Lately I only appear to be writing about things I'm unhappy with and general moaning. Sorry for that. But here's another one of them:
An important part of Debian is the BTS, it allows users to report bugs as most people will know is obviously very important. Quite a few essays have been written (for example the first hit for a search) about how to write good bugs and how that can be difficult. The point I'm getting to is that many people/organisations have discovered it's a lot better to hand-hold bug writers and help them as much as possible. Debian has done this in the excellent reportbug program. It will collect lots of information about the program you're having trouble with, will show you open bugs against it etc. Perhaps the most important part is that Debian has discovered that the quality of bug reports improve significantly when reportbug is improved.
As the title suggests this rant is about Ubuntu however. Being a Debian derivative I thought they would have learnt this lesson from Debian and support reportbug too. They do indeed, but the way they do isn't amazing. Here the problems:
- You are not given a list of open bugs.
- This is rather disturbing. I had to launch my web browser and go to bugs.ubuntu.com, which redirects to Launchpad but that's fine with me, to see if the bug was reported already. I could not find the bugs ordered by package there, so I tried the very useful Debian shortcut: bugs.ubuntu.com/packagename but with no luck. The only way was to use their search facility. That actually lacks quite a bit, in fact I think every bug I ever reported in Ubuntu has always turned out to be a duplicate, in Debian this ratio has been a lot better.
- The bugreport is sent to a members-only email list.
- That's right, I got a message back that my email was waiting for moderator approval. Eh? This does not appear to be the case when reporting bugs via launchpad (at least when I used that last, as you might guess I prefer reportbug), so why are reportbug users supposed to be inferior? In fact I don't see the point of this at all. Duplicates aren't filtered and it seems like someone else has to go through the trouble of filing the bug again (I suppose in launchpad). Not very efficient.
So why is this? Why doesn't Ubuntu integrate reportbug better? Why don't they use the Debian experience in this? Why create extra work load? Why can't reportbug use launchpad directly? Sorry, but but this just seems like counter productive