Fri, 28 Nov 2008
Re: No Reply
Just a followup to my previous blog post about reporting bugs. From comments it seems I was not clear enough, so instead of replying to each commenter, I will write a followup (for context, read the previous comments by Matěj Cepl and Milan Zamazal):
I have mentioned one Fedora bug, and one GNOME bug. I hope it is clear I am not "throwing junk at Fedora" only. Other times, you probably see me ranting about handling bugs in Fedora more often than about bugs in Ubuntu or whatnot, just because it is Fedora I mainly use and thus report bugs for. I also occasionally report bugs for and read bugtracking systems of X, GNOME, ekiga, kernel, and several other projects. I am perfectly aware of other distros, and I know why I use Fedora. The link Matěj has provided (read the second comment from the top) is one of the reasons.
The main misunderstanding has probably been that I demanded having my bugs fixed. Nope. If I wanted to do it, I would have bought a RHEL license instead. Finding a workaround for myself is often very fast (use the text install, downgrade the X server, etc). But I report the bug anyway in case some less-experienced user runs into it, so that he would not have to run away crying to the *BSD or even Windows world.
Another point is that bug reports provide a much needed feedback to the developers (like in "Oh, apparently somebody is actually using the XDMCP support I have just axed out of my shiny new rewrite of GDM"). Often - especially in a UNIX world, which has traditionally been strong in configurability - developers are not aware of all the exotic ways people are using their software.
Although I used to do lots of open source work, I don't have that much time anymore. I have decided to support OSS at least by reporting bugs. I am just asking myself whether reporting a bug (often despite having it worked around myself) was worth my time.
To be more constructive (cf. my rant on the ATI X300 bug): Matěj, to spare both your time and bug reporter's time, I would like to ask you to demand more logs and other details only if you positively know there is a high enough probability of some developer actually looking at that bug report. On the other side, I will try to anticipate the log request in my future bug reports and provide them with the report itself.
On a lighter note: Milan - as you can see this blog is influential enough for Fedora :-)
Wed, 26 Nov 2008
Every half a year a new Fedora comes out, and every half a year I run into
new bugs in software. As a responsible member of the community, I attempt
to report bugs in hope that developers find my bug reports useful.
I accept the fact that every software has bugs (altough there is a
quite annoying class of bugs: feature removals. Those make previously usable
gdm totally unusable for anything but
the most simple setup). However, I recently started to doubt whether
even the bug reports are wanted and worth my time.
I will show two examples: the first one is GNOME panel messing up applets after the screen resolution change. It has originally been reported in March 2004, four and half years ago. And there has been no response from developers since then, except occasionally marking some newer bug reports as a duplicate of this one.
And the second one is screen flicker on ATI X300 during install, which I have reported a day before the Fedora 8 release. Except for a "send more logs" request by Matěj Cepl shortly after the report, the activity of this bug report was zero, and today a warning about end-of-life of Fedora 8 has been added. I guess that nobody has looked at logs Matěj has requested, so his request was even further waste of both my and his time.
What is your experience? Are your bug reports being handled, or do they rot deeply buried in some bugzilla forever?
Tue, 18 Nov 2008
Today's newspapers are full of articles commenting the fact that Czech citizens now can travel to the U.S. without visa, and taking it as a big achievement of Czech politicians. Having gone through the U.S. visa procedure myself recently, I wonder why no journalist pointed out the sad truth, that in fact, the visa procedure is still there.
The meaning of the phrase "not needing visa" for me is being able to decide to cross the border at any time in any country, and equipped just with the passport being able to appear in front of the passport officer, who in turn should immediately be able to decide whether to allow me in or not (possibly asking some trivial questions like whether I want to work in his country or in which hotel I want to stay).
But the current procedure is still the same visa procedure as before (including lots of big-brotherish questions and gathering of personal data). The only differences are that it takes only three days to validate the request instead of a month, it can be filled in online instead of in the U.S. embassy, and it requires a biometric passport (big brother again). And probably the immigration clerk would check the passengers without visa more thoroughly (at least this is how it has been a month ago when I travelled to Portland).
So nothing to see here (definitely no material for the front pages of the newspapers), move along.
Sun, 02 Nov 2008
People around me became addicted to dancing computer games (like Dance Dance Revolution, Stepmania, or In The Groove). I have to admit I tried it, and became addicted too. We have even bought our own dance pads and we dance^Wstep at night.
I think it is an excellent way of exercising in the late Autumn, when it is not possible to ride a bicycle because of instable weather. Even people with different level of skill can play together. Also there are many stepcharts, so one can even listen to the music he likes, instead of default songs. (image taken from the DDR Wikipedia page)
Stepmania has a Linux version (I had problem with it on my laptop with Intel chipset). I have also tried to compile it from the source, but failed because of incompatibilities between my newer C++ compiler and older Stepmania source code. I wonder why people these days still use C++ when it cannot sustain two or three years of the difference between the source code and the compiler. The CVS version compiled correctly, but needed a different format of the config files, which I did not have time to dig into further. In The Groove works flawlessly under Wine, though. It is pretty amazing to see how advanced Wine has became - it can even handle a 3D-accelerated game with synchronized sound (however, some people complained of worse sound sync than when running natively), USB joystick devices, etc.
Give it a try, it is really good!