I trust Brian to make the right decisions -- he knows when he needs more information, and that's a critical skill for any Ubuntu member to have.

Specific Experiences of working together

Brian has been handling many of the little patches that have gone unnoticed in the bug tracker. An example of this recently was his work on imdb-tools. I helped answer some questions about process, and the packaging was well handled.

Areas of Improvement

I helped Brian get more comfortable with opening upstream Debian bug reports, so that patches can more easily be tracked when performing future merges. This area of improvement is coming along fine. Smile :)


General feedback

Brian is an absolute rock star! His Launchpad magic, bug handling, enthusiasm, development skills would be a tremendous asset to the MOTU team.

Specific Experiences of working together

Brian has helped me with a number of Launchpad optimizations, configuring my upstream projects, linking with other bug trackers, etc.

Areas of Improvement

Daniel Holbach (dholbach)

General feedback

I reviewed a bunch of changes of Brian in python-launchpad-bugs and bughelper (some time ago) and a few other fixes. He does great work and improved his packaging skills significantly over time. He'd be a great addition to the team.

Specific Experiences of working together

Areas of Improvement

Brian should totally blog more about what he's doing to get more people involved in QA and bug fixing activities.

David Futcher

General feedback

I think Brian would be a great addition to the MOTU team. Though I haven't sponsored many of his patches, every patch that I have has been of a very high quality. He is a hard worker and often takes on jobs that others neglect to (for example applying old patches etc.). In short: He'd be a great MOTU!

Specific Experiences of working together

Areas of Improvement

Package changelogs could often be filled out more completely, but this is a very minor issue and definitely wouldn't be a blocker for a +1 from me.

Andreas Wenning

General feedback

I've seen a lot of high-quality triage work from Brian. This also includes adapting patches and making a debdiff; I've only seen a few of them, but what I've seen has generally been of good quality.

Specific Experiences of working together

Areas of Improvement

A bit more verbose changelogs, eg. about how patches are named, or if applied inline, affected files.

Iain Lane

General Feedback

I sponsored a couple of Brian's patches recently and they were fine. He is doing good work transforming patches from contributors into debdiffs ready for sponsoring.

Specific Experiences of working together

Areas of Improvement

I would like to see Brian be more active in the MOTU community and branch out into other areas of work that we do in the Karmic cycle (merges, new package updates, ...).

Blog more about the oft-neglected process of turning patches into diffs! Smile :)

Martin Pitt

General feedback

I sponsored two packages for Brian; packaging wise they were very easy (one inline patch, one debian/patches/ patch). They were ok.

I do not have sponsored enough packages for Brian to be able to judge his packaging skills. He is very active in QA, though, and thus knows Ubuntu inside out.

Specific Experiences of working together

  • 319333 : uploaded unmodified

  • 343255 : Changelog should have been more rigorous, and he should have forwarded the patch upstream (respectively, find the existing upstream solution and take that patch instead). Actual fix and packaging was okay.

Areas of Improvement

Please look at existing changelogs and try to become more verbose: Where (file locations, patch name), what (description of the change), why (which visible bug does it fix)


=== General feedback ===
## Please fill us in on your shared experience. (How many packages did you sponsor? How would you judge the quality? How would you describe the improvements? Do you trust the applicant?)

=== Specific Experiences of working together ===
''Please add good examples of your work together, but also cases that could have handled better.''
=== Areas of Improvement ===


BrianMurray/MOTUapplication (last edited 2009-03-29 16:27:31 by c-24-21-50-133)