[jitsi-users] Installed, but not working...

Dear Developer,

I have sent this message to a Mantainer e-mail address:

     "Dear Package Maintainer,

I am using Ubuntu 10.04 and Lubuntu 10.04; the machines have different
specifications in terms of memory, cpu numbers, etc.
I am using Skype, at the moment, but I am looking for alternatives to
it and your application came up as one of them.
I tried to install the most recent available version from your
website which is "jitsi_2.5.5065-1_i386.deb", but it failed to
install [and I tried more than once]; long story short, the most
recent version I could install was "jitsi_2.2.4603.9615-1_i386.deb";
this is where the problem begins...
But before that, this is the error message I get when trying to
install the latest version:

    dpkg-deb: file `/.../jitsi_2.5-latest_i386.deb' contains
ununderstood data member data.tar.xz, giving up
     dpkg: error processing /.../jitsi_2.5-latest_i386.deb
(--install): subprocess dpkg-deb --fsys-tarfile returned error exit
status 2
    Errors were encountered while processing:

Now, when I start Jitsi, the only thing that works more or less fine
is the chat window [because there is a lot of unnecessary information
being shown on the screen, like "Person X is now available" every
couple of minutes, and "Person X is now off-line" when I now for a
fact that the contact is very much still on-line!].
If I try call a contact, be it by audio only or with video support,
nothing happens for a few couple of MINUTES; then we hear a ring, but
when we click the icon to answer the call nothing happens...; it just
keeps on ringing and ringing until either is stops by itself or I/we
close the window.
So, there you have it: Jitsi is not working for me -- and I would love
to use it, instead of using Skype.
Is there anything you can suggest me to make it work? Maybe a new
version coming up [but then, if I cannot install the latest version
will I be able to install the new version...?], or fixing the latest
version currently being made available [you read the error message
Anyway, I thought you should know what I experienced using Jitsi.
I hope to receive some reply from you.

Best regards,

I received this reply:

     "Ubuntu 10.04 has been End-Of-Life for nearly a year now. You
should upgrade to 12.04 as it is the current LTS and still receives
security updates.


The error message here is caused by your version of dpkg being too
old. Ubuntu 10.04 has dpkg 1.15.5.x. In March 2010, in dpkg 1.15.6,
support was added for xz compression (to replace the previous use of
gzip). All current versions of Ubuntu have a newer version of dpkg
which supports xz.


My reply was:

     "Dear Derrick,

Regarding receiving security updates, I still get them, even now. Ask
somebody else, if you do not believe me.
As for my dpkg being slightly out of date, it is no valid reason for
a developer/maintainer to go for the "state of the art" version, if a
previous one would do the same task. I can still install .deb
packages from other applications, without errors. It is your choice
what you use, and I have a feeling that your are not going to provide
an alternative version of Jitsi for those who choose to cling to
their "older" O.S.'s. Again, it is your choice.
Installing a new O.S. is a major pain in the neck, if the user
intends to keep their /home directory intact; it could involve hours
of downloading applications, for instance. Surely, you would not be
so conceited as to assume that a person would go that far for the
sake of trying to install your application? Specially, when that
person already has another application that does the same job -- for
the record, Skype still uses MY version of dpkg! Figure it out...:
think of how many users you could be gaining by altering the code to
suit us "old timers"...!
All that I can tell you is that I will continue to look for a
Skype-substitute [my reasons for changing V.O.I.P. client are my
own], and that I guess other mature users will do the same. We do not
want to be pulled by the nose by developers/maintainers who think not
of their end-users' needs but their own, solely. It's most a pity
that people with the talent to create new things, do not also come
along with a healthy respect for others needs...; if you ask me, it is
just laziness not to adjust the code to allow users from "older"
versions to use your application.
I doubt you have received or will receive an e-mail like this; most
users are conscious of their time and assume the developers are too
pigheaded to change things once the code is done: it is as if they
[the programmers] think "this is a free application, after all";
Well...: Skype IS FREE and it works with our "older" version; do you
think they don't know about the new version of dpkg...? What other
reason would they have to keep on using an "older" version if not for
POSSIBLE...?! Again, figure it out for yourselves...
I do not expect any reply to this e-mail, unless you are to inform me
that you are going to re-address this issue soon. Remember: you might
be cutting your growth in the bud, if you do not cater for other
possible users' needs -- specially when you market competitors are
doing just that!

Wishing you all the best,
Now, you have all the facts [except that Derrick did not answer me why
the INSTALLED version of Jitsi jitsi_2.2.4603.9615-1_i386.deb did not
work as intended -- the question is clearly made on my first e-mail].
Derrick sent me the message below:


I am not one of the Jitsi developers. Send your message to the
mailing list if you want the developers to see it. It's not my
choice what the project does; I just subscribe to the list and have
knowledge regarding the error message you posted.

