Who I am
My name is Christopher M. Penalver and thank you for visiting my wiki.
I am a member of Ubuntu Bug Control, with a focus on LibreOffice, Linux kernel, and xorg bugs. Also, I contribute further by updating community and development support articles on https://help.ubuntu.com/ and https://wiki.ubuntu.com, and submitting bug reports (this is also contributing!).
Experiment with Patreon
I've started an experiment by making a Patreon page. While Patreon is most well known for audio/visual content creators to receive support from their fans, it seems like an interesting way for folks to encourage those who provide software troubleshooting in their free time. Also, it allows another way for folks to say thanks for being helped.
Triaging bug reports
I strive to learn as much as possible about the bugs I help triage. As well, I provide QA in a way that is in line with the Ubuntu Code of Conduct, and respectful of the preferences as documented by the various free and open source software communities.
My QA, triage, and documentation strategy is to position reports so a developer can easily and quickly see all relevant information necessary to fix the problem, and not have to ask follow up debugging questions of the original reporter (other than to test a patch). However, if a developer wants to step in before this, that's fine too!
I'm a proponent of moving forward a report on Launchpad, rather than see it standstill. Due to the sheer volume of reports outstanding, and amount of debugging not done upfront for one to properly debug an issue, it's not feasible to expect the moment every report is filed that a developer is going to swoop in ASAP and provide a code fix. One would expect the finite development resources to go to those reports that are security issues, high visibility/impact, and where folks have an interest and expertise in fixing a well debugged and/or easily reproducible issue.
I hide some of my comments. This is done to allow developers to review a report faster.
When a bug expires, I look at where the report was left off. This is to QA myself, ensuring the comment chain didn't end with a follow up statement from the original reporter that addresses the last request.
GNU/Linux and Security
Recently, I was having a discussion with someone in a senior role for an upstream project, and it was made known the project has a position to support any operating system (end of life or otherwise) as long as the latest software the project is scoped to can install on it.
This made me concerned from a security perspective, that any smart, dedicated, and hard working professional, who is paid or volunteers their time, is encouraging the use of insecure operating systems. Also, I'm then trusting the software quality of folks with this view, after its had a review by a distribution, to support on a production basis.
It's similar in position to if someone stood up a project, and decided to support installing Office 2013 on Windows NT 4.0, and then steamrolled forward in support of this, criticizing external objectors to the obvious, negative security implications, instead of discussing the merits (or lack there of) of supporting end of life operating systems.
Now, I do understand the use of an EOL OS in an extremely limited case. Specifically, where the box is not network connected, it is air gap protected, does its job perfectly, and upgrading isn't an option (hardware/software vendor went bust, or the infrastructure is financially stretched beyond capacity).
However, to actively support insecure software as a non-last resort seems tenuous, and not in the best interest of free software. Especially in light of high impacting security incidents, like the Linux Mint hack, heartbleed, shellshock, ghost, and others. I would imagine folks are more vigilant than ever in taking a stronger security stance.
My pet peeves
GMail unable to always show trimmed content
One very annoying thing about GMail is in order to read an entire message one has to click a button "Show Trimmed Content". This serves no purpose other than forcing users to click this button unnecessarily to see an entire message. This should have an option in the settings (Labs?!) to "Always show Trimmed Content". This has been an issue since at least 2014, and has been reported by others when performing a cursory search for this issue.
GMail Product Info build: gmail_fe_140330.00_p4 experimentId: 1144 through: build: gmail_fe_160119.00_p1 experimentId: 1144
2016-09-01 Sent Google another "Send Feedback" about this as it is still not addressed.
Instead of holding my breath for something that hasn't changed, I stopped using the web interface and now use Thunderbird.
Chromium's issue tracker permanently auto closes bugs without letting original reporter re-open it
05/23/2016 One of the handful of things stopping me from using Chromium/Chrome as my primary browser versus Firefox is the ability to limit the results of the omnibox to my bookmarks only. While I've requested this upstream via bug 491560 the Chromium project has put in place a robot that permanently robo-closes reports without any recourse for the original reporter other than file a new report. While I do happen to like the robo-closing aspect, as it keeps the bug tracker free from stale reports, not making available a mechanism to re-open a report is irritating for folks who are waiting for the issue to be dealt with.
Why I had to switch E-Mail from GMX to GMail
10/27/2012 When I first started using a dedicated E-Mail account, I tested out a number of different free services (GMail, GMX, and Yahoo). However, being accustomed to Outlook Web Access from past jobs, I began using GMX as my first major E-Mail account, due to it being the closest to OWA. It had a really sleek GUI web interface that worked really well with all browsers and operating systems. And the overall design was intuitive and reasonable.
However, a few months back the website had an issue the GMX Support team was aware of, where all browsers across all operating systems were spontaneously logged out after 10 seconds to a couple minutes. Me being a reasonable and understanding person, I figured they will knock that issue out with no problem. So, I worked around it by using Evolution in Quantal, as I could not get Evolution to work with GMX in Precise. Simultaneously, I sent the GMX support team a message advising them of the problem, assuming after a while it would be all cleared up and I could go back to using the web GUI that I've come to enjoy using, combined with the added benefit of using anywhere from 100-300MB less RAM due to Evolution not running.
Unfortunately, I received a response noting not only is the problem resolved from their end, despite the fact it continued for me using both Firefox and Chromium browser, but that it is now caused by my using Ubuntu, due to how no further complaints have been made by Windows or Mac users, and they won't even try to support it. As well, Evolution was giving me troubles, where it would intermittently crash, hang, and take longer than expected to do certain tasks.
So, having changed absolutely nothing on either browser, I started up a GMail account and it worked flawlessly, no spontaneous log outs. Not only that, Google Docs worked around a rather inconvenient LibreOffice PDF document import issue! Also, GMail automatically imported all my folders from GMX, preserving the structure, and auto-forwarded all my GMX E-Mail to GMail for the next 30 days! It was like GMail anticipating my having this problem (and others due to their extensive list of competing E-Mail platforms one could choose from in their import list), and then delivered exactly what was needed on a silver platter. Wow!
Now that I've migrated over to GMail, it is smooth sailing.
Christopher is one of the most passionate community members out there. I admire the expertise and great understanding he demonstrates every time he triages a bug report and when he edits a documentation page. —Fitoschido, 2013-02-21 06:12:58
- Please feel free to post a testimonial about my work with the Ubuntu project here.