Ubuntu Open Week - Reporting Bugs about Ubuntu - Brian Murray - Mon, Nov 3rd, 2008
(02:01:33 PM) jcastro: ok, bdmurray, your turn! (02:01:54 PM) bdmurray: Welcome! I'm here to talk to about how to report bugs about Ubuntu as there are a couple of different ways you can do it. (02:02:07 PM) bdmurray: Additionally, I'll cover how to make your bug report more likely to get fixed! (02:02:41 PM) bdmurray: Perhaps you are wondering what exactly is a bug? (02:02:55 PM) bdmurray: In computer software it is an error or a flaw that makes the software behave in ways for which it wasn't designed. Some of these can result in crashes, others may have a subtle effect on functionality, others can be spelling errors. (02:03:11 PM) bdmurray: By reporting these issues you can help to improve Ubuntu for everyone! (02:03:59 PM) bdmurray: To be able report a bug effectively let's take a look at what a bug report looks like. (02:04:12 PM) bdmurray: Reported bugs are kept in Launchpad, the bug tracking system used by Ubuntu. Let's look at a sample bug report - http://launchpad.net/bugs/291342. (02:04:18 PM) ubot5`: Launchpad bug 291342 in update-manager "free disk space check could actually carry out suggested ways to clear space" [Wishlist,Confirmed] (02:04:59 PM) bdmurray: There are four attributes of a bug report that I want to point out. 1) The bug's title or summary is 'free disk space check could actually carry out suggested ways to clear space'. (02:05:18 PM) bdmurray: 2) In the Affects table you'll see that this bug report affects 'update-manager (Ubuntu)' this is the package / application which the bug report is about. (02:05:44 PM) bdmurray: 3) Bug's have a "description" which is filled out when you are reporting a bug. (02:06:12 PM) bdmurray: 4) You'll also notice that the bug's status is Confirmed. (02:06:41 PM) bdmurray: The status also appears in the affects table. (02:07:03 PM) bdmurray: Are there any questions regarding what a bug report looks like? (02:09:06 PM) bdmurray: < snapy> QUESTION: What are tags? (02:09:44 PM) bdmurray: Bug tags provide another way of identifying and searching for bug reports in Launchpad. You can find some common ones that we at http://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bugs/Tags. (02:10:25 PM) bdmurray: For example screencast is a tag used when a bug has a screencast attached to it. (02:10:51 PM) bdmurray: < yusuf_> QUESTION: What is the comments setion for? (02:11:27 PM) bdmurray: Comments are used to communicate information between the bug reporter and bug triagers or developers. For example a triager might request more information about the bug. (02:12:25 PM) bdmurray: So how can you report a bug about Ubuntu in Launchpad? (02:12:41 PM) bdmurray: They can be reported via the web interface at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+filebug where you start by filling out the summary which becomes the bug's tile. (02:13:38 PM) bdmurray: After which you are asked for the package affected and for 'Futher information' which becomes the bug's description. (02:13:53 PM) bdmurray: The description should contain at a minimum the following: (02:14:01 PM) bdmurray: 1) The release of Ubuntu that you are reporting the bug about. (02:14:12 PM) bdmurray: 2) The version of the package you are reporting the bug about. (02:14:24 PM) bdmurray: 3) What you thought should happen. and 4) What happened instead. (02:14:35 PM) bdmurray: You also have the opportunity to add an attachment to your bug when you are reporting it via the web interface. (02:14:50 PM) bdmurray: Another way to report a bug is using apport, an automated problem report application included with Ubuntu. (02:15:11 PM) bdmurray: The advantage to using apport is that it automatically collects information about the release of Ubuntu you are using and the version of the package / application that you are reporting the bug about. This means less work for you! (02:15:28 PM) bdmurray: Let's say that you have encountered a bug with gnome-terminal. You can use apport to report the bug by going to gnome terminal's "Help" menu and choosing "Report a Problem". (02:15:54 PM) bdmurray: Apport will start collecting information about your bug and then launch your browser where you enter the bug's summary / title and then enter the bug's description. (02:16:13 PM) bdmurray: An example of a bug reported using the "Report a Problem" menu item is http://launchpad.net/bugs/292885. Looking at that bug you'll see information in the description regarding the DistroRelease, the package and version, and kernel version among other things. (02:16:24 PM) ubot5`: bdmurray: Error: Could not parse data returned by Launchpad: The read operation timed out (02:16:34 PM) bdmurray: All of which was collected automatically for you. The "Report a Problem" functionality has been integrated into lots of applications. (02:17:00 PM) bdmurray: Speaking of tags you'll also notice that bug is tagged apport-bug. (02:17:51 PM) bdmurray: Apport also has a command line interface, called apport-cli, where you can report a bug about a specific package via 'apport-cli -f -p PACKAGE' which is useful for non GUI applications for example gdm (gnome-display-manager) or X. (02:18:03 PM) bdmurray: Additionally, you can also specify a process id number via 'apport-cli -f -P PID'. (02:18:35 PM) bdmurray: Using apport is the preferred way to report bugs as they contain detailed information about the application and your system. Further information about reporting bugs can be found at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ReportingBugs. (02:19:30 PM) bdmurray: < ogzy> QUESTION: what does a triager do? (02:20:14 PM) bdmurray: This will be addressed more tomorrow when pedro_ gives a class on triaging bugs. However, a triager helps gather more information to make the bug report complete so it can start being fixed! (02:21:06 PM) bdmurray: < Kolyan_ufalug_> QUESTION: How do you think should be written (02:21:06 PM) bdmurray: the ideal bugreport? What do you think of (02:21:06 PM) bdmurray: beginners who are not able to report bugs (02:21:06 PM) bdmurray: right? (02:21:37 PM) bdmurray: The ideal bug report should contain information about the release of ubuntu, the package version affected, and detailed steps for someone else to recreate the bug. (02:22:29 PM) bdmurray: The steps to recreate the bug, or the test case, is critical so someone else can confirm the bug report. Bugs that are unreproducable are often hard to fix! (02:23:22 PM) bdmurray: < ogzy> QUESTION: so triager and bug fixer are different people? (02:23:56 PM) bdmurray: No, not necessarily. Think of them more as roles. A developer fulfills the role of a triager when they are gathering information to start working on the report. (02:24:40 PM) bdmurray: Moving on - how can we make our bug reports more useful for triagers and developers? (02:24:54 PM) bdmurray: Choosing the affected package or application the bug is about is critical. Please don't submit bugs with out a package! (02:25:16 PM) bdmurray: We have about 1500 of these right now and your report might get lost there or will be responded to less quickly. (02:25:28 PM) bdmurray: Some helpful hints for finding the proper package are at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bugs/FindRightPackage. (02:25:45 PM) bdmurray: This page also contains the names of packages that might be hard to discover. For example, bugs about the kernel in Intrepid Ibex should be reported about 'linux' in Launchpad. (02:26:08 PM) bdmurray: Also feel free to join the #ubuntu-bugs channel on Freenode and ask for help in finding the proper package. (02:26:35 PM) bdmurray: An important part of a bug's life cycle is it entering the Confirmed status. (02:26:47 PM) bdmurray: When a bug is Confirmed it means that someone has been able to recreate the bug or believes sufficient information has been included in the bug report for a developer to start working on it. (02:27:34 PM) bdmurray: Any Launchpad user can confirm a bug report, but please don't confirm your own! It is important that someone else is able to recreate the bug and that we know it is not specific to your configuration. (02:27:47 PM) bdmurray: In practical terms - this means that you should include extremely detailed steps to recreate the bug in it's description so anyone, not just a developer, could confirm it. (02:28:04 PM) bdmurray: It is far better to have too much detail than not enough! (02:28:59 PM) bdmurray: There is another bug status named 'Triaged' which is an advanced state of 'Confirmed'. You can learn more about bug statuses at http://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bugs/Status. (02:29:21 PM) bdmurray: Some fairly simple things you can do to make your bug report easier for someone to confirm or triage your bug are including a screenshot, via Print Screen, or creating a screencast, using istanbul or gtk-recordmydesktop. (02:29:45 PM) bdmurray: Including these items makes it that much easier for anyone to confirm your bug report. (02:30:26 PM) bdmurray: An example of a bug with a screencast is http://launchpad.net/bugs/212425 - watching the screencast helps one better understand how to recreate the bug. (02:30:32 PM) ubot5`: Launchpad bug 212425 in libwnck "Desktop selector does not change on having positioned a file on" [Low,Confirmed] (02:30:56 PM) bdmurray: Additionally, the best way to make your bug report more likely to be fixed is to follow the debugging procedures for the package or subsystem the bug is about! (02:31:11 PM) bdmurray: These have been written by bug triagers or the developer of the software and following them will help you create a more detailed bug report. (02:31:20 PM) bdmurray: You can find the list of debugging procedures at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DebuggingProcedures. (02:32:29 PM) bdmurray: Looking at some more questions ... (02:32:33 PM) bdmurray: < gourgi> QUESTION:what is the difference between "This bug doesn't affect me" and "Subscrive to bug" ? do both provide update notifications? (02:33:26 PM) bdmurray: If you change a bug report to 'This bug affects me' that information gets recorded in the Launchpad database. It is an easy way of saying me too. (02:33:36 PM) bdmurray: However, you are not subscribed to the bug report when you do that. (02:34:21 PM) bdmurray: When you subscribe