Getting help

From The Player Project

Revision as of 05:22, 3 October 2011 by Rmattes (Talk | contribs)
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If you are totally new to the Player project, first read the Getting started page and follow the instructions. You should be able to figure out what the Player project is about and install the software by yourself. After that, you should be able to launch some example and test your system.

You surely will want to develop your own programs, make sure that you read the manuals and Tutorials related to your problem.

If you have a problem even after these steps, it is very likely that you have found a problem somebody else found before (this is especially true if you are not using the SVN version), the Player community is really big.

When something fails

Below are some tips for reporting bugs and asking questions. The idea is to use these resources as efficiently as possible (specifically, to save time for the good people who will look into your bug or answer your question). Please read this; if you don't, then in answer to your query you'll likely be directed back here.

  • Google your problem.

If you're seeing an error message or strange behavior, perform a search using the exact text or your observations. Many problems that crop up have solutions within the first few hits. Often, these answers will even point back to the Player wiki or mailing list archives. If you can't find an answer within 5 or 10 minutes of searching, move on to the next step.

Known bugs, often with patches or workarounds, are generally found there. If you have something to add to an existing bug, add it as a comment to the bug, rather than posting to the mailing lists. Be sure to check for bugs with Any status (i.e., not just Open); you're likely to find your fix in a Closed bug.

Yes, the archive interface is atrocious, but that's all there is, and it is functional. Search the archives to see if someone else has asked your question or reported your bug.

If all the above steps failed, the best thing to do is post to the mailing list.

Read the next section before posting!!!!

Guidelines for mailing list messages

  • Don't contact the developers/maintainers directly.
    • Direct correspondence is not archived or otherwise publicly available, which means that the larger user/developer community can't benefit from your question or the ensuing answer(s). Also, by contacting a developer directly, you're asking one person, whereas if you post to a mailing list, you're asking hundreds of people. Open Source development works best when the entire community participates in discussions and helps to answer questions.
    • To be clear, send all questions to the appropriate mailing list, and report all bugs to the bug tracker.
  • Be as specific as possible.
    • Describe exactly what you were doing or are trying to do, and exactly what, if anything, went wrong. If you say, "The camera in Gazebo is broken," we can't help you. If you feel like you're being too descriptive, you're probably still not being descriptive enough.
  • Always provide the following information:
    • Names and versions of our packages that you're using.
      • For example, "I'm using Gazebo 0.5 with Player 1.6, as well as pmap 0.0.0."
    • Your platform (architecture, OS & version/distro).
      • For example, "I'm running OS X 10.3 on an iBook," or "I'm running Fedora 13 on an x86_64, with kernel 2.6.32." For Linux, always provide the distro and kernel versions.
    • Any warnings or errors.
      • Cut and paste them directly from the terminal window to which they were printed. DO NOT re-type them yourself. If you don't run a web browser or mail client in the same windowing session as the program that generates the output, then save it to a file and copy the file somewhere from which you can include or attach it.

When discussing any compiling/linking/installation issues, also provide:

  • gcc version

As appropriate, also include your:

  • Player .cfg file
  • Stage/Gazebo .world file

Don't send your question more than once. We all heard you the first time, and if you didn't get a response then likely nobody has had time to answer you. Alternatively, it could be that nobody knows the answer, or that nobody wants to help you. In any case, sending it again is poor form and will only aggravate everybody else. And don't tell us about your homework/project/paper deadlines; we don't care.

If your mail client is broken in such a way that it sends multiple copies when you hit "Send," then either fix your mail client or get a new one. The world if full of mail clients, many of which work great. Life is too short for broken mail software.

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