How can our GitLab website ( be made easier to use?

(totte) #1

Back in December 2017, we replaced our existing setup of gitolite, cgit, and Flyspray, with GitLab Community Edition. In July 2018 we received a sponsorship by GitLab Inc., providing us with GitLab Enterprise Edition.

Continuing the discussion from I am leaving Chakra, because, there have been feedback expressing difficulty using our GitLab (EE) website:

As stated earlier, we used to use Flyspray - just like Arch Linux continues to do. GitLab however does provide many features that as far as I know are not (or at least weren’t) available in Flyspray, such as closing open issues with a commit message upon pushing to the repository, linking different issues together, support for Markdown and quick actions, etc.

One alternative to GitLab that was considered was Phabricator, which is used by KDE. Yet another was Bugzilla, also used by KDE.

Currently, submitting an issue can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Sign in using your account at,, or and skip to step 4, or
  2. Register a local account using your e-mail address
  3. Sign in with said local account
  4. Navigating to e.g.
  5. Click “New issue in core” or select one of the other three repositories (lib32, gtk, and desktop) from the dropdown menu
  6. Set a title and description
  7. Click “Submit issue”

Some may like having templates to fill out, others might not. Feel free to chime in and provide constructive criticism - providing examples of other issue trackers that you find to be easy to use is appreciated.

Suggestions about CCR
How to help Chakra to be closer to the average Joe
(Luca Giambonini) #2

I would add that with gitlab we can post images in the comment, format the text and many more.
For our dev is also more easy to move issues in the correct category and tag them.
Maybe we can create a script to automate the issue insertion using the desktop directly. I remember that we had something similar in the past, a script that collect the user spec and comments before opening a bug report. (I forgot the name). I mean, something similar to drkonqi

(Neofytos Kolokotronis) #3

I suggest gathering more feedback on this first, especially on the step that is making this difficult to @kepszlok or the part of the process that is not very clear. Is it the login? Navigating withing the site? Our categories? @kepszlok can you explain a bit more on your particular experience?

In general a single user report is greatly appreciated and should be seriously considered, but before acting on it, it always helps to know if any kind of feedback (good or bad) is shared among our users and is a general issue, and not a single persons’ opinion/experience.

(kepszlok) #4

The first ting:
Our packages are in different repositories. To figure out where can i found it, i have to do a ccr package search in terminal, because Octopi did not shows this information.
*Edit: (while writed this, i just figured out, pressing F9 in octopi replaces repositories info with package groups)

The second thing:
Navigation in gitlab takes time. ATM i posted a package request for the uppcoming iso about the vulkan driver packages. It take only 30 seconds to do it in the forum. It shoud be better placed in gitlab, but navigation takes a bit more time.
What shoud we do in simple cases like this? Shoud we post a simple package request to gitlab, or it’s good in the iso’s topic?

The third thing:
By opening, you see 3 topics:
Services, tools, packages

If you want to post something for the upcomming iso, you have to choose the tools. But it’s not obvious, because of the description: “Various software developed internally is kept here.”

There are subtopics, where this shoud be the good one:
chakra-iso “ISO generation tools”

By entering into this, you will see the git repo for the iso. Nothing indicates that, this is for the upcoming iso, except the commit dates.

You are still not finished, you have to click the “issues” on the left from this topic to actually post something.

If you are new to gitlab, this can be quite confusing process. It was for me. Now i know how it works, i can deal with it.

(totte) #5

This is the current structure of our setup (in alphabetical order, groups are in bold):

Let’s break it down into separate issues.

The question here is “How do I find out which repository a package belongs to?”, and my answer would be "Run pacman -Si $package_name_here", or view the “Repository” column in Octopi for the given package. Could this be made easier or automated to some extent?

The issue here is performance. The goal of this topic is to gather feedback with the intent to make more use to report issues, request features, etc. so that such can be tracked and by extension easily managed by contributors and included in e.g. milestones to show the community the progress of any given larger task at hand. The server on which GitLab is installed serves no other websites - it is solely for the use of GitLab. It’s got four single CPU cores, “Intel Xeon E5-2620 v3s (-SMP-)” with 65536 KB cache and 2399 MHz max clock speeds, as well as 8192 MB RAM. I’m not sure if the performance could be improved without increasing the current server specifications, but it’s possible.

The issue here is navigation (and clarity of names and descriptions), which might be an easy fix. “chakra-iso” could be renamed, and perhaps moved to the Packages group. It is sort of a collection of packages, after all, while several other projects in the Tools group are built and put in packages. I’d guess that most users would be interested in the Packages group and the chakra-iso project. Emphasizing or otherwise giving them precedence could be achieved in a variety of ways.

The Chakra group at the top of the hierarchy was created in order to be able to set milestones that span across both the Packages group as well as the chakra-iso and projects. It is a bit awkward, since only caters to Chakra in the first place, and adds an extra click (step) for reaching any specific group or project. If the chakra-iso project was moved into Packages, and the project was left as is, outside the scope of the milestones set for new releases, this could reduce the hurdles of navigation somewhat.

Services could be renamed to Websites, since I no longer have as much time and discontinued some of those side-projects (bouncers, bots, e-mail, etc.) that aren’t specifically websites.

