[petsc-dev] error messages

Jed Brown jed at jedbrown.org
Mon Feb 17 09:18:39 CST 2014

Barry Smith <bsmith at mcs.anl.gov> writes:

> On Feb 17, 2014, at 7:30 AM, Matthew Knepley <knepley at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 7:46 AM, Barry Smith <bsmith at mcs.anl.gov> wrote:
>>    90 plus percent of PETSc users must view error messages as a “useless blob of gunk that merely tells you an error has occurred”.  How can we get them to understand that they contain useful information? Better formatting? Color?
>> There is a lot of ASCII noise around the message. Maybe we repeat the main error message above with
>> nothing around it, and tell them to look below for more info?
>     It is tricky to print the right information in the right place (like the stack). I like color but Jed and Satish frown on it.

We have to test whether we're sending output to a TTY, otherwise it's
just weird control characters.  When a parallel job crashes and we hit a
non-collective error condition, the control characters will be all
jumbled up producing something even more confusing than we have now.

We could make an FAQ explaining why the whole thing is important, and
one-line-reply with it every time someone truncates or paraphrases an
error message.  Maybe make an auto-responder bot that bounces emails
that have snipped error messages.. ;-)
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