[Trisquel-users] Trisquel continuously crashing, the state of the FOSS community

Mason Hock mason at masonhock.com
Sun Feb 24 21:35:35 CET 2019


> I have had much trouble with this OS. Both on my desktop and on a laptop,
> the  OS will crash anywhere from 0-10 minutes after startup every time
> without  incident.

This is unusual. I have installed Trisquel on many people's computers
and they have not had this problem.

> I doubt this is an installation issue as the
> Technoethical laptop  came with the OS previously installed.
> Re-installing doesn't help.

Maybe a hardware issue then?

> I have no  idea what kind of programmer
> fancied this project is even close to being  viable for production when
> it appears this unstable. There is no way in hell  mainstream adoption is
> possible with these kind of gaping bugs.

If adoption of operating systems had anything to do with quality no one
would be using Windows. :) Windows 8 and 10 are far buggier than any
GNU/Linux distribution I've tried.

In my opinion, the biggest obstacles to adoption of free operating
systems are social ones. If there are any significant technical
obstacles, I would say that they are the lack of free firmware for most
WiFi cards and many GPUs.

> The sloppiness of this software, combined with the lack of awareness and
> concern of these bugs in the free software movement will be its downfall.
> I  am a programmer myself and this apathy deeply worries me.

It is completely understandable to be frustrated, and I hope we can
figure out what's wrong and stop your system from crashing, but your
experience is not universal. Most users do not encounter this issue. I
don't see any recent posts or bug reports about such any issue apart from
this thread. How can you know that people will be apathetic about your
issue before you've even told them about it?

> I'm happy to
> provide help to make this software more accessible and usable if someone
> can  help point me in the right direction.

Great! I'm not much of a programmer, with just enough knowledge to fix
minor bugs, but I think by now I have a basic grasp on how Trisquel
development works. Here's a summary of what I know.

As you may know, Trisquel 8 is downstream from Ubuntu 16.04. Many
Ubuntu packages are simply rebuilt with the code unaltered, so
Trisquel development mostly deals with exceptions to this:

Some Ubuntu packages are completely removed, usually because they are
proprietary or specific to Ubuntu's branding. Here is the list of
packages purged from 16.04.

https://devel.trisquel.info/trisquel/ubuntu-purge/blob/master/purge-xenial

A handful of packages are maintained entirely by Trisquel. They appear
to be mostly data related to Trisquel branding and artwork.

https://devel.trisquel.info/trisquel/trisquel-packages/tree/master/8.0

Then there are packages from Ubuntu that need to be modified. Usually
this is to change Ubuntu branding to Trisquel branding, or to address a
freedom issue with an otherwise free package. This is done with package
helpers, which are scripts that modify the source code of the Ubuntu
package before rebuilding it.

For example, Firefox is free software, but it comes with support for
DRM, recommends proprietary addons, and doesn't have great default
privacy settings. The "make-firefox" script fixes these things. However,
Mozilla's trademark policy does not allow modified versions of their
software to use their branding, so the script also changes references to
"Mozilla" and "Firefox" with "Trisquel" and "Abrowser" respectively.

Here are the package helpers,

https://devel.trisquel.info/trisquel/package-helpers

and here is a guide to getting started with them.

https://devel.trisquel.info/trisquel/package-helpers/blob/flidas/CONTRIBUTING.md

> Let's start with whatever bug
> is  causing the fatal crash on my machine.

The culprit could be
- a bug from upstream (might be worth checking Ubuntu's bug tracker)
- a bug introduced by a Trisquel package helper
- something specific to your hardware or configuration

> Thus far the primary
> culprits seem to  be:
> - indicator-application-service
> - systemd

Maybe you could try disabling indicator-application-service entirely for
a day and see if the issue goes away, so that we know for sure whether
or not it has something to do with your problem.
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