I have been thinking about the very blunt comments left by YHVH last week, and after a long episode of retrospection, I’m thinking I need to change the way I do business on this blog.
I will confess to a rather casual attitude regarding errors and flukes in the software I use. I casually mention that this doesn’t work, or casually say that this doesn’t do what it ought to do, or casually blather endlessly about a distro that doesn’t run on hardware that is considered antique any standard.
And that’s okay — this is my space on teh Internets to discuss whatever I like, and if you don’t like the way I do it, or what I have to say, you can close the tab (or the window, if you’re still using IE6 ).
But let’s look back for a moment. How many bug reports have I filed, honestly? None, or at least not in a very long time.
How many have I confirmed? None, although I might have tacked a note on to one or two, last spring.
How many times have I submitted a bug report for a distro I’ve “reviewed” — particularly in the last few months? None. Ever.
Really, I’ve mentioned plenty of problems here, and some of them I’ve belabored for months. I’ve been wondering about that bizarre tty blackout that’s been happening since the Gutsy alphas, but I’ve never done anything about it. I’ve talked about it, even mentioned filing a bug report, but never did.
That’s where the sloppiness factor really hits a logarithmic sweep. Because just blabbing about it doesn’t do much to benefit the community or development or to serve as a (gasp!) role model for newcomers. I hope no one’s first brush with Ubuntu is through this blog, because up until now, it seems like the way errors or mistakes are handled is by whining about them in a second-rate blog somewhere!
So really, YHVH was right. I’m no better than the dump-and-run one-post first-time Ubuntu flamers who tickle their computers by installing it once, then dashing off a disappointed note in the forums about how Linux is doomed, only to disappear forever to their tiny self-important corner of the planet.
And I really, really don’t want to be like those losers.
So here are the new house rules:
- Any bug, error or misbehavior for any software, regardless of the distro, will be accompanied by a link to a bug report. No matter how small or inconsequential it seems, I won’t complain about anything unless I can track it to a known and documented report about it.
- Furthermore, if no bug report exists, I’ll file one. This might mean adopting new tracker accounts for distros I only care about obliquely, but this is the way the system works. It’s not enough to yammer endlessly about what does or doesn’t do right by me, if I’m not willing to work back up the food chain and help make things better.
- A link to a workaround, forum thread or howto will be acceptable, but only if a link to a bug report isn’t practical, possible or necessary. This is sort of a last-ditch, fix-it-yourself measure that I don’t consider a good substitute, but there will be times when this is necessary.
I’m a little ashamed that after more than a year of keeping notes on Ubuntu and Linux, I’ve done little to contribute to fixing it, aside from jailing spam posts on the forums. I think YHVH was probably right: I could do a little more to be part of the solution, instead of just the precipitate.