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Re: Unable to close a bug in the tracker.

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Unable to close a bug in the tracker.
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 2010 11:09:41 +0900

Miles Bader writes:
 > Karl Fogel <address@hidden> writes:
 > > For the love of Cthulhu, why are we using this monstrosity when there
 > > are so many other good trackers out there?
 > Hm, is that really true?  It seems more like there are so many other
 > _bad_ trackers out there.

Let's not focus on "good vs. bad", let's focus on "debbugs vs.
something better".

 > The ones that do email well, screw up the web interface (or don't have
 > one).  The ones that do the web well screw up the email interface (or
 > don't have one).  Some screw both up.  Blah blah...

In that case, my advice is to choose one that does the web interface
well, and invest in some Elisp to manipulate it without touching the
mouse to approximate an email-based workflow.

Specifically, I chose Roundup for our bug tracker because it offered a
fighting chance of getting both the web interface and the email
interface tolerable.  Result: The email interface accepts mail, and
produces notifications to those on the nosy list, but nobody uses it
for control, and really no improvements have been installed to the
email interface in over 18 months because nobody needs them.  There
have been over 25 bugs against the web interface closed, and there are
still about 50 open.  Users care about the web interface.

That's what Karl said, of course, but maybe an opinion from the
viewpoint of a tracker maintainer would be of interest.

My opinions of the trackers I've reviewed.  Note that (except for
Roundup, which I use daily) these comments are 18-24 months old.  Most
of these products are quite mature, though.

Roundup has been sufficient for our needs.  I've had complaints that
it is "not Bugzilla", but nobody has gone to the extent of suggesting
that we should change, or refuses to use it.  Python has a much
improved version you could grab.  It has an excellent facility for
generating and saving queries so you can generate the reports you

The LaunchPad tracker was not available when I set up our tracker, so
I never reviewed it carefully.  As a user, it is the least usable of
the major tracker products I've used (SourceForge, Bugzilla, RT, and
Trac).  There are lots of annoying project-related hoops to jump
through to get to the point where you can actually do something with
your bug report, and the documentation has that peculiar Canonical
odor of James Joyce writing to an audience he expects to consist
entirely of total n00bs.

RT was clunky and (for my needs) clearly dominated by Roundup.  Some
people love it, though.

Trac is pretty, but I don't know how good it is at accepting email for
comments, or even if it has an email control interface.  It also has
an obnoxious query interface.

Bugzilla: IMHO hard to go wrong by choosing Bugzilla, but I don't do
Perl.  There have been several Bugzilla variants with excellent email
support, but none were published at that time.  (Novell had one, for

SourceForge: not bad, if you can handle the various BS that
SourceForge bureaucracy imposes.  IIRC, it did handle email fairly
well according to its docs, but I never tried it.

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