Hard to see which program crashed for "Internal error" reports

Bug #938707 reported by Martin Pitt on 2012-02-22
This bug affects 5 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
apport (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Version 1.92 (with the whoopsie merge) does not always state the name of the program any more, but sometimes says "Ubuntu 12.04 encountered an internal error". This is arguably dumbing down the UI and makes it unnecessarily hard to relate the crash report to an action you just did. For example, yesterday I got two of these popups because nautilus and the unity video lens crashed (which was related).

If it would say the name of the program/package somewhere, it would be a lot easier to see that this might be the consequence of something you just did.

Perhaps we could put the name of the program in a normal-sized text label below the title if we say "internal error"? Or just revert to always saying the name of the program? After all, "internal error" has zero information, and it does not sound any less scary than "postfix" or "nautilus" IMHO.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in apport (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Evan (ev) on 2012-02-22
Changed in apport (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt)
Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

If Nautilus crashes, the alert should say "The application Nautilus has closed unexpectedly." <https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ErrorTracker#app-crash> If the internal error alert appears instead, please report that as a separate bug.

The internal error alert is for OS components that are not applications. These are the sort of component where, if its name was shown by default in the error alert, it would very likely be the only time a user had ever seen that name. Therefore, it would far more often be distracting than informative; hardly anyone confronted with the error would know what "postfix" meant, for example.

If you do want to know the name of the program, it should take one click, "Show Details". <https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ErrorTracker#details> I don't think one click is unnecessarily hard.

Changed in apport (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → New
status: New → Invalid
Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :

For example nautilus comes up as "internal error", so something isn't quite right there yet.

In the "show details" section the name of the program appears on top now since 1.93, but it still takes a while for the information to be collected. Before it was much easier for an user to say "ah, that program again, already reported or I don't want to", now you need to wait for the full data collection first. Bear in mind that in some cases this might even involve interactive questions, which sounds like an excessively high price for telling you the name of the program.

Changed in apport (Ubuntu):
status: Invalid → Triaged
status: Triaged → New
Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Sorry I was commenting before without the benefit of being able to see the current behavior. I agree that the process name should appear at the top of the pane before any data collection is done, i.e. at the same time as the spinner appears in the pane. Specification updated: <https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ErrorTracker?action=diff&rev2=42&rev1=40>

Changed in apport (Ubuntu):
status: New → Triaged
Changed in apport (Ubuntu):
assignee: Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) → Evan Dandrea (ev)

On Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 10:25 PM, Martin Pitt <email address hidden> wrote:
> Before it was much easier for an user to say "ah, that
> program again, already reported or I don't want to", now you need to
> wait for the full data collection first. Bear in mind that in some cases
> this might even involve interactive questions, which sounds like an
> excessively high price for telling you the name of the program.

Hi Martin,

From your perspective and given the solution Matthew presents above,
is it sufficient to make this change and leave the rest of the current
behavior as-is? That is, the UI is hidden and the process spins away
in the background, continuing to collect the additional information
and then quitting. Or would you prefer to see something that
communicates to the thread that it needs to commit suicide at this

Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :


I'm OK with Matthew's proposed change. I'd still prefer if the process name was visible before as well, but I don't care enough to argue about it heavily. :-)

Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :

Merged to trunk, thank you!

Changed in apport (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Fix Committed
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :
Download full text (3.2 KiB)

This bug was fixed in the package apport - 1.95-0ubuntu1

apport (1.95-0ubuntu1) precise; urgency=low

  [ Martin Pitt ]
  * New upstream release:
    - apport-gtk, apport-kde: When reporting a "system crash", don't say "...
      of this program version", but "...of this type", as we don't show a
      program version in the initial dialog
      (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ErrorTracker#error) (LP: #961065)
    - problem_report.py, write_mime(): Do not put a key inline if it is bigger
      than 1 kB, to guard against very long lines. (LP: #957326)
    - etc/cron.daily/apport: Do not remove whoopsie's *.upload* stamps every
      day, only if they are older than a week. whoopsie comes with its own
      cron job which deals with them. Thanks Steve Langasek. (LP: #957102)
    - report.py, mark_ignore(): Fix crash if executable went away underneath
      us. (LP: #961410)
    - apport-gtk: Do not compare current continue button label against a
      translated string. Instead just remember whether or not we can restart
      the application. (LP: #960439)
    - hookutils.py, command_output(): Add option to keep the locale instead of
      disabling it.
    - hookutils.py, command_output(): Actually make the "input" parameter
      work, instead of causing an eternal hang. Add tests for all possible
      modes of operation.
    - hooktuils.py: Change root_command_output() and
      attach_root_command_outputs() to disable translated messages
      (LC_MESSAGES=C) only as part of the command to be run, not already for
      the root prefix command. This will keep the latter (gksu, kdesudo, etc.)
      translated. (LP: #961659)
    - apport-gtk: Cut off text values after 4000 characters, as Gtk's TreeView
      does not get along well with huge values. KDE's copes fine, so continue
      to display the complete value there. (LP: #957062)
    - apport-gtk: Make details window resizable in bug reporting mode.
    - crashdb.py, known(): Check the address signature duplicate database if
      the symbolic signature exists, but did not find any result. (LP: #103083)
    - ui.py: Run anonymization after checking for duplicates, to prevent host
      or user names which look like hex numbers to corrupt the stack trace.
      (LP: #953104)
    - apport-gtk: Require an application to both have TERM and SHELL in its
      environment to consider it a command line application that was started
      by the user. (LP: #962130)
    - backends/packaging-apt-dpkg.py, _check_files_md5(): Fix double encoding,
      which caused UnicodeDecodeErrors on non-ASCII characters in an md5sum
      file. (LP: #953682)
    - apport-kde, apport-gtk: Only show "Relaunch" if the report has a
      ProcCmdline, otherwise we cannot restart it. (LP: #956173)
    - apport-gtk, apport-kde: Show the ExecutablePath while we're collecting
      data for the crash report. Thanks Evan Dandrea. (LP: #938707).
  * debian/copyright: Change to copyright format 1.0.
  * debian/control: Bump Standards-Version to 3.9.3.

  [ Brian Murray ]
  * data/general-hooks/ubuntu.py: use main.log to determine UpgradeStatus not
    apt.log (LP: #886111)
 -- Martin Pitt <<email address hidden>...


Changed in apport (Ubuntu):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
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