15 Mar 2006
(updated 15 Mar 2006 at 04:05 UTC) »
Launchpad is hurting Ubuntu
Launchpad is like Dr. Frankenstein's monster. Like Dr. Frankenstein, the launchpad developers are pretty much uniformly geniuses (In fact, some of them are even quite cuddly, a quality I don't think Dr. Frankenstein enjoyed). And as with the monster, Launchpad is a great idea. But sadly, like the monster, Launchpad is a beast. It eats kittens and causes good people to tear out their hair. In fact, I would rather have my fingers gnawed by rabid chimpmunks than use Launchpad some days. Today was one of those days.
But first, I should provide some history. I have been involved with Ubuntu since almost the beginning. I have watched Launchpad under development all this time. Schedules kept slipping until finally, Malone was turned on for all Ubuntu bug tracking a few months back. Soyuz was turned on shortly thereafter, and Rosetta has been running for awhile.
In the beginning, I liked Launchpad and used it a fair amount. But as time progressed, I watched with frustration and then sadness as persistant issues were not fixed, such as the way Malone lists bugs. This eventually led me to give up doing any bug triage in Ubuntu. I know I am not alone in this.
So how does Launchpad hurt Ubuntu? Well, its UI makes it much much harder to do simple tasks. For instance, today I was looking at my synaptics touchpad issue. After several minutes of fruitless search (another longterm annoyance with Launchpad), I finally found the bug report. I also found another bug report, identical. So I preceded to tell Launchpad that the new bug report was a duplicate of the old one. Except not, because the new one already had another duplicate bug. So I had to change that third bug and then the new report. This kind of crap costs me and the developers time. And I don't have to "experience" it as part of my work. (I get to "enjoy" Netsuite, but that is another issue)
So where do we go from here? Honestly, I have no idea. Launchpad is too entrenced to realistically consider another option. The damage it has done has been done. We need to find some way out of this self-inflicted morass of good ideas and broken implementations. I just hope we do, for the good of the entire Ubuntu project.
PS. This really has nothing to do with the license (or lack there of) that Launchpad is under. No, really. The UI would suck just as hard if it was open source.