Unable to report serious bug

Asked by shanen (Shannon Jacobs)

I have been using Ubuntu for about 5 years now. Several years ago, I was a strong advocate of Linux in general and Ubuntu in particular.

Now I believe Linux will always be a fringe OS for a few hackers to play with. I have also decided to replace this computer, and I will NOT even attempt to run Linux on the new computer. I had been thinking about a new computer for a while, but now it is a fairly high priority.

At the bottom of this message is the decisive error message. This appeared after another crash and after more struggles to get the machine running again. I am NOT pushing the machine. It is basically used for Firefox.

There are at least three possibilities for the real causes. I prefer the theory that I am being attacked by black hat hackers, perhaps spearphishing because of my employer. The most likely cause is actually Ubuntu flaws, though I'm betting you'd blame Adobe in typical buck-passing mode. Hardware problems seem unlikely, though conceivable. (After all, I'm working on the machine now.)

However, the straw that broke the camel's back was trying to read your explanation of the current bug reporting process. A piece of straw? If you printed all of that stuff you'd probably need most of a tree.

I still hate Microsoft and Windows. I think Apple may have become more evil and anti-freedom and Microsoft, and I do not regard Apple as an option.

I almost desperately hoped for Linux to succeed. The sad reality? Linux has failed and I even think that Ubuntu deserves much of the credit for the failure.

(By the way, I also tested a bunch of other Linux distros and my company supports the use of a RHEL version that I still use sometimes.)

Oh yeah. I'm supposed to ask a question:

Why doesn't Linux use an economic model that works well enough to compete with Microsoft?

(I think the ultimate cause of the problems is bad economics. Linux has been essentially a charity-based model. No matter what you say about Microsoft and Apple in terms of their software and corporate philosophies, you have to acknowledge that THEIR economic models are working fairly well.)

==== Error message:

Could not initialize the package information

An unresolvable problem occurred while initializing the package information.

Please report this bug against the 'update-manager' package and include the following error message:

'E:Problem parsing Provides line, E:Error occurred while processing gfortran-4.2 (NewVersion1), E:Problem with MergeList /var/lib/apt/lists/debian.nctu.edu.tw_ubuntu_dists_karmic_universe_binary-i386_Packages, E:The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.'

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shanen (Shannon Jacobs) (shanen) said :

Mostly recovered from the last crash and calmed down. Feel like I should report on that--but I still have no intention to be bothered with Linux after I get the new machine...

Sorry, but I don't recall exactly how I fixed it, but the key was to change the download server. Then I was able to update the package information--and immediately received yet another massive download of patches.

Not sure if it's helpful to anyone, but a comment on the nature of the crash... Maybe the Linux/Ubuntu people should consider what's going on. The ultimate cause here seems to be a problem with the display driver. This so-called 'white screen of death' has afflicted Ubuntu on this machine for some years. Not when I first installed Ubuntu on the machine, but a couple of upgrades down the road. Never happens to Windows, which may not be as decisive as it sounds, since the total time running Windows has always been quite limited. However, in the last few weeks the crashes have become much more frequent again. I'm pretty well convinced some recent patch is pushing the graphics in some way, and this machine can't handle it.

Given that this machine can therefore be caused to crash at any random time, and given that the file system will then be partly corrupted, why should the basic configuration of the update-manager be corrupted? Since there were updates pending, I have to guess that it does a non-safe or non-atomic update of the configuration as its preparing for the update. I suppose I should be gratified that it was even possible to fix it again. However, the bottom line is that Ubuntu is NOT getting better, but slightly prettier and much more difficult to keep running in a useful way.

The main ongoing problem of recent versions has been the Japanese input system. Yes, using two languages already puts me in a peculiar user category, but the bottom line is ugly... When I first started using Ubuntu, it was rather difficult to get the Japanese working properly. After a few upgrades things were pretty good, then it started downhill. I had actually given up getting the new Japanese input system to run on this machine after the last upgrade, but I got tired of the bizarre cut-and-paste workarounds or switching to a Windows machine, so I did fix it a couple of weeks ago--but I shouldn't need to fix it again and again.

By the way, I commented negatively about the new bug reporting process which eventually drove me over to this 'answers' system. When I tried to log in from another computer to add this update report, I couldn't do it. I fought with the system for a while, but it would NOT let me log in. (I'm guessing this machine's login status is grandfathered in cookie.) I really don't need MORE evidence of Ubuntu causing problems and harassment... As much as I love freedom and wish I had real choices AWAY from Microsoft, at this point I am quite looking forward to getting a new machine without Ubuntu--and I am NOT planning to install Ubuntu ever again, even in a virtual machine.

Now what option should I pick? I can't really say "Problem Solved", and I don't feel like "I'm Providing More Information", since information should be relatively useful... Must be "Just Add a Comment" in the sense of venting spleen related to my frustration over the disappointment of my hopes for Ubuntu.

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ajmal_82 (ajmal-82) said :

first of all thanks for your patience next up "NO OperatingSystem is perfect" we got to make it perfect by helping the developers.i dont think so ubuntu is highly hackable or stuff like that its very tricky question to deal with.furthermore there is no stuff as hacking related to general usage.if your using system for highly confidencial purpose the you should know how to install and use a good firewall inside linux too.so there are plenty of such options for you too choose even OS's related to firewalls.i strongly say that ubuntu is good for general purpose os with lots of support out there to help.please update your os to 10.4 and install updates including security updates.catch you later buddy.

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shanen (Shannon Jacobs) (shanen) said :

I'm not sure what you are trying to say, but perhaps I can clarify my non-technical position:

Freedom is about meaningful and unconstrained choice based on accurate knowledge of the options and the ramifications of your decisions. Even Microsoft understands that people want freedom. Haven't you noticed how many of their ad campaigns are using choice-related themes? Multiple versions of the same OS with confusing price tags and restrictions is NOT freedom. Telling you that they are helping you to visit OTHER people's websites when you could use ANY OS or ANY browser is NOT freedom. It's all smoke and mirrors.

Too bad it worked so well for Microsoft, and slightly different flavors of the same scam are working for Apple, though I doubt Apple can keep it up.

My hope was that Linux could provide a real alternative of freedom for large numbers of people. It has not. Ubuntu seemed especially promising, but I've given up on it because it is quite clear that their charity-based economic model is failing. Their plans were ambitious, but they are failing to deliver.

My conclusion is that a radically different economic model is needed. For example, one where non-technical people can provide small amounts of money to support the specific features they want--with the budget including funding for ADEQUATE testing. Here is one moderately radical idea:


Better ideas are welcome, but I have no hope for Ubuntu--and I believe a lot of people have come to feel the same way.

On the technical aspect, the machine seems to be working fairly well--but I'll be shopping more aggressively for a new machine. Windows 7 isn't that hideous... (I managed to skip Vista completely.)

Can you help with this problem?

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