Open source, closed process
I just tried to report a bug to Ubuntu. Nothing major, just a missing package dependency: aptitude installed libnids-dev for me without installing libpcap-dev. My configure script then insists that nids.h was not found, whereas it is in fact clearly visible in /usr/include/nids.h. Turns out the test program fails because nids.h #includes pcap.h, which is not installed. Whoops!
OK, let’s do the Right Thing for a change: don’t just ignore it, report it. How do I report a Ubuntu bug? Aha, it’s at launchpad.net. Search for nids: nope, none of the 16 bugs listed is this one. OK, time to report a new bug.
This is where the problems go from straightforward to too difficult. To report a bug, I need to log in to launchpad. To log in, I need to create an account (it waffles on about OpenID, but it won’t accept my wordpress OpenID as a login). And to create an account, I need to solve a captcha. That is, one of those nasty eyesight tests.
I can’t do it. This one is nastier than ever.
Cycle the thing a few times, they’re all as bad. Try the audio version, but it’s silent (this is on a ubuntu machine). Looks like I can’t report a bug! 😮
I look on freenode, find #ubuntu-devel. Try asking there:
Just trying to report a bug (missing packaging dependency), but I can’t because I can’t even guess the launchpad captcha
The bug is, libnids-dev requires pcap-dev as a dependency
After a few minutes silence, start to blog this. But a few minutes more and someone replies:
first, I think you meant “libpcap-dev” instead of “pcap-dev”;
second, both these packages come unchanged from Debian, so it’s better to report this bug to bugs.debian.org
Ok, that looks like someone who knows what he’s talking about. Try a bug report to Debian. This fortunately turns out to be a much simpler process: their bug reporting site mentions a “reportbug” tool I can install with apt, and which appears to work nicely.
Ubuntu must be effectively in a bubble isolated from the big bad world!