Ubuntu

Please remove broken reportbug from Ubuntu

Reported by Antony Gelberg on 2008-05-08
20
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
reportbug (Ubuntu)
Medium
Daniel Hahler
Nominated for Dapper by Antony Gelberg
Nominated for Feisty by Antony Gelberg
Nominated for Gutsy by Antony Gelberg
Nominated for Hardy by Antony Gelberg
Nominated for Intrepid by Antony Gelberg

Bug Description

Binary package hint: reportbug

Further to my comment in #36186, please remove reportbug frum Ubuntu as it is simply broken, which is never acceptable, but for a bug-reporting tool, is somewhere between ironic and disaster. If you read other comments and links in that bug, you'll see that I'm not the only person who requests this, but now I'm formalising the request. Thanks.

Related branches

Scott Beamer (angrykeyboarder) wrote :

I thought I'd asked for this eons ago in different bug reports.

Agreed. reportbug serves no purpose whatsoever. What's the point of having a package that doesn't work at all?

Not only does it not work, but it leads many to believe that it does (by it's very existence).

And how the Ubuntu users mailing list got into the code is a great mystery that I hope shall be solved someday.

But in the meantime, this package does not belong in the Ubuntu archive.

Please remove it in time for 8.04.1.

Please fix it, instead of removing it. A lot of us file legitimate bugs to debian with it.

Perhaps create a message about reportbug being deprecated for Ubuntu, and an offer to launch apport, or something, or to specify a bug tracker.

Lucas Nussbaum (lucas) wrote :

Another problem with removing it is that users that installed 8.04 and have it installed will continue to file bugs to Debian (see LP bug #229847). It's better to update it, make it display a message about filing bug to launchpad, but let people who know what they are doing use it to file bugs directly to Debian, like Sarah said.

Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn (zooko) wrote :

I already posted this message to https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/reportbug/+bug/123414 , but I am sufficiently angry about years and years passing with no improvement in this situation that I am going to repeat myself here:

I just tried to use reportbug 3.39ubuntu3 on Hardy, and it obscurely failed.

Scanning the bugs of the reportbug package in Hardy, it appears to me that what is going on is that Ubuntu developers use it to report bugs to Debian, but that it has never worked for Ubuntu users (I see some bug reports including ones that I contributed to from four years ago). This makes me angry that Ubuntu developers have decided to leave something lying around which is labelled as a tool that I can use to report bugs, so then I spend my precious time writing up bug reports for you, and then the tool wastes my bug reports. Don't you respect my time more than that? There is a simple solution: add one sentence to the package description which says "THIS IS NOT FOR USERS TO REPORT BUGS IN UBUNTU -- THIS IS USED ONLY BY UBUNTU DEVELOPERS TO REPORT BUGS IN DEBIAN.".

Now, something else that I have noticed is that over the last four or so years, many people have many times requested that Ubuntu stop distributing this "broken" reportbug which leads users to think that they can use it to report bugs and then silently wastes their bug reports. What happens every time is this: a user asks Ubuntu to stop distributing this broken tool which wastes their precious time, then some other people say "Oh, but we should *really* fix Ubuntu bug reporting this way or that way.", and then nothing gets done. The solution to this, too is simple: *first* fix the problem that reportbug is wasting people's time and their goodwill, by either removing it from Ubuntu or at the very least by adding the warning message to the package description as mentioned above. *Then* start thinking about how to fix various problems, such as the fact that old versions of reportbug are still distributed in older Ubuntu releases, and how to make a good reportbug-alike that works for Ubuntu, and so forth.

Got that? Do not reply to this message with talk about how to improve reportbug. Instead, add the aforementioned warning message or remove reportbug from Ubuntu. Then reply to this message talking about how to make a new improved one. Thank you.

Sarah, the fact that Ubuntu developers want to use it to file bugs in Debian is neither here nor there. It's broken, and most users aren't developers. By default, it doesn't file bugs to Debian on an Ubuntu system. Bugs can be filed in Debian in other ways, and developers should know enough to be able to install reportbug manually, if they want it.

Brian Murray (brian-murray) wrote :

The reportbug package also includes the tool querybts which is quite useful for establishing relationships between Ubuntu and Debian bug reports. It'd be unfortunate to have that removed.

auspex (auspex) wrote :

Then keep a package with querybts, and you can even call it reportbug if you want - but /usr/bin/reportbug has to go. As long as it's there, people will be sending bug reports to the ubuntu mailing lists, believing they're doing their part to improve the world, and ticking off the folks on the list.

It's just plain rude to stick a tool on a naive user's system, tell him it does something other than what it really does, but keep it around just because the real experts know how to work around it.

> but /usr/bin/reportbug has to go.
[8<]
> It's just plain rude to stick a tool on a naive user's system, tell him
> it does something other than what it really does, but keep it around
> just because the real experts know how to work around it.

Why not fix it, instead?

Sandro

--
Sandro Tosi (aka morph, Morpheus, matrixhasu)
My website: http://matrixhasu.altervista.org/
Me at Debian: http://wiki.debian.org/SandroTosi

Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn (zooko) wrote :

Argh!

Sandro: you have just, 25 minutes ago, begun the Nth iteration of this stupid process.

This package has been wasting the time of users for years now, perhaps since the first ever release of Ubuntu. Every time someone asks Ubuntu to stop shipping it on the grounds that not only does it fail to do something good, but it actively does something bad, then someone else says "Well, let's fix it instead!", then there follows a discussion about how to fix or replace it, which goes nowhere. Eventually, that the discussion dies off, and then a new release of Ubuntu comes out with the same stupid broken package in it.

Allow me to suggest a simple course of action which is sure to break this cycle.

Step 1: PLEASE JUST REMOVE THE DAMNED EXECUTABLE!

Step is estimated to take about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Then please proceed to begin the N+1th iteration of a discussion about how to fix or replace it.

Thank you.

Sandro Tosi (morph-debian) wrote :

On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 15:28, Zooko O'Whielacronx <email address hidden> wrote:
> Argh!
>
> Sandro: you have just, 25 minutes ago, begun the Nth iteration of this
> stupid process.

The only stupid thing here is removing a useful package instead of fixing it.

Sandro

--
Sandro Tosi (aka morph, Morpheus, matrixhasu)
My website: http://matrixhasu.altervista.org/
Me at Debian: http://wiki.debian.org/SandroTosi

Sandro, I don't think your comments are especially helpful, sort of standing at the side of the discussion sniping.

The package is broken, hence not useful, without specific developer knowledge that most users don't have. That is the point. Fixing it would be a good idea (duh!), but while it's being fixed (and especially given that it's /not/ being fixed), then it should be removed.

Developers and other advanced users who require it know where to get it, and how to install and configure it so that it works for them. They are not the ones who will fall foul of the broken-ness. I didn't think Ubuntu was a distribution that was geared towards this sort of user.

Zooko summed it up well enough, are any Ubuntu release-team developers reading this?

Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn (zooko) wrote :

Sandro:

I used a strong word ("stupid"), but I didn't mean it to apply to you. I assume that you are just now joining this conversation and are not aware that we've been going round and round on this for years (literally, years -- I first opened a bug report which was a predecessor to this bug report, since launchpad didn't exist back then, years ago).

The process itself is clearly pathological. So far, no Ubuntu person has demonstrated the authority and decisiveness to simply remove the broken, harmful component while we work on fixing, replacing, or improving it. It is rather discouraging.

Sandro Tosi (morph-debian) wrote :

> Zooko summed it up well enough, are any Ubuntu release-team developers
> reading this?

Don't hope for any of them to look at it and ne pro-active: contact
them and ask for its removal. Too much time has been wasted (this
email thread come to me from Jul 6 on) talking instead of doing.

