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Paper cut bug

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In usability and interaction design, a paper cut bug is defined as "a trivially fixable usability bug".[1]

The developers of the Ubuntu Linux-based operating system describe it as a bug that average users would encounter on their first day of using a brand new installation of the latest version of Ubuntu Desktop Edition.[2] The analogy is with a paper cut wound—small, not seriously damaging, but surprisingly painful. The use of the term has since spread to other software projects.[3] While some projects have dedicated projects or teams for it, others[4] rely on regular practices to encourage paper cuts to be fixed.


The first "paper cut" campaign was in June 2009, and each such release has been accompanied by a paper cut project. Initially the project was intended to have Ubuntu developers and users identify and fix one hundred minor bugs that adversely affect the Ubuntu user experience and complete the work to be included in the release of Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala. The intention was that each of these bugs would require no more than a day's work for a competent programmer.[5][6]

The first ten of the original paper cuts were:

  1. Dim file icons when they were "cut" for later "paste" action[7]
  2. "Move to Trash" option misleading[8]
  3. Ambiguous wording in confirmation alert box[9]
  4. "Eject/Unmount" Human theme icon in Nautilus should have hover and click states[10]
  5. Default folders inside Home Folder, e.g., Documents, Music, should have special icons/emblems[11]
  6. Update manager should warn about laptop running on battery when installing big updates[12]
  7. Consistent Volume "Safe to remove" notifications[13]
  8. "Create Document" sub-menu superfluous when no templates are installed[14]
  9. Nautilus does not assign custom icon to "Downloads" folder[15]
  10. Wi-Fi auto-connection asks for keyring password[16]

Dedicated projects[edit]

Some organisations, like GitHub, have created dedicated projects[17] to solve paper cuts. They also categorise small missing features that are hard to make part of the regular processes as paper cuts. Combining this with amplifying each of the solved problems social media presence also helped seeing the value of each of the fixes.[18] In GitHub's case the project was started when other community efforts like the browser extension Refined GitHub[19] were started for solving similar projects.


  1. ^ "The One Hundred Paper Cuts Project". Ubuntu.com. 11 May 2011. Archived from the original on 10 May 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ "One Hundred Papercuts - Ubuntu Wiki".
  3. ^ "Paper Cuts & Firefox 4 - Alex Limi". Limi.net. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  4. ^ Cowling, James. "Embracing papercuts". dropbox.tech. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  5. ^ Paul, Ryan (June 2009). "Canonical to boost Ubuntu usability by tackling 'papercuts'". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  6. ^ "PaperCut". Archived from the original on 10 May 2011.
  7. ^ "Bug #194213 "Dim files when you 'cut' them for later 'paste' act..." : Bugs : One Hundred Papercuts". Launchpad.
  8. ^ "Bug #30739 ""Move to Trash" option misleading" : Bugs : nautilus-cd-burner". Launchpad.
  9. ^ "Bug #349336 "Ambiguous wording in confirmation alert box" : Bugs : One Hundred Papercuts". Launchpad.
  10. ^ "Bug #383255 "Eject/Unmount icon in Nautilus sidebar should have ..." : Bugs : One Hundred Papercuts". Launchpad.
  11. ^ "Bug #126103 "Default folders inside Home Folder (e.g. Documents,..." : Bugs : One Hundred Papercuts". Launchpad.
  12. ^ "Bug #377697 "update manager should warn about laptop running on ..." : Bugs : update-manager package : Ubuntu". Launchpad.
  13. ^ "Bug #386057 "Consistent Volume "Safe to remove" notifications" : Bugs : One Hundred Papercuts". Launchpad.
  14. ^ "Bug #387655 "'Create Document' sub-menu superfluous when no temp..." : Bugs : One Hundred Papercuts". Launchpad.
  15. ^ "Bug #388570 "nautilus doesn't assign custom icon to "Downloads" ..." : Bugs : One Hundred Papercuts". Launchpad.
  16. ^ "Bug #388593 "Wifi auto-connection asks for keyring password" : Bugs : One Hundred Papercuts". Launchpad.
  17. ^ "Introducing Project Paper Cuts". The GitHub Blog. 28 August 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  18. ^ "Tiny Wins". Joel Califa. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  19. ^ "GitHub - sindresorhus/refined-github: Browser extension that simplifies the GitHub interface and adds useful features". GitHub. Retrieved 21 July 2021.