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libc6: nightmare or just a bad dream?

night · mare [nayht-mare]

  1. a terrifying dream in which the dreamer experiences feelings of helplessness, extreme anxiety, sorrow, etc.
  2. a condition, thought, or experience suggestive of a nightmare: the nightmare of his years in prison.
  3. (formerly) a monster or evil spirit believed to oppress persons during sleep.

That is the definition of nightmare according to

How many people had those feelings expressed in the definition? Well, from looking at the bug report, forum thread, mailing lists, and IRC, I think some may agree it was a nightmare. I am here to tell you that it was nothing more than a bad dream however.

A bad dream? Rich, you have got to be out of your mind! True, but I am always out of my mind, nothing new here.

Lets think about it for one minute. This libc6 issue didn’t occur in Dapper, Edgy, Feisty, or Gutsy, it occurred in Hardy. Hardy is currently in, what we like to refer to as, a development cycle or unstable release. Did it render our systems useless? Of course it did, but guess what? We have these great things called Live CDs, not only so you can test out Ubuntu or Kubuntu, but so you can also fix breakage that comes your way. Think about other operating systems where you don’t have this option. Sure, they may have a rollback option (which I am sure we will see eventually in Linux), or you may be one of the lucky ones where selecting “repair” from the installation CD fixes your problem, but most of the time with those other systems, you have to do some R&R, and I don’t mean rest and relaxation, I mean reformat and reinstall. Thank goodness for those Live CDs though, as I have seen more people fix their Windows machine with a Live CD more so than they have with the Windows CD or DVD that they paid hundreds for.

But still, MY SYSTEM DIDN’T WORK AFTER THIS UPGRADE! THAT’S RIDICULOUS! No it isn’t, you are using a distribution release that is meant for developers and for those who are not faint of heart.

OK FINE! BUT WHY WASN’T THERE TESTING DONE ON THIS!?! There was, it broke your system didn’t it? You tested it, now the developers know it didn’t work. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Pre-releases of Hardy are *not* encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting, and fixing bugs.

Hey, don’t get me wrong, I was just as pissed off as many of you were, and actually on a couple of occasions spoke before thinking when this happened last night. We are human, we make mistakes, and we learn from our mistakes. With this being the only major issue I have seen come across during the Hardy development cycle, I have to say, we have learned a lot over the past few years if only one nightmare, or really a bad dream, occurred during a development cycle.

So remember, before you go off saying “I thought Ubuntu had a QA process”, or “Why wasn’t this tested?” Remember, in a development cycle, the people using and working with the OS are the QA process and they are the same people testing it.

The FIX took me no more than a few minutes in order for me to get my system(s) back up and running, probably less time than it took for me to bitch on IRC last night, or more time than it took some of you to bitch in an email, a bug report, or a forums post. I was always told that cooler heads prevail, and I seen that first hand. The people in the forums last night with the cooler heads, they had a quick howto on fixing the problem in a matter of minutes, they didn’t flip out claiming their company went out of business or something dramatic because an unstable version of their OS broke.

So with that said, this was nothing more than a bad dream 🙂

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