Monthly Archives: October 2012

Help Dolphin by triaging bugs!

This blog post is for you if:

  • ¬†you want to help to improve Dolphin, no matter if you have programming skills or not,
  • you want to know more about how quality assurance in a free software project works,
  • you’ve always wanted to contribute to KDE, but could not find a good place to get started.

Like every software project, Dolphin unfortunately has bugs. Bug reports are filed by users at bugs.kde.org, then we (the developers) read the reports and fix the bugs, and everyone is happy, right? Well, it’s not quite that easy.

Carefully reading a single bug report, including all comments, extracting all relevant information, and trying to reproduce and then analyze the bug usually takes quite a bit of time. It gets worse if a report is incomplete, i.e., if important information is missing, or if the bug just cannot be reproduced on the developer’s machine for some reason. Now consider how many open bug reports there are (currently 305 for Dolphin, not even mentioning wishes), that new bug reports are filed every day, and that lots of comments are added to the existing reports. Maybe you start realizing why we spend a considerable amount of time managing bug reports instead of fixing bugs, and why we are nonetheless far from being able to give every bug report the attention that it deserves.

To make working with the bug database easier and more satisfactory for everyone (users, developers, and also potential new contributors), I’m trying to revive the Bugsquad effort and organise a joint bug triaging event. The goal is to go through all Dolphin bug reports and improve their quality by

  • making sure that all important information is in the report and that the summary is meaningful,
  • assigning all Dolphin reports to the right components (right now, most reports are in the ‘general’ component),
  • marking bugs that can be reliably reproduced with the ‘reproduceable’ keyword,
  • closing bug reports that are not valid any more, and
  • requesting additional information from bug reporters if necessary.

It’s very easy to take part: just make sure that you have KDE 4.9.2 (a 4.9 or master branch checkout is fine as well), head to the wiki page on Techbase, read the instructions carefully, pick a batch of 5 bugs, go through them one by one and check if anything about the report can be improved. Always be friendly when you add a comment – keep in mind that the bug reporters have also sacrificed some of their free time to make Dolphin
better. Ask any questions in the forum thread that I have created for this purpose. I’ll check the forum regularly and try to help (please use this forum thread only for bug triaging-related questions, for nothing else, in particular not for reporting bugs). I don’t use IRC much myself, but you might also be able to find people who can give advice in the #kde-bugs channel (which is also strictly for triaging-related discussions only).

You’ll obviously need a bugs.kde.org account and ideally a KDE identity account, which works both for the wiki and the forum. Unless the permissions of your bugs.kde.org account have been upgraded, you can only add comments and not make any other changes (like changing the component or the version), but we want to double-check each other’s work anyway, so just add a link to the bug report and a short comment to the appropriate section of the wiki page, and someone else will have a look and make the change for you.

A final remark: I know that some people might think that I should better spend my time fixing bugs, rather than organizing a triaging event, because there are quite a few high-quality bug reports which I could start working on right away. However, I believe that a joint effort to go through all bug reports will not only make the work of everyone involved with Dolphin more efficient in the future, but also has the potential to attract
new contributors (as I said in a recent interview for Behind KDE, my own involvement with KDE started with a bug triaging event and fixing a small bug shortly after that). Therefore, I am sure that this organisational effort is a good investment.

Thanks for reading this! I’m looking forward to a productive collaboration – I’ll also take some batches myself next week. I don’t know how long it will take to go through all bugs, but I’ll post a bug triaging summary here when we are done.

Dolphin bug fixes in KDE 4.9.2

Here is a summary of the issues that have been fixed in KDE 4.9.2, which has been released today:

  • Bug 304752: Do not show a ‘-‘ if some additional information about an item is unavailable. See git commit f64a82bd, review request 106304.
  • Bug 176277: When dropping an item on an unmounted device in the Places Panel, mount it automatically. See git commit 3f6cb83a, review request 106072.
  • Bug 304627: Make it possible to rename items using a dialog. In KDE 4.9.0 and 4.9.1, “Inline Renaming” was the only way to rename files. The dialog can be re-enabled by adding “RenameInline=false” to the [General] section of $KDEHOME/share/config/dolphinrc. An option in the settings dialog will be added later (not possible during the KDE 4.9.x cycle because of the string freeze). See git commit 7ca682fe.
  • Bug 304323: Use a better icon, which is available on all distributions, for the recently accessed items in the Places Panel. See git commit d86ec02b.
  • Bug 306167: Do not crash when closing a LUKS-encrypted loopback file. See git commit a502d397.
  • Bug 306147: Do not crash when refreshing the view while renaming inline. See git commit ea3ed1d9.
  • Bug 306349, Bug 304838: Prevent that the URL changes unexpectedly in some situations when the Terminal Panel is open. See git commit 9111135f.
  • Bug 293200: Do not change the URL if a folder without subfolders is hovered in the Folders Panel. See git commit f52fc142, review request 106452.
  • Bug 297355: Always hide tool tips when the Dolphin window loses focus. See git commit ecaa575f, review request 106499.
  • Bug 295573: When double-clicking a folder in the Folders Panel, do not just open it in the view, but also expand it. See git commit 3cb15ca7, review request 106497.
  • Bug 304878: Prevent that “ghost folders” are shown in the Places Panel after unmounting devices. See git commit 068b6297, review request 106456.
  • Bug 305783: Prevent unexpected expansion of folders in the Folders Panel when the mouse is not hovering the panel any more. See git commit 8c4fa6e0, review request 106381.
  • Bug 301959: Make it possible to change the icon size in the Places Panel (in KDE 4.9.0 and 4.9.1, the “small” icon size was used). To change the icon size to, e.g., 60
    pixels, add the following lines to $KDEHOME/share/config/dolphinrc :
    [PlacesPanel]
    IconSize=60

    It is planned to make the icon size configurable via the context menu in the future, but this is not possible during the 4.9.x cycle because of the string freeze. Some people will probably ask if we could bring the automatic resizing from KDE <= 4.8 back. I know that many users liked this feature, but others perceived it as a bug. I believe that an option to set the icon size using the context menu will suit everyone. See git commit ca5fcd54.

  • Bug 306029: Only look for files, rather than all items stored by Nepomuk, when clicking a “Recently Accessed” entry in the Places Panel. See git commit 41007b88, review request 106274.
  • This one had not been reported at bugs.kde.org, but was found just by looking closely at the code: when changing the enabled preview plugins in the settings dialog after the preview generator has been initialised, really use the new settings. See git commit 0400154c.
  • Bug 307215: Use the “small” icon size chosen by the user, rather than a fixed size of 16×16 pixels, for the “Places” icon in the location bar. See git commit 6dc07bb7.
  • Bug 304427: Fix the rendering of “half star” ratings. See git commit a24fdb5e.

Moreover, some commits by Dawit Alemayehu make Dolphin’s code behave better when it is used for file management inside Konqueror: switching tabs with Control+Tab should work again, and some regressions in the filter plugin were fixed.

Thanks!

These bug fixes were made possible by commits and good advice by Christoph Feck, David Faure, Dawit Alemayehu, Elias Probst, Emmanuel Pescosta, Todd Jennings, and Vishesh Handa.

Not only the developers who fix bugs are important – we are also much obliged to the users who report them. In particular, I would like to mention a few users here who not only reported bugs, but did some tests that we asked for and provided valuable feedback that helped to identify and fix some problems: Hrvoje Senjan, Jens Rutschmann, and Petrus de Calguarium.

What’s next?

I’m planning to start the bug triage event that I had in mind for some time soon. Some preliminary information is available in the archives of the Bugsquad mailing list. I will post more information here soon.