[Ardour-Users] [64studio-users] Just a suggestion about how to handle bug reports

Gustin Johnson gustin at echostar.ca
Tue Dec 16 15:05:05 PST 2008

Hash: SHA1

Ralf Mardorf wrote:
> I'm not banned for some mailing list and some of the recipients are very
> kind, but their lists are joined by people who maybe should pay
> attention to this.
> If you want people to report bugs, than
> - don't laugh about them and say that they are the only one with that

Sometimes bugs *are* related to user error.  Years ago I worked at an
Internet help desk.  9 times out of 10, the problem was the end user not
knowing how to use their computer or network applications.  Sometimes
this means that the interface needs to be improved, and sometimes it
just means that the user needs to be educated.

> problem and they should search the web before they do stupid bug
> reports. Be careful, sometimes the user might have more knowledge and
> you only think you're right.

This cuts both ways.  A little humility on both sides is probably a good
thing.  For bug reporters, an aggressive and borderline abusive manner
is probably not the best approach, yet I see it time and time again.  It
is as though some people expect that by insulting the developers, their
problems will get fixed faster.  I am not accusing you of this, I am
just trying to help you understand what some of these developers face.

> - you say they are right, but the bug isn't caused by your software,
> package-build, wiki, they should search the web and find out them self

How much time do volunteer developers have?  They can only fix what is
in front of them.  If their hardware and software performs as expected,
then it is unreasonable to expect them to spend hours on google looking
for problems.  The real strength of Open Source is that the users can
participate in the development process *IF THEY SO CHOOSE*.  This is
important.  By helping each other we all benefit.  This means we all
need to do some work.  There are other options for those who do not want
to participate or do any work.

> where they have to report bugs. Users might be stupid, but they won't
> report a bug for their office suit to ALSA and reporting a bug that has
> to do with an audio application, might be reported to ALSA, JACK, the
> kernel community, because they all have to do with such a bug
This is complicated, getting bugs between wildly unrelated projects
sorted out.  The process is not perfect, but it generally works.

It is one thing to complain, quite another to get working on a solution.
 I have often been frustrated that the work the kernel developers do
sometimes breaks my audio applications.  I have been unable to figure
out a better way of doing things, so I accept that for now, this is
simply the way things are.  Someone smarter than I may come up with a
solution, or they may not.  Either way I do no good in simply whining
about it.

> - allow people to report without getting subscribed

In a perfect world perhaps.  Unfortunately SPAM, griefers (aka trolls),
and drive by virus download links mean that this  is not going to
happen.  At the very least, SPAM will need to be solved before
subscriptions are not mandatory.
> I'm suggesting this because I misbehaved, when I asked because of a bug.
> Now I'm banned for a forum and a mailing list, but they grant me, that I
> have pointed out something that was unknown.
> But I wasn't the one who pointed out this bug, the web was full of posts
> from other people, before I even noticed this bug. When they try to
> report something and been laughed at etc., they don't go on like I did,
> they won't be idiots like I'm. They won't be banned.

I am not sure where or why you were banned, that is between you and that

I have found it interesting that some people will put their bug reports
into their blogs and not report them to the developers.  The developers
have better things to do than to try and pull vague bug reports out of
google.  Again, we seem to circle back to the idea of personal
responsibility. If it is not worth reporting via the mechanism the
developers suggest, then do not expect the bug to be fixed.

In the "real" world, if you do not vote or otherwise participate in the
political system, you really have no grounds to complain about how that
system affects you.
> A lot of people change over to windows, a lot of people report bugs and

People have choice.  There is a choice to participate or to merely
consume.  There are some software ecologies that cater to both of these.

> nobody cares about, a lot of people won't spend hours in reporting
> something, by reading rules how to do this, e.g. I was exhorted to write
> the German word "das" correctly, because there are rules, that this word
> sometimes must be written "dass" instead of "das".
> I often reported bugs to people who than said, they are making music too
> and that bug didn't exist, a year later it's noticed in a developer list
> and they have long threads about it and they wonder why nobody reported
> this before.

One report can easily be missed.  It also needs to be repeatable and
testable.  I am just as surprised at the sheer number of bugs that the
open source community deals with in a year.
> People don't try to asked, because they have fear to asked in a wrong
> kind, the wrong questions. If you report a bug you often hear use this
> distro instead of this distro, if you don't like it, or use Windows
> instead of Linux, if you don't like it. But you do like a special
> distro, application etc. ...
> Things went terrible wrong in the community and it's not a borderline
> and dyslexic personality like me ... "normal" people have fear to use
> Linux, to ask the community.

I have never met a "normal" person.  Everyone I meet is unique in his or
her own way.  Where are these mythical normal people?
> If anybody is interested in what I noticed about Linux audio and MIDI,
> which bugs I have myself etc., I will go on, because I will stay at
> Linux for nearly everything, but I guess I have to find something else
> for multimedia. Hints for alternatives to Linux are welcome.
I am interested but I can do very little about it since I am not a
coder.  The best place for that would be the communities that
maintain/develop the software that is causing you problems.

> Don't worry, I won't write anything again if I'm unwanted.
> Good luck for multimedia Linux!

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