Ubuntu Open Week - Good Practices in Reporting Ubuntu Bugs - Murat Güneş - Wed, Apr 29th, 2009

(05:08:45 PM) bdmurray: Hey, sorry about that!
(05:09:02 PM) bdmurray: 'm here to talk to you today about how to report bugs about Ubuntu as there are various different ways you can do it.
(05:09:27 PM) bdmurray: Additionally, I'll cover how to make your bug report more likely to get fixed!
(05:09:50 PM) bdmurray: First we should talk about what exactly qualifies as a bug.
(05:10:05 PM) bdmurray: In computer software it is an error or a flaw that makes it behave in ways for which it wasn't designed.
(05:10:24 PM) bdmurray: Some of these can result in crashes, others may have a subtle effect on functionality, others can be spelling errors.
(05:10:35 PM) bdmurray: By reporting these issues you can help to make Ubuntu even better than it already is.
(05:11:05 PM) mgunes1: hi all, sorry for the delay; I've had a connection failure..
(05:11:35 PM) jcastro: mgunes1: no worries, we were just getting started
(05:12:00 PM) mgunes1 is now known as mgunes
(05:12:28 PM) mgunes: bdmurray, do you mind if I go on? ;)
(05:12:46 PM) bdmurray: mgunes: nope go ahead, I just went over what qualifies as a bug
(05:12:51 PM) mgunes: alright
(05:13:20 PM) mgunes: just a short introduction: I'm Murat Güneş; I'm part of the Ubuntu Quality Assurance team, and I'm going to be talking about good bug reporting practices.
(05:13:52 PM) mgunes: My intention is that this talk will cover the basics of what a bug report is, how to help improve Ubuntu and the broader ecosystem of free and open source software by filing a good one, and some useful tools for and good habits in keeping track of the bugs that interest you in one way or another.
(05:14:30 PM) mgunes: Brian probably got you through some of the basics; especially once I've covered some more, feel free to interrupt with questions at any point and make the talk veer off into other topics related to bug reporting and quality assurance in general!
(05:14:43 PM) mgunes: but please keep the questions in the chat channel.
(05:16:17 PM) mgunes: Once you've encountered what can be classified as a "bug", you'll want to report it, so that it can be... fixed.
(05:16:42 PM) mgunes: It's probably a good idea to look at a few sample bug reports to get an idea of the anatomy of an Ubuntu bug report
(05:17:24 PM) mgunes: here's one: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/file-roller/+bug/13199
(05:18:57 PM) mgunes: This bug has been encountered in Ubuntu, but also affects what's known as the "upstream project", which is to say, the project that the code making up the software originates from (in this case, Nautilus, the default file manager for Ubuntu)
(05:19:43 PM) mgunes: At the top you see a (not really ideal) description of the behavior. Some way below is a short and itemized description of the problem
(05:21:01 PM) mgunes: On the right, you see "duplicates", the bug reports that have been classified as describing the same underlying problem by bug triagers and developers.
(05:21:07 PM) mgunes: Below is the discussion, and the list of "subscribers", the people who are interested in receiving updates on the report for one reason or another.
(05:21:57 PM) mgunes: When should you report a bug?
(05:22:47 PM) mgunes: A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the problem you're encountering with the software is reproducible.
(05:24:29 PM) mgunes: If it's reproducible across different configurations and/or use cases,  is affecting the task you want to perform with the software negatively, it's most likely a bug.
(05:24:42 PM) mgunes: Let's go on with some basics of how to report a bug in Ubuntu.
(05:25:10 PM) mgunes: You'll see the URL https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+filebug cited in many guides and articles about bug reporting.
(05:25:36 PM) mgunes: Yes, that is the default Launchpad URL that lets you pick a package and file a bug report in it.
(05:25:43 PM) mgunes: However, and that's a big however..
(05:26:13 PM) mgunes: There are other ways of reporting bugs which make the process of evaluating and fixing bugs much easier for developers and bug triagers
(05:27:10 PM) mgunes: With most graphical user-visible software that comes preinstalled with Ubuntu, you'll see a "Report a Problem" menu item on the "Help" menu.
