Ubuntu Bug Jam

Ubuntu Bug Jam

From Friday 2nd to Sunday many Ubuntu, Linux and Open Source enthusiasts descended upon the Linux Emporium to take part in the Ubuntu Bug Jam. In the words of an Ubuntu blogger, the Ubuntu Bug Jam is:

…a world-wide online and face-to-face event to get people together to fix Ubuntu bugs – we want to get as many people online fixing bugs, having a great time doing so, and putting their brick in the wall for free software. This is not only a great opportunity to really help Ubuntu, but to also get together with other Ubuntu fans to make a difference together, either via your LoCo team, your LUG, other free software group, or just getting people together in your house/apartment to fix bugs and have a great time.

This is the second time I’ve been to a bug jam. The first time I went I hadn’t even used Ubuntu, so only managed to report one bug and otherwise mostly focused on reporting stuff in Inkscape as I use it more often.

This time was a similar affair. Apart from testing out the beta of the next release of Ubuntu (the Karmic Koala) and asking for help in fixing bugs in my own system I mostly spent time testing bugs in Inkscape and suggesting features for future releases of Ubuntu.

Overall, I think reporting any bug in any package or program helps everyone and one thing I really like about open source is its transparency and honesty in its errors. That is, it’s not ashamed to admit that there are a few bugs here and there.


As mentioned in an earlier post I’ve decided to exclusively use open source software for my work. I’ve recently been messing around with Inkscape to see if it can offer similar or better ways of working.

So far I’ve found Inkscape to be quite powerful but missing some functions that I use regularly:

  • I would have usually hid objects using alt+3 and then reveal them later. There’s no simple shortcut for hiding objects and, unless you enter the xml editor there’s no easy way to reveal any hidden objects.
  • You can’t apply a brush as a stroke. You can quite easily manipulate an object to follow a path and that is quite an amazing feature. However it’d be great if there was the option for the manipulated object to then become the other objects’ stroke.
  • You can’t copy objects simply by dragging them and holding alt, you have to copy then paste them in place of the old object.
  • I want to turn the damned bounding box off! I would’ve sometimes used this but sometimes I want the object to be the only thing that’s highlighted, not the box around it.
  • Gradients need to be much easier to edit. The gradient editor is quite powerful and it’s awesome that you can adjust the alpha settings of the current colour, but I I’d like a more visual editor, rather than one that requires a lot of button pressing.
  • Usually when I create artwork I create the objects and apply lots of different layer blends (especially Overlay). Word on the street has it that previous versions of Inkscape allowed you to apply this to every object. Now you can only do it to different layers. Oh, and Inkscape doesn’t assign each new object to its own layer. humpf

    The Filter Effects tool is quite awesome… well, at least it has the potential to be. It allows you to create your own filters and apply them willy-nilly. However, I can’t get Multiply, Screen, Overlay etc to work in a way I’d expect. Still, it can be really awesome at times!

I’m still going to continue using Inkscape as it has a lot of great features, especially for those willing to mess around with lots of numbers.