(kepszlok) #6

Since i pressed F9, i have the repo column. That’s good enough i think. :slight_smile:

No, i did not meant site performance with the 30 sec. I just reflected the needed time for write a post with 5 lines. It’s faster atm in this site. (btw, non of the sites have performance problems)

I agree. Those changes sounds good.

(svink) #7


I’m not able to login with bitbucket, look at this error:

This integration is not well configured. Contact the supplier for help.

Is it a problem on your side?

(totte) #8

I’ve given this a lot of thought over the past few days, on how to make it work within the limits of GitLab and still be somewhat logical, rational, and possibly even intuitive. Groups are in bold, projects are unformatted, and descriptions are in italics.

  • Chakra The open source components of the Chakra Linux distribution.
    • Akabei Package manager, in development as a future replacement for Pacman in Chakra.
      • Akabei CLI frontend.
      • Akabei client library The client library for Akabei.
      • Akabei core library The core library for Akabei.
    • Packages PKGBUILDs, and the related files, that are used to create the packages that make up the Chakra operating system.
      • core
      • desktop
      • gtk
      • lib32
    • Build system The Chakra build system for packagers, used to build packages in a clean environment.
    • Calamares modules Chakra-specific modules, configuration files, and packaging for Calamares.
    • CCR plasmoid Plasmoid for interacting with the Chakra Community Repository.
    • Continuous integration scripts Scripts used by the Chakra GitLab CI instance.
    • Docker container bootstrap Bootstrap a basic Chakra Docker container.
    • Docker containers
    • GFXBoot theme Chakra’s GFXBoot theme for the live media.
    • Hardware detection tools Scripts used by the live media to manage hardware detection.
    • Heritage Plasma 5 theme for Chakra, a fork of Caledonia.
    • Kapudan A fork of Pardus’ Kaptan for Chakra.
    • Live media creator A script to create Chakra live media (also known as ISO images). New live media releases are announced with the release tag on Report any issues for the live media here.
    • Posterior ALPM repository, package and PKGBUILD library.
    • Quick USB formatter Tiny application for formatting USB sticks and devices.
    • Welcome plasmoid Welcome plasmoid for the live media.
  • Websites The websites are not a part of the operating system, but are provided as services on the world wide web.

This splits everything into two groups - the product, and the services.

Most of these changes to names and descriptions have been carried out. Aside from mentioning it in a #help:faq entry and any topic with the #release tag, I have no specific ideas on how to highlight the “Live media creator” project - which is where one would report issues and feature requests for the live media. The paths for the Packages and Tools groups remain intact, as to not disrupt the ongoing work for the next release. A notice has been set on, stating the following:

The projects in the Tools group will be transferred from to on 2019-01-13. Please update your git remote URLs accordingly.

The date is subject to change.

The Websites group (renamed from “Services”, even if there’s more to it than websites) was moved out of the Chakra group earlier today, and the existing repositories were deleted, their issues moved into the project. My reasoning is that it is seldom issues are reported for any of the websites, already has its own #meta category, and serves as a fallback anyway. I can create labels to differentiate between e.g.,, and so on, should issues be sent to, or any of the many other services.

It is a great feature, that the paths of projects (and groups) can remain unchanged even if the name of said project (or group) is changed. I hope that the new names and descriptions will be easier to understand for new visitors, and that the removal of the ambiguously named Tools (I don’t think artwork projects would be something people would expect to find under a group named “Tools”) group will make it easier to find what you are looking for.

As of 2019-01-13T0924Z the changes described above have been carried out.

I’ve also received a complaint regarding registering a new account on being difficult, due to the use of a whitelist of approved e-mail service providers. Said whitelist proved to be effective against spam and abuse, and saves a lot of time. However the last paragraph may not have been clear enough, so the last sentence in the second paragraph was added in order to clarify that if someone wanting to register uses an e-mail service provider not included in our whitelist, all they need to do is send an e-mail to and it will (extremely likely) be added.

This is where our source code is made available, issues can be reported, and feature requests be made.

You can either register a new account for this specific website - or use an existing account if you have registered one at Bitbucket, GitHub or GitLab. To prevent spam and abuse, only certain e-mail service providers are allowed when registering here. If your e-mail service provider isn’t allowed but is widely used, contact us as described below.

If you have any issues registering, signing in, or otherwise using this website, send an e-mail including the date and time (in UTC), the address (URL), and the steps to reproduce the issue, to or

I’ve also received complaints regarding the difficulty to report issues concerning the websites for Chakra, due in part to the previous difficulty, and I tried to improve the descriptions of the Websites group like so:

  • Websites
    The websites are provided as services on the world wide web, and are not a part of the Chakra operating system.
      This website serves as the frontpage for the Chakra operating system. Issues for our Discourse and GitLab installations are to be reported here as well. Confidential issues can also be sent to
      The CCR installation available at This is an ad hoc solution for users to report issues with the service. Only the issue tracker is available.

In addition, there are the following #help:faq entries which have been around for some time:

These should all, in easily understood English (please do provide feedback if it isn’t easily understood), make it clear that one may also send e-mail to in order to report issues. It is not necessary to register an account at in order to report an issue by sending an e-mail to

Thank you for your feedback so far. I dearly hope that the work done on this will help attracting more users to, and that it is easier to understand where to report issues now. Unless there is more to discuss, this topic will be closed in a week as it has reached its end. Any new feedback after that may of course be reported here or sent to

(totte) closed #9

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