[cairo] How can we make our bugzilla situation stink less?

Carl Worth cworth at cworth.org
Wed Nov 22 09:31:46 PST 2006

I'll be honest. I've never liked bugzilla. I think it's a bad
interface on top of the wrong model in many ways.

I originally setup a bugzilla instance for cairo bugs because some
people just plain expect to be able to report bugs that way, and
because, (unlike the mailing list), it gives reporters a URL which
they can poll to check for status on a topic.

But bugzilla is still full of fatal flaws. Perhaps the worst is its
notion of a "default owner" and the pair-wise nature of the
communication it setups. Pair-wise communication isn't how we work in
the cairo community, (or anywhere in free software development), and
it isn't going to scale to let us get our work done.

For, example, a bug was just posted today:

	AX_C_FLOAT_WORDS_BIGENDIAN doesn't work because grep doesn't
	work with binary file


This is a bug related to some code that Daniel Amelang wrote. Daniel's
going to have some interest in keeping this code bug-free since he has
invested personal effort in it, and it's got his name attached to
it. He also has experience in testing the code of interest.

But there's no way we could ever set things up so that Daniel would be
the "default owner" of a component that any user would select
correctly. We could never have a sufficient list of components, and we
could never maintain that list, and even if we could, users could
never deal with the problem of selecting the correct one from such a
large list, (nor would they even be likely to have the necessary
information to make the selection).

So, that bug report gets mailed to me, since I'm the default owner of
basically everything, and I think "Oh, Daniel should fix that up right
quickly". But he can't unless he knows about it, and then I have to go
tell him about it, (as in this email here), and we've lost a lot of

Meanwhile, when Daniel does come back with a fix, he's going to need
to get it into the tree, and if that means he has to ask for someone
else to apply a patch, then we're right back where we started, (the
bugzilla entry above comes with a patch).

Anyway, we do have some things in place to make this better. First, is
that we have a cairo-bugs mailing list that gets all bugzilla-
generated mail sent to it. Everyone that is "responsible" for code in
cairo should be subscribed to that list. The instructions for
subscribing are here:


The instructions are a bit goofy since we use a bugzilla watch list
to avoid duplicate mails---but this also means I can't generate a list
of who is "subscribed", (as far as I know), which also stinks.

Meanwhile, people like Daniel and Joonas that are churning out great
code as fast as they are shouldn't be asking other people to apply
patches for them. They should just be pushing good stuff out to the
tree, (after being disciplined enough to run things through "make
test" and cairo-perf-diff to ensure there are no correctness or
performance regressions). So, Daniel and Joonas, please follow these
instructions so I can create an account for you which will let you
push directly:


So let's use those things as well as we can. And if anybody has other
ideas for helping us make more efficient use of bugzilla reports, I
would be glad to hear them.

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