I think I'm going to blog about Ubuntu bugs I encounter during my day. Don't get me wrong—I love Ubuntu and haven't seen a better OS yet. But it has bugs.
Why blog and not report them to Launchpad? Many reasons: producing good bug reports is hard work; bugs rarely show up alone, and if I start filing one, I'll forget details about the others; sometimes it's unclear whether something is or is not a bug until you've written it down and looked at it; Launchpad is slow while previewing a blog post on the local machine is fast.
This is one of those long and rambling posts that you can skip without feeling guilty. ;-)
Things I did today:
- I enabled my dual-head screen and had to restart compiz to avoid bug 317431.
- After work I tried to switch to single-screen mode again and X promptly crashed—bug 298226.
- When X restarted it picked a fugly stretched 1024x768 mode that looks very bad on my 1280x800 widescreen panel—because this was the only common mode between the internal panel and the external 1280x1024 LCD.
- I used Ctrl+Alt+Backspace after pulling the VGA cable as a quick way to restart GDM with a saner resolution. I wonder what I'll do in Jaunty where Ctrl+Alt+Backspace is disabled by default. (BTW I agree with that decision, having accidentally pressed Ctrl+Alt+Backspace on several painful occasions.)
- I suspended my laptop and put it in my backpack, then went home.
- At home I tried to resume. The laptop suspended again immediately after waking up.
- When I woke it up again, it did not accept my fingerprint (this often happens, I don't particularly mind—it's difficult to swipe the finger precisely).
- I then typed my password, pressed Enter—and then gnome-screensaver spent an unreasonably long time verifying my password (this I do mind).
- While it was verifying the password suddenly the GNOME panel showed up on top of the gnome-screensaver, with two new notification bubbles: one was the usual post-upgrade reboot required, and the other was a typical post-upgrade informational notice (one about refreshing ALSA configuration presets—I haven't seen it before). The interesting thing is that I don't remember running apt-get upgrade today, and /var/log/dpkg.log confirms I last upgraded things yesterday at noon.
- I could not take a screenshot of the bizarreness described in step 3, but that's reasonable—the desktop was still locked. So I took a (crappy) picture with my cell phone (and now I'm too lazy to upload it—but I have proof! proof!).
- After 30 seconds or so gnome-screensaver finally timed out, the GNOME panel disappeared, and I got a new fresh screensaver unlock dialog. This time it worked.
- Just after unlocking the screen I saw a GNOME keyring prompting for my keyring password to enable Network Manager to get the WPA passphrase needed to log in.
- It's the same as my login password. Shouldn't some PAM magic I recently read about in Ubuntu mailing lists unlock that keyring for me automatically on login? Oh, right, I log in using my fingerprint, not my password. Darn.
Now I feel like I should report item #3 (and #13) as a wishlist, item #6 as a bug (there's probably one open, with a bunch of duplicates, already), #8 as a bug (but that would be useless—I've no recipe for replicating that), #9 as a bug (again, how can I replicate?)—or, rather two bugs (why did the informational notices got delayed by a day?). Maybe three bugs: the untitled (four bugs!) window with the update information says
Refresh Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) configuration presets
New Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) configuration presets have been added. Please execute the asoundconf(1) set-default-card macro in a Terminal now to refresh your user's configuration presets. You may accomplish this task by executing the following command in a Terminal: asoundconf set-default-card
which reads like gibberish to any nontechnical person (and many technical persons too, I think).
Let's talk more about this notification: the first thought that comes into the mind of a technical person is: if you know what command I should run in a terminal, why don't you run it yourself, you stupid machine? The answer is “because that's not the complete command that you need to run”:
$ asoundconf set-default-card You have omitted a necessary parameter. Please see the output from `asoundconf list`, and use one of those sound card(s) as the parameter.
Okay, I'll bite
$ asoundconf list Names of available sound cards: Intel
There's only one card. Why isn't it selected as default automatically, without forcing me to jump through hoops in a terminal? Think of the children (or, better, your mother)!
But now I remember that Pulseaudio is supposed to be the default ALSA card. What will happen if I select Intel here? Will it break Pulseaudio? Oh dear, I've no idea. I'm afraid to do anything now.
I think I will put on my regular-user-glasses and look at that dialog again:
gibberish gibberish gibberish
Okay, I hit the only button available—close. I'm done here. Sound appears to continue to work fine without me doing anything. Why was that dialog necessary? Just get rid of it.
I'm sorry. I did not intend this to become a rant. I wanted to make a list of reportable bugs that I could review later and file properly (or have helpful people look up and send me via email—this has happened before, and I was surprised and grateful).