Sandro

--
Sandro Tosi (aka morph, Morpheus, matrixhasu)
My website: http://matrixhasu.altervista.org/
Me at Debian: http://wiki.debian.org/SandroTosi

Sandro Tosi (morph-debian) wrote :

> I used a strong word ("stupid"), but I didn't mean it to apply to you.

I didn't take that as personal :)

> The process itself is clearly pathological. So far, no Ubuntu person
> has demonstrated the authority and decisiveness to simply remove the
> broken, harmful component while we work on fixing, replacing, or
> improving it. It is rather discouraging.

I don't know the organization in Ubuntu, but you have to escalate this
issue to higher level than "mare" developers: some sort of leader,
tech committee, release managers or so.

--
Sandro Tosi (aka morph, Morpheus, matrixhasu)
My website: http://matrixhasu.altervista.org/
Me at Debian: http://wiki.debian.org/SandroTosi

Lucas Nussbaum (lucas) wrote :

FWIW, I agree with Sarah Hobbs and Brian Murray wrote above. I don't think reportbug should be removed.
- it's useful to Ubuntu developers.
- removing it won't solve the problem for users who already have it installed.

so it should be "fixed", by adding a message that says that it mustn't be used to report bugs against Ubuntu.
possible pseudo-code:
if not file.exists?("$HOME/.i_really_want_to_use_reportbug")
    print("blurb about reportbug not being useful for reporting bugs in Ubuntu, and link to LP")
    exit(1)
endif

Doesn't sound like rocket science.

Lucas,

It's useful to developers, who are roughly what percentage of the Ubuntu user-base? And who surely know how to manually install a package from Debian? Besides surely, if they want to report a Debian bug, can't they just use reportbug from their Debian install?

Besides, IT IS BROKEN AS SHIPPED. Why do people keep making excuses, as if it's okay to ship broken software as a few developers know what to do with it? If someone writes a patch that fixes it, then fine. Nobody has. So on that basis, it should be removed. If someone writes an acceptable patch for Ubuntu, and the maintainers apply it, then naturally it should be readmitted.

Antony

auspex (auspex) wrote :

I'm frankly astounded at Santo's statement that we need to contact somebody _else_ to get this fixed. If that's the situation, what on earth is even the point of having Launchpad! THIS is where solutions are supposed to be discussed and found.

I, of course, agree with Antony. It's simply not true, Lucas, that "bugreport", the executable, is useful - because it doesn't actually send bug reports anywhere. Sure it can help gather the needed info - but that doesn't have to be the bugreport executable.

Sandro Tosi (morph-debian) wrote :

On Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 16:12, auspex <email address hidden> wrote:
> I'm frankly astounded at Santo's statement that we need to contact

I think you're referring to me (it would be pleasant to have it
spelled correctly)

> somebody _else_ to get this fixed. If that's the situation, what on
> earth is even the point of having Launchpad! THIS is where solutions
> are supposed to be discussed and found.

Sure, and what solution have you found? Oh, yeah, nothing... if you
believe that removal is the solution, then follow it up.

Are you able to remove the package? do it. is anybody at ubuntu
listening here able to remove it? do it. If not, contact someone that
can. THIS is a solution, and a plan to implement it. Simply keep
looping won't solve it.

Sandro

--
Sandro Tosi (aka morph, Morpheus, matrixhasu)
My website: http://matrixhasu.altervista.org/
Me at Debian: http://wiki.debian.org/SandroTosi

Emilio Pozuelo Monfort (pochu) wrote :

To get the package removed, ubuntu-archive needs to be subscribed. They are the
ones who can remove the package, and who have the last word on the subject.

I agree ideally reportbug should be extended to work with Launchpad, but until
someone does that work, I think there's no sense in having it sending bugs to a
users mailing list.

On the other hand, the patch to send bugs to the mailing list could be reverted,
and require some environment variable or file in $HOME or whatever in order to
send bugs to Debian (to avoid Ubuntu bugs being wrongly sent to Debian), like
Lucas has proposed.

