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Re: Futile bug reports?

From: Tom Tromey
Subject: Re: Futile bug reports?
Date: 14 Aug 2001 12:20:48 -0600

>>>>> "Eli" == Eli Zaretskii <eliz@is.elta.co.il> writes:

Eli> In addition, if you want to keep the bug-tracker complete, the
Eli> maintainers themselves will have to file there bugs that they
Eli> themselves find and work on, as well as bugs people report to
Eli> them by private email.

Eli> This is the kind of burden I personally don't think we can afford
Eli> with the current number of active core maintainers.

My experience using various bug-tracking systems is that there is a
definite burden on the maintainers.  There is manual labor involved.

Now, whether this is "too much" of course depends on the particular
maintainer.  I personally prefer to use a bug-tracking system, at
least in most cases.  For one thing it ensures I don't accidentally
forget something.  I might accidentally delete a bug report from my
mail folder (this has happened) or I might lose a report (this has
happened too -- for instance my automake folder is so big that I often
lose entire threads).

Also I find I can use the bug tracking system to keep important
information.  For instance if I do some research on a bug I can add
that to the PR, then leave it for a while.  Other users can do this
too (this is a real benefit, in those rare situations where it
happens).  Also I can change the priority of a PR so that I (and other
users) know how important I think it is.

Finally on sources we have things set up so that cvs commits which
mention a PR are automatically appended to the PR itself.  That way
you can go from the PR directly to the patches which supposedly fix
the problem.  This is a pretty useful capability.

For me, in the end, bug tracking is a must-have.  I find it a useful
adjunct to email.  I also think it adds another layer of openness to a
project if you let non-maintainers access the bug database.  I think
this transparency is very important, even though its usefulness is
hard to see in an immediate way.

One last note: on sources we use Gnats.  I'm not convinced this is the
best available free software bug-tracking system.  I think bugzilla is
probably better.  OTOH, Gnats has an Emacs interface, whereas bugzilla
is web-only.


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