Main stream Ubuntu – bug reporting users that aren’t packagers

As Ubuntu becomes more mainstream, and there are more desktop users showing up thanks to its ease of use, and hardware partnerships like Dell (I hope their sales go well), Ubuntu is going to have to rock hard when it comes to software support as well as hardware support (for workstations and laptops).

Today, I was looking for video podcasting software on Linux. PenguinTV came out tops, and I’ve never really got Democracy TV to work the way I wanted. Stable version 3.0 is out, and there are quite a number of fixes since 2.80 (5 releases to 3.0). Feisty DEBs on the website are available, but they’re i386 only, and I opted to go via the apt-get, Ubuntu way (okay, Debian way). I got version 2.80 and I thought I’d bug report it: #119262. All in hopes of a newer version. Within the hour, my request got rejected:

Thanks you for your bug report. We can find this out via with a lot of extra information – there’s no point reporting an update bug unless you actually plan to do the merge, attach the debdiff, and subscribe ubuntu-universe-sponsors. However, if you would like to help fix this bug, please come help us.

Now, I’m your average, and typical Ubuntu user. I just expect things to work. I’d like software thats new, and at the latest release. I am your typical Dell purchaser. I have no interest in merging, attaching a debdiff, and getting on yet another mailing list.

I don’t blame the person closing the bug report, because thats what I would have possibly done when I was futzing with Fedora packages and actively doing volunteer distribution development. However, this doesn’t bode well to Bug #1 being fixed anytime soon – PCs for sale do include free software like Ubuntu, the marketing that it has amazing features and benefits are known to quite a lot of folk, but its not nearly as user friendly, yet. Let time pass?

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  1. Matt Palmer says:

    In this case, I don’t think that “subscribe ubuntu-universe-sponsors” is instructing you to join a mailing list, but rather to add a certain group to the bug report so they know it’s on their todo list.

    I completely agree with you, though, that you’re going to get a lot of confused and annoyed users if they start reporting bugs in launchpad (either directly or, far more likely, through some desktop tool). It’s down to a difference in expectations between bug reporter and developer, a kind of “impedence mismatch”. The trouble is that it cuts both ways — if developers assume a complete “newbie grade” for all bug reports, people like you and me get frustrated because we’re being told which icon to click on to minimise a window. However, when the developers assume a certain level of familiarity and that expectation is unfounded, you get confused, frustrated users and blog posts like this.

    The only solutions I can think of are to either tier the bug reporting system (a la helpdesk systems) or to have some sort of “clue level” indicator, possibly provided by some sort of neural implant. (grin)

  2. Jerome G. says:

    The most appropriate response to the bug report would be to confirm it, but tag its importance as a wishlist.

  3. byte says:

    Thanks for noting that on the bug report Jerome

  4. Alex Cockell says:


    Speaking as someone who’s worked in 2nd line support, I would say that this issue, if it’s causing an end-user to not be able to use an app.. it’s still an Incident.