to a bug report you will receive e-mail notifications regarding changes to the bug report whether they be questions asked or packages available for testing the fix to the bug report. (02:34:52 PM) bdmurray: < madmetal_spyros> QUESTION: How important for the team is Apport? (02:35:39 PM) bdmurray: apport is a very important application to bug triagers and the Ubuntu development team. It is always being improved to submit higher quality bug reports. (02:37:16 PM) bdmurray: < kippy> QUESTION: You mentioned a Bug is a behaviour which the software was not designed to perform. So how can we classify the "update manager should suggest ways of freeing up disk space" as a bug? I mean its more of an improvement, as the importance=wishlist points up. So does this mean we can suggest improvements via bug reports? and what does "Assigned To" contains and (02:37:22 PM) bdmurray: signiies on the bug greport page? (02:38:43 PM) bdmurray: Some improvement bug reports do belong in Launchpad. It depends on the scope of the improvement and whether or not the application is something is developed by Ubuntu developers - which update-manager is. (02:39:45 PM) bdmurray: Some ideas, like changing default applications, are best reported at http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/. There they can be more fully fleshed out and voted on by community members. (02:40:27 PM) bdmurray: Assigned to means that somebody is working on fixing a bug report. (02:41:14 PM) bdmurray: < grml> QUESTION: Before I report a Bug, I have to check if this Bug is already reported. How can I list the already reported Bugs for a given package and/or for a given Ubuntu Release, please? (02:41:54 PM) bdmurray: This is a great question! Thanks for asking it. We get a lot of duplicate bug reports in Launchpad and it helps a lot if reporters would first look to see if the bug is already reported. (02:43:11 PM) bdmurray: For example, lets say we are having an issue with rhythmbox. We can find bugs reported about rhythbox at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/rhythmbox/+bugs. (02:44:45 PM) bdmurray: Now we can enter a string in the search box like 'mtp' and click search to find rhythmbox bugs about mtp. (02:46:16 PM) bdmurray: Let's say bug 235726 is the bug I'm experiencing. I could subscribe to that bug report to receive information about how the bug is progressing. (02:47:21 PM) bdmurray: Additionally, you might notice that this bug doesn't really have a specific package version in it and hasn't been tested with Intrepid. So if it were your bug you could test it with Intrepid and add your findings to the bug report. (02:47:56 PM) bdmurray: You should include complete details as if you were reporting it as a new bug. So the release and the specific package version. (02:49:24 PM) bdmurray: < AnAnt> QUESTION: sometimes I report a bug, and it I get no (02:49:24 PM) bdmurray: response for it for long time (maybe more than a (02:49:26 PM) bdmurray: month), what should I do to grab attention to a bug ? (02:50:41 PM) bdmurray: AnAnt: It really depends on the bug. However, testing it with the latest version of the package can help. Finding a friend to recreate the bug report and subsequently confirming it would help. Additionally, not all software included with Ubuntu is developed by us. (02:51:31 PM) bdmurray: So one could report the bug to the upstream bug tracker (for example gnome in the rhythmbox case we were using eariler) and then link your Ubuntu bug report to the upstream bug report. (02:52:34 PM) bdmurray: < toobaz> QUESTION: do programs which use apport trigger it only when they "die abruptly" or do programmers decide to make a call to it just when the code itself detects things are non behaving right? (02:54:16 PM) bdmurray: apport detects application crashes and automatically reports them for the development release of Ubuntu, so programmers don't need to anything. However, for the "Report a problem" functionality developers can include apport hooks in their package for files to be included in the bug report. (02:54:48 PM) bdmurray: For example, X bug reports include '/etc/X11/xorg.conf' and '/var/log/Xorg.0.log' and maybe some other things. (02:55:43 PM) bdmurray: Are there any further questions? (02:57:25 PM) bdmurray: < spielmannsfluch> QUESTION: What about bugs in packages/programms not developed by the ubuntu team, should I report these bugs to launchpad, too? (02:58:04 PM) jcastro: almost out of time! (02:58:38 PM) bdmurray: If there are included with Ubuntu yes. This will allow bug triagers and or developers to help you determine if the bug is Ubuntu specific. Additionally, there are triagers who run upstream versions of software who can test it with the upstream version. (02:59:48 PM) jcastro: ok we're out of time (02:59:52 PM) jcastro: thanks bdmurray! (03:00:00 PM) bdmurray: We've covered some ways to submit higher quality bug reports about Ubuntu. However, if you need any help reporting a bug, or finding the right package to report a bug on, or finding out if your bug is a duplicate, you can find members of the Ubuntu bugsquad in the #ubuntu-bugs IRC channel. (03:00:08 PM) bdmurray: Thanks everyone!