Monday, March 15, 2010

"Take a deep breath. Stretch. Kick off your footwear..."

So, the word on the street is, Ubuntu installations currently cover about 10 million machines. That is a LOT of users. I am personally happy that we have such a large user base. In most cases it helps test development versions of the software, as well as giving us a very timely sense of when something inevitably goes wrong. However, there are still edge cases where users, whether by having had bad experiences or simple personality conflicts or even becoming overwhelmed by the release and update schedule of the software, tend to become resistant to answering our questions or remaining willing to test newer versions of the software for us. I can tell you, from experience, that I have those days too. I understand the sentiment. I've only just begun to hash through all of the bugs against the kernel for Ubuntu, and yes, there are quite a number that have not been touched by us in a VERY long time. I understand the frustration that some of you feel as a result of that, but I want to address some of that right now. These bugs, while stale, do NOT indicate a lack of work on the part of either the upstream maintainers nor the Ubuntu Kernel Team itself. It is also not an indication that the Kernel QA folks don't care. I would absolutely love to be able to work all of the kernel bugs and respond to each of them every day.

The truth is, with over 10 million potential users, in addition to around 10,000 open bugs, it is simply not possible for me to provide a 'high touch' level of interaction with all of those cases. This doesn't mean (as mentioned above) that work is not ongoing for those issues that I am not able to get to. The absolutely beautiful thing about Ubuntu, and specifically the Kernel team and upstream kernel maintainers, is that there is a great deal of amazing work going on outside the normal view of the end user. What I mean is, just because one must dig quite a bit in order to know what work is being completed to address a specific issue doesn't mean that there is no work occurring.

There are so many contributers to the main kernel that, for me to enumerate them, would undoubtedly see some number of brilliant people left out. The same is true for the Ubuntu Kernel Team. There are a vast number of people working on and identifying specific defects in the software, that for me to try to define what they do and when would be a serious disservice to them. These people are the cream of the crop, and by 'these people' I include all of the people who work on kernel development and maintenance. That there can be hardware enablement of new platforms and bug fix of old ones without the normal margin of regressions is amazing to me, and is a testament to how smart and thorough these people really are.

So asking for a specific page where a fix has been applied before you are willing to even test on a new version, or railing about your bug having 'only' been pinged by an automated script asking you to verify or collect logging is simply childish and unhelpful in the face of all of the work that goes on behind the scenes. Please consider all of these factors in addition to the Code of Conduct when responding on bugs. Most of the people working to help you get your issue resolved are community members as well.



P.S. Title courtesy of DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince 'Time to Chill'

"It is better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt." -- Silvan Engel


  1. i hate to be that jerk who's first comment is a pedantic one... but...

    i thought Mark Twain said that quote?

  2. furrycelt,
    You aren't being a jerk at all. From my search I found many people that this had been attributed to. I simply chose the one that I saw the least. :-P


    "It's been attributed to many persons, but seems to have its roots in the Bible:

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt . -- George Eliot
    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.-- Abraham Lincoln (also attr. Confucius)
    It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.-- Mark Twain (1835-1910)
    Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. -- Bible, 'Proverbs' 17:28.

    There are no citations for Lincoln or Twain. I have my doubts about Confucius."

    I've also seen an attribute to Socrates.


  3. I also appreciate this: