Monday, November 16, 2009

Let's fix bug #1 without regressions

Linux usability on the Desktop OS has significantly increased, this brings two major problems:
1) Wider range of hardware and use cases, increasing the chances of problems with untested use scenarios,
2) Linux on the Desktop is moving from an hobby OS to a main workstation OS, regressions have a serious impact, they now affect some business or some people work

Ubuntu and Desktop distros in general are trying to resolve problem 1 by pushing new technology as faster as they can, but what about problem 2 ? Is it really being addressed ?

Some years ago the FAQ was "I have tried Ubuntu on my PC and there is no sound, no network and my device Y is not recognized", most of the times the root cause and answer was simple: "The current kernel drivers do not support your hardware yet" or "You need additional configuration to enable the driver" - additional work needs to be done, someone needs to improved/develop drivers and/or configuration tools.
These days, the FAQ is "My sound, network and graphics where working great until I did an upgrade", the answer "It's a regression" is not that easy to explain - work was done on some driver/configuration in order to improve it and it's failing on your case, possible reasons are: unknown problem(not tested), known (waiting for a fix), known (won't fix).

I hope we are not running in competition for hardware/features/whatever support with the leading OS.
The fix for bug #1 should not introduce such a severe regression as lack of reliability.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Forget the Koala fight and let's go Lynx

There is a lof of debate whether Karmic Koala was a good or bad release, that is all a matter of expectations. In my opinion, we, the Ubuntu community did a great job but the outcome was not as good as some people expected.

I have read the following reply from Martin Pitt on the ubuntu-devel-discuss which makes me believe this was an accounted risked, part of the preparation for a much important goal which is 10.04 LTS:

" Well, the bug tracker is full of regression and other reports. Karmic
indeed was meant from the start as a "crack dump" release, with lots
and lots of new technology going into it. So in a way, it was the
Fedora of Ubuntu releases so far.

Perhaps we should have announced that more clearly...

At least we now have a full cycle ahead of us to do bug fixing. :) "
Unlike the usual blame game this was a much simpler and probably more realistic answer.

Instead of wasting energy debating if it really failed let's just try to fix it. Sometimes is not a technically failure and it is just lack of understanding on how things work, if that is the case we still need to fix it, it's a matter of improving awareness and communication.