Archive for January, 2009

Why reporting bugs is so hard?!!

What should you do – as a user – when you face a bug in an interesting open source application?! You can just forget it, and try to find a workaround or just stop using it, with the hope that it’ll be fixed soon. But a better thing to do is to report the bug. But some questions arise now, first of all: where should I submit the bug? Should I try to find and use my Linux distribution’s bug reporting system, or the application’s?
Anyway, you decide about one of them. Now, you go to one of those systems for the first time, and you find that you cannot report any bugs or adding comments to a bug before logging in, and so you should first register yourself with the bug tracking system.

Hmmm, isn’t it too much, just for reporting one bug? You are a regular user, and you’d like to help the developers with reporting bugs, but you should go through many steps before you can do it.
Specially it you want to report bugs to upstream, the situation is worse. For reporting bugs for each application for the first time, you should register… the list will grow as you try to help more: Redhat bugzill, Gnome bugzilla, Freedesktop bugzilla, openoffice.org bugzilla …
I might be too lazy, but I’ve seen that I’m not the only one who is annoyed by this. And this is why I’ve not still reopened the long standing openoffice.org bug in showing ‘justified’ paragraphs when Persian (Farsi) is selected as the CTL language (it just works if you select one of Arabic languages! So, the fix should be trivial, but this bug is in OpenOffice.org for many years!!).

Well, I’ve read some discussions about this on fedora mailing lists, and it seems that being able to report bugs without any registration is not acceptable for many reasons.
For some of the mentioned reasons, it would be enough if you ask about user’s email address when he is reporting a bug without registration, so that you can remain in touch with the reporter.
And if signing in is really desired, it would be much better if bugzilla supports OpenID, so you won’t need to register in every bugzilla system available in the Internet!