Although Ubuntu 10.04 *Server* still receives security updates (until
next year), 10.04 Desktop reached EOL last year. The announcement is

As I noted previously, support for xz compression of packages has been
available for 4 years now and is supported by all non-EOL releases of
Ubuntu. Furthermore, since it is the default used by dpkg it really
isn't a case of the developers using "state of the art". I surmise
(but have no first-hand knowledge) that all they did was use a non-EOL
release of Ubuntu (or Debian) without any extra effort.

Regarding upgrading, upgrading Ubuntu or Debian does not require
reinstalling. I have run every Ubuntu release, starting with 4.10
when it was current. Upgrading is quite painless, although network
and disk speeds do affect the total clock time required. In fact,
just this morning I upgraded my workstation at work from 13.04 (which
is also EOL) to 13.10. It was very uneventful. I have also run
Debian for 14 years (starting with version 2.2 "potato") on the same
machine. So I am not personally convinced that upgrading is

Again, though, I remind that I am not part of the Jitsi project and do
not decide its direction. Send your response on-list if you want to
reach the developers with your message.


Again, the question of why my installed version did not work was
sidelined; I do not mind using old software, if it does the job -- for
the record, I have many applications which have newer versions, but I
refuse them because the ones I have work well; it is really simple:
"if it's not broken, don't try to fix it!".
I have no intention of upgrading my O.S. anytime soon: it works as it
is; I have always read on-line comments that it is better to do a
clean install than an upgrade, and I will try to stick to that .
Regarding dpkg: if support for xz compression has been available for
that long, Ubuntu itself has to be blamed for not updating my system;
but since other software developers keep on using the "old" version, I
wonder why you have chosen this path. As I wrote to Derrick, I have no
interest in doing an upgrade for the sake of a single application --
and one that has yet to work at all...!
Please, give me some constructive comments and help; I have an
installed version [admittedly 1 year old] of Jitsi, but since it was
released I presume it was working then: why does it not work on my
system? I am still using -- and that is by choice, not by restriction
-- the Skype 4.0, when I know of much newer versions: why cannot you
adapt you code, and stop suggesting users to simply upgrade...?
Before I forget: could you, please, give my a list of hardware
requirements for Jitsi? The other machine I have is lacking in memory
size [but Skype still works on it...].
Also, for the record, I do not use an Ubuntu 10.04 *Server*, as
Derrick assumed, but an Ubuntu Desktop version, and I still receive
regular security updates. I do not know why that is the case, but I
doubt I am the only one in the world.
I cannot think of anything more to write, at the moment, so I will end
this message.
Just occurred to me that I could manually install the new version of
dpkg, but I am not that at easy with that procedure and it could
result in capital failure: really, it would be simpler if you just
chose the "old" version of dpkg -- after all, few users are
programming-minded enough to deal with code.

Best regards,

why cannot you
adapt you code, and stop suggesting users to simply upgrade...?

Perhaps try other, even older, versions of jitsi?

The jitsi developers are very busy to improve jitsi by many means.
However they cannot do everything. Note that there are far more people
working full-time for Skype development than for Jitsi.

I do not mind using old software, if it does the job

Please see that in this particular case the old software doesn't do its job.

I have always read on-line comments that it is better to do a
clean install than an upgrade

Might be, but an upgrade is *far more* better than to stick with a
broken and vulnerable system. So when you fear a clean install as it
resets all your settings, you might want to upgrade instead.

When you start updating frequently, you'll realize that the more often
you update, the less painless updates are. Many volunteers work to make
these updates as easy and non-invasive as possible and you don't take
this free offer.

And if you don't like frequent updates, you can stick with the LTS line
of Ubuntu. However, even here you have to run constant updates.

Also, for the record, I do not use an Ubuntu 10.04 *Server*, as
Derrick assumed, but an Ubuntu Desktop version, and I still receive
regular security updates. I do not know why that is the case, but I
doubt I am the only one in the world.

AFAIK The distinction between Ubuntu desktop and server is made
package-wise. So apache is a server package and thunderbird a desktop
package. The server packages get extended security updates, the desktop
ones not. So therefore you might get security updates for some of your
packages, but you don't get any security update for any of the desktop
packages. You live on a vulnerable system.

If you, out of some reason, still want to stick with your old system,
you either have to live with the (increasing) friction, or, and these
two options only exist in open source, fix it yourself or pay someone to
fix it for you.