Older blog entries for cjwatson (starting at number 16)

Oh joy. Insomnia. I hate it when I can't shut my brain down for long enough to actually get some sleep. I don't know whether it's due to spending several hours triaging openssh bugs or to listening to Sarah McLachlan's "Full Of Grace" too many times.

mulix: If it's been published where you are, try the book of "Things my girlfriend and I have argued about". It's great fun.

MichaelCrawford: If I had received your bug report as a Debian bug report, I would have marked it invalid in just the same way that the Mozilla guys did. Here's why: the purpose of bug reports is to improve the software. Your bug report certainly does a lot of complaining, but there is nothing in it that comes anywhere close to helping the developers improve the software. Instead, it tells them how terrible they are, demoralizes them, and gives them no useful information that might help them resolve your complaint.

When you are submitting a bug report, no matter what the project, please follow these simple guidelines:

  • One bug report per problem.
  • Each bug report should contain enough information on how to reproduce the problem, or you should be willing to work with the developer to find a way to reproduce the problem. (Not every bug has a simple recipe, and that's OK.)
  • Each bug report should be resolvable: there should be something the developer can do to satisfy you that the problem is fixed. (In other words, "there is a problem somewhere, you have to fix it" is not an adequate bug report.)

Each project has its own guidelines, but I doubt there are many who would disagree with these. Michael, please understand that by submitting vague and unresolvable bug reports, no matter what their emotional content, you are not helping the community: you are hindering it by making its members waste time cleaning up bug reports that they have no realistic hope of ever resolving to your satisfaction. In this case, if you truly want to help, what you need to do instead is submit bug reports that say "Mozilla crashes on this page (URL) under these circumstances". Help the developers, otherwise there is nothing they can do but dismiss you as noise. And that helps no-one: not the community, not your wife, not you.

A lazy weekend; I watched videos and did a fair bit of hacking, including tagging debbugs 2.4 (only three years or so after 2.3 ...). Plus I finally wrote up the report for my new-maintainer applicant, which had gone too long without attention. My head is above water for a bit again. :)

I am so much looking forward to taking a week's holiday in a week's time. No particular plans, just a much-needed break.

Mmm. Good party at Vicky's last night, lots of beer, fun people. Took advantage of the end of daylight savings time to party until 2am and sleep from shortly after 1am.

OpenSSH 3.5p1 seems to more or less work. I should be able to upload the Debian package shortly. Then I need to get back and sort out the various people waiting on me for new-maintainer/sponsorship work.

Simon is a genius, as usual, and pterm is a sweet piece of work. xterm takes 9.5 seconds to run 'ls -l /dev' here; pterm clocks under half a second, and with pretty much all the features I want. It's rare that a piece of software is so good that I switch to it from the alternatives practically the moment I see it.

I deployed proper MIME support in the Debian BTS today. Mwahahaha. I think that counts as productive, despite relaxing for most of the day at my parents'; makes a change.

Yesterday I was invited onto the group that administers the Debian bug tracking system. I can't decide whether to be intimidated or excited. There's a great deal to do: my first couple of major projects look set to be integrating some of the existing QA interfaces to release-critical bug tracking, and developing a tool to help us edit spam out of bug histories.

Perhaps I should bite the bullet and take over the bug tracking system at work, just so that I can compare Debbugs to Bugzilla fairly. Then again, I already have twice as much to do there as I really want.

Excellent, more toys. A USB mouse - which was pretty much necessary, given the demise of my laptop's built-in one - and a USB mass-storage keyfob which I can put my secret keys on. I can feel the tinfoil hat settling already.

(It's certainly better than the fairly crappy state of my key security up to now, although you didn't hear me say that. Fortunately I've never had a laptop stolen so far, but it's probably only a matter of time.)

The w3m image extension

... rocks my world. On Debian, install the w3m-img package and it just works. I now have a "graphical" browser a lot lighter than Mozilla for my laptop - and, somehow, it works over ssh X11 forwarding too.

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