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The good, the bad, and the ugly

After working on some bugs, testing Alpha 5, and playing around with the new Alpha 5 CDs in Windows Vista, I ran across quite a few things that could be listed as “The good, the bad, and the ugly.” So lets start off with the good.

The Good
Wubi. Wubi is a new addition to the desktop CDs that allows you to easily install Kubuntu (and the other *buntus) from within Windows. I was skeptical to say the least, but decided to go ahead and give it a shot in Vista. What Wubi does is it creates a virtual drive, similar to what you would see with VirtualBox or VMware, and installs Kubuntu in your Windows partition. The good is that it doesn’t mess with Windows, doesn’t require you to repartition your drive, and can be done by anyone, even your great-great-grandma with ease. The nice thing is that if you get sick of having Kubuntu installed, which we know you won’t, you can uninstall it just like you would any other application in Windows. Now that was impressive. Oh, and you have access to your Windows partition too, I just couldn’t access what would be “My Documents” I guess. Oh, and read the Ugly below, Wubi is in there too unfortunately.

Another good thing I have seen today is the amount of people involved in the 5-A-Day stuff is increasing, and the amount of work is insane! Great job to everyone involved!

The Bad
Going through Launchpad today I became annoyed by a couple of things, some deal with Launchpad directly and some deal with the bug reports I have been coming across. For Launchpad, searching through the bugs doesn’t pick up on any of the Apport traces that are attached, heck it doesn’t even pick up on anything attached to the bug reports. This makes it kind of a pain when trying to search for duplicates. Oh, and duplicates, there are a lot! Tracking them down though by going through each report and reading the attached crash traces is very time consuming and annoying.

Another thing that I got annoyed by were bug reports that simply had no more information than “Program X Crashed.” Hey, I (we) would love to help you get that fixed, but how did it crash, what were you doing when it crashed, what versions of everything are you running, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Gnome, KDE, Xfce, what? Try and add as much information as you can to these bug reports, as it helps us help you. Otherwise you will get some people coming through, setting the bug as Invalid or Incomplete, and never hearing anymore on it. When you get a nice crash report and file the bug, as you should, comment on the bug and tell us exactly what you were doing when it crashed. The crash reports are great, but it makes it difficult for us to try and reproduce the crash. Take a bit of time when filing a bug report, take 15 or so minutes and make sure there isn’t already a report for the same exact thing.

And for those of you triaging bugs and setting yourself as the Assignee, don’t just comment, set to invalid, add yourself to the report, go ahead and do some work on the bug. I am used to going through various bug tracking systems, and when I see someone assigned to a bug report, I pass it on by thinking they are doing work. I found bugs from 2 and even 3 years ago with someone assigned that hasn’t done anything on LP since they assigned themselves to a bug report. All of the reports I went through today and yesterday where I assigned it to myself, pretty much everyone who filed the bug commented, allowing the process of getting the bugs fixed. I know there are quite a few bugs that I have already fixed release in the past 24 hours because we were able to communicate back and forth. I see a lot of reports where a triager commented or asked a question, the person who created the report replied, but there was no follow up after that except for a lone gunman who comes in and says “Hey! I am closing this report since there hasn’t been activity on it in over a year.”

One more thing, make sure you assign the bug to the correct package. All of the crash traces people are putting into the bug reports tell you which package it is. I have seen some that said “Package: X-this” yet it gets filed against package Y.

The Ugly
KLauncher crash reports. KNotify isn’t any better. Both of these are elements of the new KDE 4 system. I must be one of the lucky ones or something, because I don’t see the majority of these bugs at all. It seems a majority of these bugs are from those of you who have both the Gnome desktop installed as well as the KDE 4 desktop. I was expecting a little of this, but not the amounts I have been seeing. It seems like every time I work on 15 of these reports, there are already 15 new ones. Insane!

The really ugly though goes to Wubi that I put up in the good. However, with this little mention, we can probably move this portion of Wubi up to the bad section. When you go through the installation in Windows, you eject the CD and you restart. Then right as Windows starts, you get the Windows version of Grub asking you if you want to boot into Windows or Kubuntu. The first time through, when you select Kubuntu, you will see at least these 2 things. The first is this:

There was an error setting up inter-process communications for KDE. The message returned by the system was:
Authentication Rejected. reason: None of the authentication protocols specified are supported and host-based authentication failed
Please check that the "dcopserver" program is running!

No big deal, click OK and move on. Well after you click OK, you have no idea if you are going on or you are locked up. You see a black screen with the X mouse cursor. You can see your hard drive working overtime, but nothing else happening. Read my lips, DO NOT PRESS THE RESET BUTTON! Let it go through, eventually the screen will flash and you will see that what was happening, is it was installing Kubuntu. Whew, I was joking about this on IRC and almost gave up. Thankfully I didn’t, as after the reboot, Kubuntu was working just great, even if it did say on boot up ‘Filesystem: LTFS.’ That was kind of funny, but all worked out.

So you Wubi devs, great work by the way, but document Wubi a tad bit better, or you Ubuntu people who decided on this, lets tweak up some documentation so we don’t have baffled users staring at a black screen with the X cursor. Better yet, have some sort of pop-up or something that tells the user, “HEY! Don’t do anything until it tells you to, we are installing Kubuntu for ya, just hold on to your shorts!”

</the good, the bad, and the ugly>

A cool thing I learned today, the ‘Thumbnail Aside’ composite feature in KDE 4 and watching videos in a small little box. If you use this feature, make sure under the composite settings, click the advanced button and set the top check box to keep thumbnails updated. One of my reports I worked on, the reporter told me how he has streaming videos on one of his workspaces, but it shows up in the ‘Thumbnail Aside’ box in the bottom right hands side of the desktop when enabled. That is pretty cool!

Great job everyone squashing bugs and creating some coolness for us geeks to enjoy!

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