Re: bug reporting workflow is outdated
Patrick Strasser <email@example.com> writes:
> Developing software for a living based on a bug tracking system I know
> that dilemma. Too much bugs is not very comfortable. Bug reports are
> always of too low quality, I've seen a lot of them.
Actually, they're not always of too low quality. Debian bugs tend to be
of considerably higher quality than I see in other projects (like Ubuntu,
for example, where the bug quality is remarkably worse). And, like Ian, I
think some of that may have to do with Debian's bug reporting system,
although doubtless some of it has to do with the profile of the user
population of the projects.
> On the other side if bugs exists I'd want to fix them rather soon than
> later. The problems do not go away when you do not look at them.
Making it easier to submit bad bug reports means that package maintainers
have to spend more time triaging bad bug reports or ignoring bad bug
reports, which means they have less time to fix good bug reports. Adding
more bad bug reports will actually make software in Debian worse. It's
also demoralizing, by taking time way from something that's fun and
productive (dealing with good reports) and draining it into something
that's annoying and tedious (ignoring or triaging bad bug reports).
> If it is about quality it needs action to educate users or help them
> writing better bug reports.
Which also no one has time to do. But it turns out that not putting up a
public web form to submit bugs is a fairly good proxy for user education.
It doesn't *fix* the problem, but it does weed out a lot of users who
don't know how to file good bug reports (and some users who do, which is
indeed a drawback).
> Having a big number of open bugs is uncomfortable for sure, but I would
> not worry about it if most problems are cared for and a lot of feature
> requests are in the queue.
This is not the case now with the bug reports we already have. It could
not possibly be the case with even more poor-quality bug reports.
> Artificially throttling bug reports annoys users and makes Debian a
> worse OS.
I agree that it ignores users, but I'm fairly sure that at the moment it's
(minorly) contributing to making Debian a better OS.
> If it is hard to report bugs you will only get the reports of advanced
> users and only solve problems they can not get around - simple problems
> for basic users will persist and bug that users that do not have the
> skill to help themselves.
This isn't my experience. Debian users seem to be fairly good about
reporting simple problems readily. I make a point to try to always report
anything that I notice, personally, since I know how to write a good bug
report and can make it useful. My impression is that lots of others who
work on Debian do the same thing.
The barrier that you're going to face in arguing that Debian should have a
more typical web method of submitting bugs is that Ubuntu, which is a very
similar project with essentially the same targets for bug reporting and
almost entirely the same bugs, did this and the result was a disaster. So
you have to show how Debian could do this and not end up like Ubuntu.
Russ Allbery (firstname.lastname@example.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>