Comment 0 for bug 441686

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Binary package hint: aptdaemon

While trying to install an application in the Ubuntu Software Center, an error alert appeared with this wording:

    Task cannot be monitored or controlled

    The connection to the daemon was lost.
    Most likely the background daemon crashed
    _
    \/ Details
    It seems that the daemon died.

                                  ( OK )

xprop suggests that this alert belongs to software-center, but bug 438797 shows the same alert also appearing with update-manager, so I guess the alert is produced by aptdaemon. (If not, please move this report.) This bug report is not about any particular case when the alert appears, it is about the alert itself.

The alert does not satisfy any of the requirements of a good error message: it does not say what went wrong, it does not explain why it went wrong, and it does not say how to fix or work around the problem. It also uses the words "daemon", "crashed", and "died", none of which should appear in interfaces intended for ordinary people.

Unfortunately, because of the first problem (it doesn't say what went wrong), and because the case where it appeared for me is different from bug 438797, I can't yet give a good suggestion on how to redesign the alert. Answers to these questions would help me:
1. Why does the alert appear? Is it always a bug in aptdaemon, or might it appear for other reasons?
2. Does aptdaemon know what it was trying to do (e.g. install the "Epiphany Web Browser" application, or update the "initramfs-tools" package) when the problem occurred? If not, what would it take for it to become smart enough to know this?
3. If "the daemon died", how does it display the alert? Has it restarted?
4. Would trying the same transaction automatically help? If not, what would?