(05:28:06 PM) mgunes: If you click on it, it will run the Apport bug reporting tool, which will collect basic information about the version of Ubuntu you are using, the version of the application that produced the problem, etc. and let you attach this information to the bug report.
(05:28:40 PM) mgunes: There's also the command line utility "ubuntu-bug".
(05:29:17 PM) mgunes: To file a bug in, say, Firefox in Ubuntu, all you have to do is type "ubuntu-bug firefox" in a terminal, and the same information will be collected.
(05:29:51 PM) mgunes: I'll stop here to take a look at some questions if any.
(05:30:18 PM) mgunes: sebsebseb: QUESTION:  let's take for example  Asterisk  the one from Ubuntu repo didn't just work it seems,   was it just buggy?   How would I even know, what a bug is?
(05:30:51 PM) sebsebseb: mgunes: that was 8.10, but I assume it will be like that in 9.04 to,  anyway that's pretty much irelivant
(05:31:15 PM) mgunes: sebsebseb: if you're not sure whether something is a bug, you may want to file a support request first (at the answer tracker or forums) and maybe perform some debugging (see https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DebuggingProcedures).
(05:31:43 PM) sebsebseb: mgunes: ah ok
(05:31:44 PM) mgunes: sebsebseb: if the problem seems to persist, and multiple people whom you've asked for support can reproduce it, it's likely, but NOT necessarily, a bug.
(05:32:09 PM) mgunes: sebsebseb: you can also ask for assistance on bug reporting at the #ubuntu-bugs IRC channel and Ubuntu Bug Squad mailing list.
(05:32:32 PM) mgunes: sheena1: QUESTION: Do you report a bug that already has a bug report? How do you decide?
(05:33:17 PM) mgunes: sheena1: If there's a bug report about the problem already, do not file another. Instead, if you're sure that the bug report is about the same problem, try to improve the existing report.
(05:33:42 PM) sheena1: mgunes: How can I find out more about how to do that?
(05:34:02 PM) mgunes: You can add new debugging information (see the debugging procedures link above), improve the title and description, add information about the way the bug manifests itself on *your* configuration, etc.
(05:34:14 PM) mgunes: All of these improve the report and possibly make it more likely to be fixed.
(05:34:29 PM) mgunes: sheena1: Here are some good links: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ReportingBugs
(05:34:36 PM) mgunes: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bugs/BestPractices
(05:34:55 PM) mgunes: again, if in doubt, always ask us!
(05:35:01 PM) sheena1: mgunes: Thank you! :)
(05:35:09 PM) mgunes: You're welcome.
(05:35:30 PM) mgunes: On with some basic info on reporting crashes..
(05:36:01 PM) mgunes: If you're using a development branch of Ubuntu, you'll have the Apport bug reporting assistance tool enabled by default.
(05:37:04 PM) mgunes: It will let you deal with crash bug reporting in an automatic fashion.
(05:38:04 PM) mgunes: You can also manually report crashes that have produced ".crash" files in your /var/crash directory by typing "ubuntu-bug /var/crash/nameoffile.crash
(05:38:05 PM) mgunes: ,"
(05:38:23 PM) mgunes: Again, Apport will take care of things.
(05:38:50 PM) mgunes: What if you've reported a bug, but forgot / neglected to use ubuntu-bug or "Report a Problem"?
(05:38:57 PM) mgunes: apport-retrace comes to the rescue.
(05:40:11 PM) mgunes: Correction: apport-collect comes to the rescue :)
(05:40:52 PM) mgunes: Simply type "apport-collect #123456" (the number of the bug report) and Apport will work its magic to collect the required information and attach it to the bug report.
(05:41:10 PM) mgunes: Any questions on the use of these tools?
(05:41:59 PM) mgunes: Let's go on with some "do"s and "don't"s in bug reporting.
(05:42:21 PM) mgunes: Make sure that your bug title is descriptive.
(05:42:58 PM) bdmurray: Without the "#" for appor-collect.
(05:43:00 PM) BUGabundo: mgunes: typo: s/apport-collect #12345/apport-collect 12345
(05:43:15 PM) mgunes: bdmurray, BUGabundo, thanks!
(05:44:07 PM) mgunes: "Weird problem with Firefox" is a bad title. "firefox prints only visible portion of image" is a good one.
