In an article I wrote a few weeks ago, I talked about how the little things count when it comes to product quality. Unfortunately, not all developers have enough time or knowledge to add that extra shine and make their application more user friendly. Enter the One Hundred Papercuts Project.
It’s that time of the release cycle again where user experience bug reporters around the world come together to squash small bugs, dubbed “papercuts” in Ubuntu. The One Hundred Papercuts Project was an initiative started by Canonical’s User Experience and Design Team for the Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala cycle around this time last year. Since then, it has grown into a very important project in Ubuntu and fixes some of the most annoying, niggly bugs that we all have to put up with every day.
In case you haven’t heard, a papercut is “a bug that will improve user experience if fixed, is small enough for users to become habituated to it, and is trivial to fix.” They’re things like small problems with the user interface, the experience of Ubuntu and are often considered to be bugs in the performance and expected result of doing some activity – rather than fixing graphical anomalies and prettying the system.
Overall, the project fixed 103 papercuts for the 10.04 cycle. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more interesting papercuts that were fixed for Lucid.
- F11 now makes Open Office fullscreen as it’s intended to do
- You’ll no longer see “as superuser” appended to window titles running as root
- Eye of Gnome will now ask you to save changes
- Computer Janitor has a better description (but still sucks)
- Downloads now go to… well… ~/Downloads
And, here are some interesting bugs planned to be given the squashing treatment for Maverick:
- Package names and descriptions are going to get the switch treatment
- Pidgin’s description in the Software Center will become exponentially less nerdy
- Finally, Spacebar will toggle playback in Rhythmbox
- Maverick’s new photo manager, Shotwell, will get some terminology improved
- And, sure to be an annoying bug, Empathy will no longer auto-scroll to the bottom
Who’s behind the project?
David Siegel lives in London and is a member of the Canonical Design Team and comes from fame as the creator of Gnome Do. He’s also one of the many design team members working on Unity. David studied Computer Science, Philosophy, and Aesthetics at the University of Pennsylvania and when he’s not working on Ubuntu he’s eating spicy foods, doing artsy things with friends, going to hot yoga, drinking wine, and explaining why Python sucks and Haskell is so amazing.
Vish is an awesome all round contributor best known for his work on the Humanity icon set and the monochrome panel icons that appeared in 10.04. He’s also an active member of the Ubuntu Manual Team.
Vish has been nominated to be the head of the Papercuts Project, and you can contact him for any questions you may have by flicking him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tracking him down on IRC under the nick vish.
Sense Hofstede is a 17 year old Dutch dude who you’ll probably recognize if you’ve ever read Planet Ubuntu or been to a UDS. He has his fingers in a lot of Ubuntu pies, including working on application indicator support, Ayatana project and generally advocating Ubuntu and being an all round good guy.
You can catch him on IRC with the nick sense, or follow him on Twitter.
So, how do I get involved?
After hearing all this awesome information and meeting the people behind one of Ubuntu’s coolest project, why wouldn’t you want to dive in and help out?
Straight from Vish’s blog post about the papercuts for Maverick, here’s how you can help:
“Have a look at the list of triaged Papercut bugs. Find any bug you feel like fixing ? Assign it to yourself , submit a patch and help make Ubuntu better. As is tradition in a hunt to showcase your trophy kill, we’d like you to showcase the Papercut bugs you’ve squashed. If you have a blog, blog about what inspired you to fix the Papercut, and mention the blog link on the bug report.”
For more information, read up Vish’s post on design.canonical.com.