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Re: [Axiom-developer] Nice Fixes! Another go on IssueTracker

Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Nice Fixes! Another go on IssueTracker
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:28:59 +0100
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20071031)

Hi Tim,

I know that documentation is one of the most important things for the Axiom project, but your approach to fixing bugs is just strange.

Suppose you have software A which has very few documentation and it has a bug B.

You can produce from that two systems A1 and A2.

A1: Fix the bug today. Fix the documentation in 1 year.
A2: Fix the bug together with the documentation in 1 year.
A3: Fix the bug today. Fix or don't fix the documention.

Clearly, in the long term A2 is the best, but actually A1 is better since it contains a partial fix of the code tomorrow.

Now what about A3?

Software A does not have enough documentation. So in some way A3 is as worse as A. But A3 is better since it has fewer bugs.

I know that every bugfix introduces new bugs, but since A3 fixes a known bug and passes all tests, it only might introduce a new yet unknown bug. And one should not forget... there are many eyes at the mailing list watching what happens to the code. Some people might even be able to say something about a possible (yet unknown) bug.

Just some thoughts that don't count ...


address@hidden wrote:
If you'd like to see bug fixes applied to Axiom please submit a
diff-Naur patch against silver.
Bugs are being fixed. Look for patches that have trailing numbers
in the title. One of the numbers is the Axiom bug number and, if
there is a corresponding published bug, there is a second number
corresponding to the published number.

I hesitate to "fix" things in the algebra without a great deal of
testing. I've applied a few fixes and backed them out, for example, trivially, the Gamma overbar display or bug 370 which incorrectly
changed the algebra rather than the compiler, and rejected others as
not being the correct fix.

One of the primary reasons why these bugs are not being fixed faster
is that there is so little documentation of what the bug is, what the
root cause is, how the change fixes the bug, and regression tests that
show the bug was fixed and did not break other things. All of this
takes a great deal of time and limits the pace of bug fixing. I'm reluctant to change the algebra until I understand the issues.
Without documentation or even a reference to external documentation
it just takes time.

I realize that FriCAS does not require documentation and can apply
changes without comment. Axiom requires documentation.

That said, I also would like to reduce the number of open bugs.

Axiom is clearly being worked on. Simply dividing the number of
one-line changes in the changelog by the number of days since the
first entry gives approximately 2.8 changes per day over the last 4
years or so. Hardly signs of a dead project.

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