(05:44:57 PM) mgunes: Follow up with your bug reports and try to improve them.
(05:45:12 PM) mgunes: If at first the problem was vague, but later you came up with more details, make sure those are posted.
(05:45:24 PM) mgunes: You can edit the description directly instead of adding comments.
(05:46:05 PM) mgunes: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DebuggingProcedures has links to many pages with information on how you can help developers come closer to pinpointing the underlying problems that cause the unwanted behavior.
(05:46:36 PM) mgunes: Use those procedures to improve your report, and when in doubt, do not hesitate to ask for help in #ubuntu-bugs or the Bug Squad mailing list.
(05:46:58 PM) mgunes: Use itemizing to list the steps for reproducing the issue.
(05:47:41 PM) mgunes: In your description, list each step you take to make the problem appear. This will help your description stay focused and concise.
(05:48:25 PM) mgunes: I want to reserve some time to other topics, so I'll refer you to a valuable blog post by MagicFab that better elaborates this: http://www.fabianrodriguez.com/blog/2008/01/18/the-bug-reporting-culture-10-things-to-avoid-10-things-you-must-do/
(05:48:52 PM) mgunes: Not to forget Bryce Harrington's http://www2.bryceharrington.org:8080/drupal/node/35 .
(05:49:09 PM) mgunes: Any questons?
(05:50:30 PM) mgunes: akgraner: QUESTION:  I Tried to use apport and I always get closed because I have outdated apps, how can that be if I update everything every the notifier tells me I have updates?
(05:51:13 PM) mgunes: akgraner: If I understand you correctly, you may be using an outdated mirror.
(05:51:27 PM) mgunes: akgraner: make sure that you use one that's up to date with the latest state of the development branch.
(05:51:48 PM) mgunes: https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+archivemirrors may help.
(05:52:04 PM) mgunes: unutbu: QUESTION: on Ubuntuforums there are some reports of Jaunty installs that fail at "formatting 5%". How should we determine if this is a bug, and if so, how should we most effectively report it? See for example http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=7119628 and http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1142470 and https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ubiquity/+bug/99908
(05:54:55 PM) mgunes: unutbu: on top of the info in the links I've posted above (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ReportingBugs being the starting point), you may want to join #ubuntu-bugs to get help from the ubuntu bug squad, or  get in touch with the developers of the software directly (in the case of Ubiquity, you may want to join #ubuntu-installer and kindly ask the developers there).
(05:55:10 PM) mgunes: BUGabundo: QUESTION: is using the apport descrition or any other crash, as the bug descrition good or bad?
(05:55:23 PM) ***BUGabundo listens
(05:55:52 PM) mgunes: BUGabundo: you may want to use a more descriptive title, but using the Apport provided one is just fine.
(05:56:04 PM) mgunes:  jegomez: mgnunes: QUESTION: Any best-practice thoughts on "bumping" a bug report? or we just shouldn't do it?
(05:56:40 PM) jcastro: 5 minute warning!
(05:57:25 PM) mgunes: jegomez: you should refrain from adding "me too" comments (there's a button for that now), and in general, comments that don't add any new information to the report. But gently nudging people infrequently, preferably with new information regarding the issue, should be fine.
(05:57:34 PM) mgunes: unutbu: QUESTION: Sometimes a bug report is marked as "Incomplete". Where should the bug poster look to find what information needs to be supplied to make the bug report complete?
(05:58:04 PM) mgunes: unutbu: the triager or developer who set the bug status as "Incomplete" will almost always refer to the place to look.
(05:58:54 PM) mgunes: unutbu: if they haven't, do not hesitate to ask them to! it's part of their job.
(05:59:43 PM) mgunes: unutbu: but again, https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bugs/BestPractices and https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DebuggingProcedures should help.
(06:00:23 PM) mgunes: We're almost out of time. I can probably answer a couple more questions if you have any.
(06:01:02 PM) mgunes: For the basics of using ubuntu-bug, see http://mdzlog.alcor.net/2009/03/31/please-dont-report-ubuntu-bugs-directly-to-launchpad/

MeetingLogs/openweekJaunty/BugReports (last edited 2009-04-29 22:01:05 by pool-70-16-48-183)