Crash reporting is too annoying for the average user

Bug #412553 reported by LoonyPhoenix on 2009-08-12
This bug affects 5 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
apport (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: apport

This was inspired by

I'm on Karmic Alpha right now, and programs break from time to time, so I know what I'm talking about. Bug reporting is really rather unpolished as it is at the moment.

First Apport collects data, then sends it to Launchpad, THEN opens the browser with the bug report. Then you've got to check if a similar bug already exists (I usually don't; I haven't got enough time or knowledge to compare all that complicated report data, and the system checks for duplicates automatically anyway), then it requires a comment, even though you don't know what to write - the program just crashed, maybe you weren't doing anything! - and only then the bug is reported. I personally don't mind having to be a registered member of Launchpad, as I am; but that might be annoying to other people.

What I'd like to see is this:

Apport collects data and then, without opening a browser, it presents me with a SINGLE dialogue where all information needed to report the bug is collected:
1) the option to send a compact report for slow connections (this is a nice feature and it should stay)
2) the option to send the report as a registered member of Launchpad (username and password boxes with the option to remember your choice)
a) if so, the option to subscribe to the bug
b) if not so, the option to leave contact information for the developers if I don't mind them contacting me
3) the option to attach a comment about what you were doing, what you think caused the problem, etc.
4) the option to ignore all future errors of this certain problem.

You'll see that everything is an option here; you can just hit "Send" and the default report will go directly to Launchpad. And I see no need for a browser at all! I promise you you'll get a lot more error reports with a system like this.

ProblemType: Bug
Architecture: i386
Date: Wed Aug 12 17:19:26 2009
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 9.10
Package: apport 1.7-0ubuntu2
PackageArchitecture: all
 PATH=(custom, user)
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.31-5.24-generic
SourcePackage: apport
Uname: Linux 2.6.31-5-generic i686

LoonyPhoenix (loonyphoenix) wrote :
description: updated
Annie Mack (lunargirl32) wrote :

I agree, the current method for crash reporting is extremely annoying. No user should be forced to login in order to report a bug.
I also think that instead of being asked to search through the database, that the bug reporting application should be smart enough that it doesnt require any work from the user.

This is the way apport should function.
Application Y crashes
Apport catches the crash and error dumps and compiles them into a report.
Apport displays two options 1: Send report, 2: Check for Fixes
If user chooses option 1 Apport opens a window with comment field for additional details to be included in report user clicks submit, and apport closes.
If user chooses option 2 Apport searches the launchpad database, finds proposed solutions to the bug and displays those solutions in a list for the user.
If a solution is found:
User clicks solution and tries it, if it doesnt work continues to next solution
If a given solution works:
User clicks a button that says "This Solution worked"
If no solution works:
User is presented with a "none of these solutions worked for me" button at the bottom.
If no solution is found in database:
Apport opens a window with comment field for additional details to be included in report user clicks submit, and apport closes.

This would make fixing bugs so much easier for developers as they would be able to see which solutions worked for which bugs and on what distributions,kernels etc.

Sorry this comment is so long but I wanted to offer an idea for fixing this bug rather than just saying it is there.

Johan Walles (walles) wrote :

Searching for a solution should be the default behavior, not something the user should have to ask for. Of course, this assumes there is an automated way to actually perform that search (and there should be).

OTOH, that might be the subject of a different issue, it might be simpler to have this one track *just* the actual bug *reporting* experience.

Solution? Something like "Open your terminal and enter these commands, then recompile your kernel and restart the system"? If an application crashes, the bug in the application should be fixed, no workaround should be proposed.

Johan Walles (walles) wrote :

Daniel, "Open your terminal and xyz..." is in most cases a workaround, not a solution.

A solution would most often involve installing upgraded packages, just as you say.

I don't think you're in disagreement with any of the previous posters.

Michael Lazarev (milaz) wrote :

I'd add to the original description one more thing: it would be nice to have something like a log or a database of reported and not reported bugs. Sometimes bug happens when I'm out of any network, and an icon with exclamation sign appers in the notification area. If I accidentally click it, the only option is to cancel the reporting. But the thing I want is not to cancel it, I just want to *postpone* reporting.

Another thing is when several crashes happen. I once had six simultaneously. And then I have to walk through reporting the first one, cancelling the second one and so on. A list would be very helpful in this case.

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