As many of you have experienced this week, I have begun a (somewhat) aggressive review of old bugs for the Kernel package. In some cases bugs are being marked Invalid or Won’t Fix, and I am sure some of you will take issue with that. I’d like to explain some of the rationale behind these decisions and, hopefully, allay the majority of your fears concerning these issues.
First, I am not attempting to lessen the difficulty of any of these reported issues. I am marking the majority of the bugs Invalid due to the overwhelming responses of reporters having ‘similar’ issues. This has resulted in a watering down of the issue as reported by the Original Reporter. I do not wish to convey the notion that those of you encountering those issues are not important, quite the opposite. I am simply wishing to close an issue that is not really able to be solved and asking those of you experiencing issues of a similar nature in unique bugs of your own. This empowers me as a triager to drill down to individual causes of your issue and get that information in front of the team as opposed to trying to understand a variety of, possibly unrelated, issues from a multitude of reporters.
In some cases, you will see the Invalid status being applied to bugs that are very old. In these cases my preference is for affected users to, again, submit me a new bug with all of the relevant information. This gives me all of the benefits I have outlined above in addition to giving us brand new evidence of an issue in the current development release and will give the team a chance to take a fresh look at a longstanding issue.
There are also those bugs that have been Fix Released at some point in the past due to updates to a kernel. Well meaning reporters who experience a seemingly similar issue have, in the past, reopened these under an incorrect status and they have been lost in the shuffle of thousands of other issues. Let me say right now that it is not our policy to reopen Fixed bugs and I consider it a major no-no. To those of you I fuss at for doing this, I apologize in advance.
Some of you will have seen bugs that are set to Won’t Fix. These are issues that are (once again, in most cases) being defined as hardware faults, BIOS issues or unrelated software configuration problems and cannot be fixed by changes in the kernel. In these cases, they are being marked Won’t Fix not our of a desire to keep from actually fixing an issue but in an effort to allow those invested in a product to take the opportunity to solve the problem in the correct location.
I speak from an experience around the team when I say that we would love to solve all of the issues presented to us. The reality is that we are able to take time on very few reported issues directly. The vast majority of fixes come through upstream commits or via new drivers provided by third parties.
To those of you who get annoyed when it seems that all I ever say on a bug is, “Is this still a problem in ” all I can do is shrug. Given the avenues open to us whereby a possible fix could come, I can only ask in that way. Please understand, I’d prefer there were some easier way. Thanks for your patience as the team and I work to make this one of the easiest to use distributions while supporting the most hardware possible.
Finally, I’d like to say that, with such a broad install base and with such a large number of legacy devices available in the wild, there will be some cases where our answer to whether we will be able to support your specific device may end up being “No”. Please forgive me in those instances when I must be the bearer of bad news.
Thank you to all of you who help to triage bugs, update wiki pages and attend learning events put out by the Community team. With all of your help we can continue to improve our chosen operating system and make it more useful to those who would be free.