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Re: Bug#422085: Better terminal emulator patch

Hi Bastian,

On Tue, Dec 18, 2007 at 12:47:39AM +0100, Bastian Venthur wrote:
> David Nusinow wrote:
> > Hi Bastian,
> > 
> > On Sun, Dec 16, 2007 at 11:39:03PM +0100, Bastian Venthur wrote:
> >> Hi David,
> >>
> >> thanks for your effort and the patches. Personally, I don't like the
> >> idea of a terminal popping up asking the user questions when a user uses
> >> a GUI application. 
> > 
> > Because the scripts can be interactive, I see no other way.
> > 
> >> Since the output of the bugscripts stuff is AFAIK
> >> still not mandatory for bugreports, I ask you do not upload this patch
> >> as NMU.
> > 
> > May I ask why not? This is a really important feature for many developers
> > and we'd like to see it in ASAP. 
> > 
> >  - David Nusinow
> > 
> Since I received a terrifying amount insults(!) via mail for not
> implementing this feature request after my last blog entry, where I
> asked for help developing rng, I'd like to make my position about this
> issue clear.
> Why was I opposed to implement this.
> 1. I *personally* hated that some packages sent a *huge* amount of
> unrelated info with every bugreport for this package, even if it's not
> meaningful for this bugreport. I made a quick check against my favorite
> package with a very long output and thought (and still think) that this
> info is not even relevant for the majority of bugreports of this
> package. So I thought it was not too much to ask, to write the reporter
> a friendly mail to post the output of this script, if it's really needed.

It is a great deal to ask when you've got a lot to do. You yourself are
busy with real life, so much so that you're asking for help with rng. Well,
the rest of us are plenty busy too, and these scripts can be a significant
time saver for all of us, both developers and users. Refusing to support
them is simply callous.

Furthermore, your implementation allows the user to trivially delete all
this information in their email client if they're annoyed by it, so this is
a non-issue in rng.

> 2. I *personally* was very annoyed by packages with very long presubj
> text, which I doubt anyone reads anyway. Since I don't want rng to be
> annoying to the users, I decided to leave that feature away. An
> implementation of this feature would mean to pop up a window with some
> text the user should read before continuing to report the bug. I don't
> like popups and don't want rng to make use of them.

I haven't implemented presubj text in my patch, so this is a non-issue for
that specifically.

> 3. I'm definitely opposed to a feature which will pop up a *terminal*
> where a user has to do something before he can proceed reporting a bug.
> Sorry, but this won't happen in rng. I might consider such a thing if it
> could be scripted to use QT or even GTK but a terminal popping up in a
> GUI application is a no-go for me, sorry.

For any script that is non-interactive the terminal will appear and then
disappear once the script is done running. On my system it's barely
noticeable. One thing that I'd be open to is modifying the standard so that
scripts put something like #BUG_INTERACTIVE in the interactive scripts. We
could trivially grep for this phrase, launch a terminal in this one case,
or just run the script and get the output directly if this comment is
absent. I don't know of any interactive bug scripts that currently exist,
so this should be a fairly simple thing to require if people are willing
(I've CC'ed -devel for opinions on this).

> 4. I was *personally* very annoyed by some of the reactions on this
> bugreport. Since we're all volunteers and stuff and this feature is
> maybe a nice-to-have but definitely not a must-have, I decided to put
> this issue very low on my to do list.
> However, I agree that the stuff in /usr/share/bug isn't completely
> useless. The opposite is true, it makes the life of maintainers easier
> and rng should make use of it where possible.
> So what can we do now? Maybe we can start all over and discuss this
> issue in a more friendly and constructive way?
> Here's my offer: rng will support bugscripts, but it will not feature a
> terminal popping up asking a user questions. I'm developing a GUI
> application and a popping up terminal is not very GUI'ish for me. What
> can we do about this? Is there a way to implement this?

I've offered a partial solution for the terminal above. I think that
neutering the interactive scripts is a horrific idea though. Users who can
report bugs can handle having a terminal ask them a question or two. 

One alternate method is to require interactive scripts to use debconf,
which should be a good middle ground because they've already used it during
the install. We could check what frontend debconf is using, and if it
requires a terminal we pop one up and if not then just let the gtk frontend
do its thing. Again, this would be something other developers would have to
agree to, but I think this is actually a better way to handle these sorts
of scripts now that debconf is our standard for interaction.

> Supporting presubj might be okay too, but I don't want rng to be
> annoying. Popups are annoying and having to read the same stuff again
> and again when reporting multiple times on the same package is annoying
> too. Maybe rng could spawn a pop up with a checkbox "Don't show this
> text again when reporting a bug against this package"? Maybe we could
> have an option in the (not yet implemented) preferences window where we
> could suppress those messages completely?

That'd be a fine option. I don't know how you'd want to handle storing
preferences, but it's probably fairly trivial. I'd be happy to work on that

> And please, don't use abusive language or even insults when contacting
> me about this issue. My rng-time is currently very limited and my
> motivation to work especially on this issue is already very low. We're
> speaking here about a fully optional feature. Providing the output of
> some scripts or having to read a presubj is helpful, but *not* mandatory
> when reporting a bug. So please, Be nice!

I've been nice, polite, and patient, so please stop implying that I've been
otherwise. Rather than hurl insults I wrote, tested, and improved the patch
for this. Several people have been interested in having this escalated to
the tech-ctte, which I am willing to do, at which point it will no longer
be a fully optional feature. I don't want to take this to the tech-ctte,
but this issue really is that important. You might consider this an
optional feature, but many of us do not. As for your limited time, I repeat
my offer to upload this fix and ensure that it works, so you don't have to
spend any time on it.

rng is a nice program and you should be very proud of it. The codebase that
I looked at is very clean and lovely to hack on. I think it's important to
have it available to our users, and I personally like using it more than
reportbug. But to cripple it out of spite does both it and you a

 - David Nusinow

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