I received an email from a user who switched from openSUSE to Ubuntu since his Wireless netcard did not work. It worked with openSUSE 11.2 initially but after an online update it failed. He hoped that openSUSE 11.3 worked, tested it, it failed – and he gave up and wrote a frustrated email.
I was frustrated reading this since we should have been able to help this user if he contacted us in time.
Such a regression is bad but if nobody reports the regression, then it will not get fixed at all. The openSUSE project takes fixes from the upstream projects and also adds fixes ourselves and sends them upstream. Those fixes work on the system of the developer – or the systems of the upstream developers – but nobody has access to every single hardware that a chip supports, so regressions might happen. In the past I’ve seen that such regressions that are reported with a pointer to the exact version that failed, are often fixed quite fast.
How to get the bug fixed?
So, what should you do if you encounter a bug, especially a bug that only happens after running an online update? Let’s use this example: Wireless does not work anymore after an online update.
First, I would check which online update is responsible. So, the last run contained a number of packages and I guess that the Linux kernel is the culprit. So, let’s revert that package, e.g. install it again from the openSUSE DVD.
Once the package is identified, I would file a bug report at bugzilla.novell.com against the openSUSE release that I run, in this case against openSUSE 11.2.
Following the instructions about bug reporting, I would file the bug against the component “Kernel” and write something like:
“After running online update of the kernel (rpm package kernel-desktop, old package version 2.6.32.x, new package version 2.6.32.y), I cannot connect anymore to the wireless network with my wireless card xy.”
I would attach to this report some information about the working and the non-working system like the output of the “dmesg” command from both kernels, as well as information about the hardware. Information about the hardware can be accessed with “hwinfo” in general, in this case I would add the output of “hwinfo –wlan” as attachment to the bug report.
Next the kernel developers would look into the bugreport, came back with questions and might ask me to run some more tests or even install a kernel with fixes in it to confirm that everything works. Then these fixes would go into the next kernel that would be released as online update.
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