Error alert stops appearing for the same crash after a while

Bug #989800 reported by Matthew Paul Thomas on 2012-04-27
This bug affects 3 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
apport (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

apport 2.0.1-0ubuntu6, Ubuntu 12.04

1. Encounter a particular crash.
2. Encounter the same crash again.
3. Encounter the same crash again.

What happens:
1. An error alert appears explaining what happened.
2. An error alert appears explaining what happened.
3. Nothing.

What should happen:
3. An error alert appears explaining what happened.

The primary purpose of the error alert, as far as the user is concerned, is to explain what has just gone wrong. This purpose does not change no matter how often the error occurs.

For fair comparison of error rates between Ubuntu versions, it may be necessary to flag these previously-suppressed errors as ones that wouldn't have been reported "by X standards".

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

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

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

This might be related to bug 973277.

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Actually, no it isn't, bug 973277 is just about apt errors. This problem occurs for errors in general.

Bob Bib (bobbib) on 2012-05-21
tags: added: precise
Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :

We need the rate limiting for system processes, especially those which restart themselves automatically. Without this, the user would potentially get infinitely many apport dialogs. In theory we can check whether it is an application which has a .desktop file, but this check is very expensive (it needs to happen at the time of the crash, not at the time when the user says "report this").

So we might need to resort to some heuristics instead (looking at uid, $DISPLAY, etc.). Also, we should keep the property of not updating a crash report if the current one hasn't been shown by the UI yet, as a first line of defense.

Changed in apport (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Low
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

For a system process error, agreed, we need show that only once per session: showing it more times wouldn't leave users any wiser.

For statistical purposes, we could aggregate subsequent errors from the same process in the same session, and report them together after the first system process error in any later session. A drawback is that it might result in errors being reported days after they happened, so that statistics for past days would need recalculating.

Evan (ev) on 2012-11-01
tags: added: whoopsie-daisy
description: updated
Evan (ev) wrote :

Bumping this up to medium as the plan for 13.04 is to group system error reports together with the next application error report. So the concerns about showing too many dialogs should now be moot.

We should make sure we're sending a crash count for the number of times this crash appeared since the last dialog for it. Otherwise our counts will be skewed (as they are now to only three crashes per system) to not show multiple instances of the same system crash that occurred before the application crash dialog just shown.

Changed in apport:
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: New → Triaged
Changed in apport (Ubuntu):
importance: Low → Medium
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