Daniel Hahler (blueyed) wrote :

I will change reportbug, so that it only works with bts=debian and add instructions/notes in the package description and error message (in case of bts=ubuntu), referring to "ubuntu-bug" and mentioning that it's only useful for reporting bugs to Debian (in case you know what you are doing).
As far as I can see, this seems to be the best solution for now - please answer back, in case I'm missing something.

Changed in reportbug:
assignee: nobody → blueyed
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: New → In Progress
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :
Download full text (4.9 KiB)

This bug was fixed in the package reportbug - 3.47ubuntu1

---------------
reportbug (3.47ubuntu1) jaunty; urgency=low

  * Merge from debian unstable, remaining changes:
    - Make reportbug stop working for bts=ubuntu and refer to
      "ubuntu-bug" instead (LP: #228183, #123414)
    - reportbug: exit with an error, if bts=ubuntu (or unconfigured)
    - debian/control: add prominent note to package description

reportbug (3.47) unstable; urgency=low

  * reportbuglib/reportbug_ui_text.py
    - added filter for bugs reports, removing all the additional info not
      needed; thanks to Ryo Igarashi for the report; Closes: #504424

reportbug (3.46) unstable; urgency=low

  * debian/control
    - updated my email address
  * reportbuglib/reportbug_ui_text.py
    - convert BTS output from UTF-8 to local encoding; thanks to Mark Hobley,
      Gregor Herrmann and Klaus Ethgen for the bug reports and to Vincent
      Fourmond for the patch; Closes: #497641, #496159, #504005

reportbug (3.45) unstable; urgency=low

  * reportbuglib/reportbug_ui_urwid.py
    - added get_password function; thanks to Torsten Wiebke and Jan Muszynski
      for the reports; Closes: #494509, #491328
  * reportbuglib/debianbts.py
    - added removal of cruft from BTS parsed page; thanks to Davide Prina, Dan
      Greene and Paul Menzel for the reports; Closes: #494545, #495018, #495050

reportbug (3.44) unstable; urgency=medium

  [ Chris Lawrence ]
  * reportbug
    + Yet another character set issue fix. (Closes: #492240)

  [ Sandro Tosi ]
  * debian/control
    - changed build-dep-indep from python-dev to python
    - bump required Python version to >= 2.5; thanks to Gilles Sadowski for
      the report; Closes: #492490 (RC bug, hence urgency set to medium)

reportbug (3.43) unstable; urgency=medium

  [ Ben Finney ]
  * reportbuglib/reportbug_ui_urwid.py
    + Ensure 'spawn_editor' is available for 'urwid' interface
      (closes: #488928).

  [ Sandro Tosi ]
  * reportbuglib/reportbug.py, reportbug
    - reports status of suggested packages; thanks to Ari Pollak for the
      report; Closes: #441056
  * reportbug
    - fixed packages list generation for a file search if run not in a tty (or
      via --template); thanks to Dan Jacobson for the report; Closes: #489515
    - for serious bugs, clearly states that "unknown" section downgrades to
      normal; thanks to Michael Meskes for the report; Closes: #362947
    - --template now includes "Package-specific info"; thanks to Marc Haber
      for the report; Closes: #396899
  * reportbuglib/reportbug.py
    - show system information only if the bug is not against wnpp; thanks to
      Francois Marier for the report; Closes: #448806
    - reinforce that RM bugs for testing are for testing only; thanks to
      Adeodato Simó for the report; Closes: #491013
  * README.Users
    - added how to usertag a bug at submit-time
  * TODO
    - removed CVS location (outdated and now supported with Vcs-Svn in
      debian/control)
    - removed item for migration to python-btsutils, filed a bug instead:
      #490548
  * debian/copyright
    - shortened Format-Specification, removing the GET parameter on the URL
      (lintian war...

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Changed in reportbug:
status: In Progress → Fix Released
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