Archive for the ‘rant’ Category

debian-administration.org and anonymous comments

Monday, November 20th, 2006

So I saw this post at http://www.debian-administration.org/

Now the post itself is not very clueful, but since the site’s webmaster is the only DD I happen to know in meatspace I thought I might add a comment to it. And there came the trouble, one after another:


  1. If you block the site’s cookies, you can’t comment.
  2. If you don’t block the cookies but only post a link to this page, it’ll get caught by the spam filter. Why a link to an official Debian package page should get caught by the spam filter of a Debian-related website is a complete mystery to me.
  3. If you try again, the website gently reminds you that you are a spammer now. And no, it won’t let you post another comment on the site, evar.
  4. Unless you create an account, of course.

Ironically, the original post was made anonymously. And not, I can’t be bothered to open up yet another account for yet another website.

Anyways, to give you the clue: Instead of using that dirrrty dirrrty script the article’s author has provided, you could simply apt-get install ifrename. Users of etch or unstable might want to use aptitude instead of apt-get, of course.


Ubuntu Edgy sux

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

X doesn’t recognise the laptop’s built-in display.

Safe graphics mode doesn’t work, either. 

The new bootslpash screen b0rks your computer.

Many Ubuntu devs seem to have disappeared.

Meanwhile Ubuntu keeps drowning in bug reports. That’s somewhat to be expected after a release, but one could also expect that bug reports get dealt with more quickly. I know many of the reports are upstream bugs, but the lack of acknowledgement of bug reports from the devs frutrates me. I’m sitting there trying to do proper triage for the bug report I’m involved in, and nothing happens.

This really shows the limits of a "semi-fork" like Ubuntu. Judging the number of Canonical employees and the current size of the developer community (including volunteer helpers), Ubuntu is simply not able to cope with their own success.

If you want to be a big player in the Linux distribution game, re-packaging Debian and adding some bling is not enough. You’ll have to develop significant in-house expertise on the software you are distributing if you don’t want to depend on the next upstream release to fix your users’ bugs. Redhat, SUSE/Novell, Debian have that. Other big players like Mandriva probably have it, as well. Ubuntu isn’t right there yet.

Ubuntu used to hype their bugsquad and their bug days. However, too many "unpopular" bugs that no-one wants to triage nor investigate still fall through the net. Take the three bugs I mentioned above. None of them are critical on their own. Added together however, they make the system unusable and have the potential of sending manymany users running aways after their first steps with GNU/Linux.

If Ubuntu really wants to do more things better than all the other distros, dealing with bugs should be one of their prime topics. A bug squad that actually looks at every reported bug and triages it properly instead of letting it rot in the bts would be a big advantage compared to other big distros. However, that requires significantly more developer power than Ubuntu has got at the moment.

And btw: Next time, please don’t disappear to conferences shortly after a release.