Sometimes a user asks a question and shows the error message, and the error message clearly indicates that there is a bug in the application. If it weren't for the bug, that message wouldn't be shown. So we know there's a bug that ought to be reported.

This happens most often when the message shows a stack trace, a traceback, when it is an Apport window, or when it is indicating termination by a crash-denoting singal (e.g., "segmentation fault`).

Usually, filing the bug is all there is to do. So the question is simply off-topic, and we urge people to report the bug.

Sometimes, there are possible workarounds, but they are workarounds relating to the bug, and would be meaningless if the bug were fixed. In these cases, the workarounds belong on the Launchpad (or other) bug pages, and we still close as off-topic.

Occasionally, the program would still not work--or could reasonably not work--even if the bug were fixed. This happens when the bug is triggered by a problem that would prevent it from continuing anyway.

That's actually a pretty large class of bugs--bugs programmers ended up shipping to end users because they only occur when the "user does something wrong."

I'm asking about this because there's a question up for closure (or reopening, depending on what happens between when I write this and you read it) where this applies:

The bug (at the bottom of the text--the error-like text at the top doesn't mean anything) is that when Wubi gets a 404 error attempting to download an Ubuntu ISO image, it cannot handle this, and it crashes. Clearly that's a bug and should be reported.

However, the cause of the 404 message in this instance that the user is attempting to install Ubuntu 11.04 with Wubi. Ubuntu 11.04 is no longer supported (it is an end-of-life release), so its ISO images are not present on the releases server which Wubi is connecting to.

They are present on the old-releases server and one reasonable option for fixing the bug would be to make it automatically fetch EoL images from old-releases.

However, since using an EoL release is not a great thing to do, I think it's also quite reasonable to fix the bug just by making Wubi it fail with an error message and terminate normally.

So the fundamental question about how to install Wubi still applies. It's possible to give an answer to the question that explains:

  • What's causing the error. (Which would still occur even if Wubi hadn't crashed.)
  • How to get Wubi installed. There are many ways, but the good ones are to download the ISO manually and put it in the same directory as the Wubi executable, or to install Wubi from a burned/written Ubuntu CD/DVD/USB.
  • To strongly consider using a supported release of Ubuntu in one's Wubi system, and the reason this is a good idea. (Or linking to a source that provides this information.)

So, should this question be answered? Or should it be closed?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Jorge Castro has commented with an answer that I think applies to the specific case in this question:

Feel free to post it as an answer then we can retitle it as a canonical 404 question for wubi!

I plan to do that. Assuming everybody's OK with that resolution, this question no longer needs to be answered for that specific example.

I'm posting this as an answer because it's a partial answer--which tends to be considered an answer on meta. I'm still interested in answers addressing the general question though.

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I think you've found the answer, comment on what parts are bugs and address the none-bug concerns. Then edit the question to remove the bug parts after the author has acknowledged (or before, or whenever really) to make the question work without the bug parts –  Marco Ceppi Dec 27 '12 at 18:06
    
@MarcoCeppi Sounds good! –  Eliah Kagan Dec 27 '12 at 18:32

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