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Re: Bug statistics

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Bug statistics
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2010 01:43:50 +0900

Richard Stallman writes:

 >      > Amost 2000 bug reports not closed
 >      > is rather disturbing.
 >     Not really.  That's 2000 (minor) contributions to be grateful for, and
 >     2000 reasons for somebody new to volunteer to work on Emacs!
 > Unless they mostly came in in the last few weeks, it means
 > we are lagging in fixing the bugs after other people report them.

Sure.  Get used to it.  For a long time I thought XEmacs did a
reasonable job of responding to bug reports.  Then we got a tracker,
which for the first time provided statistical information on what was
actually happening.  Pretty distressing.  I think it is also the case
that there are a lot more "drive-by" reports[1] on the tracker so it
looks worse than it would have on the ML, even if we did have some way
to get accurate stats for the ML.  I know that several of our
developers are sloppy about closing bugs on the tracker, too.  I won't
say Emacs devs are "sloppy", but I can think of a number of reasons
why a fair number of bug fixes might not result in closing the
corresponding bug, so it's possible that Emacs suffers from a slight
bug count inflation for such reasons.

OK, "we're Emacs and we should do better than this".  Let's compare to
a number of products that I consider quite robust whose projects
provide public trackers.  Having backlogs of open bugs on the same
order of magnitude of the closed ones seems pretty consistent.  This
ratio is true of Python and Mailman.  Here are the stats for
everybody's favorite VCS which happened to be open on my desktop:

Bugs in Bazaar Version Control System

4           New bugs
1905        Open bugs
70          In-progress bugs
0           Critical bugs
194         High importance bugs
177         Incomplete bugs (can expire)

26          Bugs with patches
13          Bugs fixed elsewhere
0           Open CVE bugs - CVE reports

There appear to be 2440 bugs closed by developer action, supporting
the approximate 1:1 ratio.  This is a project which has, I believe, 5
developers paid to work on it to some extent, and another 3-5 core
contributors with jobs at the same company in related projects (eg,
working on Launchpad itself).

Now, money isn't everything, but the Bazaar developers love their
project as much as Emacs hackers love theirs, and several get paid to
work on it on top of that.  And *still* they have as many open bugs as
Emacs does!

Sure, you can and should try to reduce the number of open bugs in
Emacs, but I think you're going to end up needing to accept 4-figure
counts just like everybody else.

[1]  The report appears on the channel, but the reporter doesn't
respond to requests for more information.

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