Archive for the ‘Bugs’ Category


Ubuntu Bug Control Membership

July 7, 2011

I attended a company rally in Dublin last week so didn’t get around to blogging, but having received some good news just yesterday I though I’d make a posting about it.

After the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Budapest one of the objectives I set for myself this year was to become more active in the Ubuntu community. Being a QA person, one of the most obvious routes was through the well structured bug handling initiatives that the community has in place (thus my posting about the Bug Squad and bug days). To this end I’ve devoted what spare time I have to these initiatives. Apart from Bug Days I also take part in the 5-a-day program which encourages participants to update five bugs a day (by commenting, changing status or updating titles – anything that could be construed as a valuable change to a bug). This is going pretty well and I’m on a 3-week streak of fulfilling my 5-a-day quota (according to the 5-a-day report).

As a result of all this activity I’d gathered enough experience (and evidence of that experience) to file an application for the ubuntu-bug-control team in Launchpad, who have permission to change bug Importance and set the status to ‘Triaged’. This involved testifying to having read some documentation and then providing some example bugs to demonstrate that I understood the bug triage process. It took a week and a half to get enough positive responses (two) to have my application accepted, but as of yesterday I am officially a member of ubuntu-bug-control!

I’ll do my best to use these powers effectively and diligently and hopefully make a big difference to the effectiveness of bug triage in Ubuntu.


The magic of OSS

June 15, 2011

In my travels around Launchpad looking for bugs to triage, I came across an old one that I noticed (but not before others apparently) in the Alpha 1 release of Oneiric Ocelot. This was a problem with update-manager not ‘seeing’ that network-manager had a connection because the new version of network-manager (0.9) uses different codes to express ‘connected’.

This issue was bugging me, so I decided I’d take it upon myself to patch it up. Someone had done a similar patch in software-center so I already had all of the knowledge needed right there (i.e. what are the new codes). I jumped into my Oneiric VM, branched the update-manager code and hacked away at a couple of Python modules, tweaked, buffed and polished until lo and behold, on starting update-manager it picked up the connection! A few command lines (bzr stat, bzr commit, bzr push) and a few clicks in Launchpad later my merge request was with the update-manager project maintainer (Michael Vogt aka mvo). Minutes later it was merged and the next day with the help of my patched version of update-manager 🙂 I was able to update update-manager with the patch.

Looking at my own name there in update-manager’s description of the change, I couldn’t help but think how awesome it is that I’m able to do this with my favourite operating system. That’s what makes OSS magic for me…


Hug a Bug

June 9, 2011

When I worked in the Symbian Foundation, as part of the (Symbian) Bug Squad activities that I helped run we would (try) to have regular get together on IRC where the community would come together and work on something in particular. Mainly this was getting triaging done. We didn’t have the benefit of a lot of experience, so this would be done in something of an ad-hoc way with everyone discussing each bugs status and priority until we reached a conclusion.

Now that I’m at Canonical and trying to participate heavily in Ubuntu’s Bug Squad activities, it’s comforting to know that something similar goes on here (maybe we were subconsciously influenced by it ?). It also happens to be on the same day (Thursday) of the week. I’m of course referring to Hug Days, which are co-ordinated by the QA team. I’ve been involved in them over the last few weeks as a participant (rather than an organiser) and I find the structure to be very good and very accessible. Quite simply there is a list of bugs with different statuses (New, Confirmed or Incomplete) and simple instructions on what to do with each bug. New bugs need to be either Confirmed or set to Incomplete if you find you need to ask the reporter for extra details to be able to reproduce the bug. Confirmed bugs themselves need to be revisited and a check done to make sure the bug is still happening, leading to the bug either being Triaged or set back to Incomplete if it’s not happening and you need the reporter to reconfirm. Lastly, Incomplete bugs should be checked for a response from the reporter to the information request. If they gave the necessary info then the bug should be Confirmed. If not a follow up question should be asked and the bug left as Incomplete.

Some tools that are handy to have to assist with the process of going through all these bug reports and updating them correctly are the Hug Day tools, which semi-automate the process of ‘closing’ Hug Day bugs (they aren’t being closed as bugs, but as tasks on the Hug Day), as well as the Firefox Launchpad Improvements, which are useful not just for Hug Days but any bug work. The improvements include canned bug comments for common scenarios such as when an inexperienced bug filer has provided little info on the bug and you need to tell them to provide simple steps to reproduce the bug.

Each Hug Day is based on a particular package (which helps to focus the effort) and this weeks Hug Day is on Nautilus, Ubuntu’s file browser. I have and will be participating in this as much as I can, so if you decide to participate in it then say Hi on Freenode IRC #ubuntu-bugs where there are lots of knowledgeable Ubuntu people waiting to help out newcomers with the task at hand. See you there!