Archive for the ‘computer’ Category

Wikimedia Bug Management and the Outreach Program for Women

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

For the last three months I had the pleasure to have an intern for my bugmaster job at Wikimedia, as part of the Outreach Program for Women (OPW) for Free and Open Source Software. It is organized by GNOME and the Wikimedia Foundation participated with six positions.

opw-logo

Valerie’s proposal was to create a proposal for a better feedback workflow, to organize public bug days which we now run every other week as part of the QA weekly goals, and to do bug report triaging. Valerie succeeded in all of them and blogged about her experience and progress, but I’d like to summarize and highlight some of her achievements here.

Valerie analyzed which important Wikimedia feedback channels link to each other and Bugzilla and created a diagram of the current situation, and also a bug life cycle flowchart describing the life of a bug report by its status changes over time. That diagram is now also embedded in our wiki documentation making it easier to understand for Bugzilla newcomers “how things work”.

Wikimedia Foundation Logo

She also wrote and published two blogposts in the Wikimedia Blog explaining how to create a good first bug report and how to help Wikimedia squash software bugs. And apart from co-organizing a number of bugdays, Valerie also participated in Mobile QA by testing the Commons Upload app, helped me with Bugzilla administration (creating new products and components), and taught me about Bugzilla functionality that I had never used before, yay. :)

As this was the first time that I intensively mentored somebody I must say that it went surprisingly well, realizing the presence of all those skills which are helpful for bug triaging: Good analytic skills (what a bug report is about and what not), finding your way to gather information via the query interface, spotting things in the Bugzilla interface and being curious enough to investigate yourself, and a structured approach to testing by using different browsers, coming up with quick testcases yourself, and being aware of MediaWiki’s deployment schedule (basically: which software version is deployed on which server).

So I think we’ve learned a lot from each other, and I’m very happy that Valerie is going to stay involved in our community and bug management.

In general, I’d like to thank Marina Zhurakhinskaya (for GNOME) and Quim Gil (for Wikimedia) for organizing OPW and I am delighted to see more projects planning to join the next round (like KDE, Perl, and more).
The application period for the next round of OPW has already started and its deadline is May 1st. Check out the central wikipage if you’re interested!

Wikimedia’s Bug Management

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Wikimedia Foundation Logo

About three months ago I started as bugmaster / bugwrangler of the Wikimedia Foundation (the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia). It’s about time to finally blog before everybody expects WMF to be the same black hole that Google is seen as when it comes to free and open source people suddenly disappearing. ;)

A Day in the Life of a Bugmaster

As part of my daily work I take a look at the latest Wikimedia bug reports and go through some of the feedback sources (like Village Pumps or Greasepits) in the many projects under the Wikimedia umbrella. I also often take a look at reports with immediate and highest priority.

Code

Earlier in December we managed to upgrade Bugzilla from 4.0.9 to version 4.2.4. The upgrade itself did not go 102% perfectly, but still went extremely smooth and way better than I was afraid of.

As I’ve used Greasemonkey scripts for years now to save some time when triaging bug reports, I’ve published the ones that I use in Wikimedia Bugzilla here. Patches are welcome, and the code could likely use some refactoring anyway (IANAC).

And more!

I’ve retriaged a bunch of tickets that were previously marked as “RESOLVED LATER” in Bugzilla and disabled that resolution for future use (also see the related mailing list discussion), plus the huge backlog of unprioritized tickets.

I’ve improved and wrote lots of documentation related to bug triaging, for example a triage guide.

We discussed the interpretation of “Highest priority” and ended up introducing an “Immediate priority” which leaves less room for interpretation.

Plus I got in smaller fixes, e.g. fixing some regexes in Wikimedia’s Bugzilla extensions.

You can find weekly status updates that I publish.

The things around

In the last three months MediaWiki/Wikimedia bug management have seen and survived the merge of ContentHandler, a new media player (TimedMediaHandler) for better HTML5 multimedia support, and first deployments of improved user experience tools such as ArticleFeedback 5, VisualEditor and Notifications. First Wikidata deployments and moving to a new data center are on the list of potential disruptions for early 2013.
And I’ve had fun with server software upgrades, understanding our release cycles and continouos deployment, and watching and analyzing the usage (or non-usage) of the bugtracker by different development teams.

Future

I still need to prioritize my long backlog of potential future plans and ideas. Of course some smaller drive-by cleanups have taken place already.

Among the plans for early 2013 are automatic notifications from Gerrit into Bugzilla about patch status changes (Wikimedia Germany seems to work on that), component watching via bugmail, and a new and more useful Bugzilla frontpage.

Plus for the next three months I will have the pleasure to work with Valerie as part of the Outreach Program for Women. Part of the grand plan is to start having monthly bug days to triage bug reports together – are you in?

And of course WMF is hiring – take a look if there’s a position that fits you!

Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit 2012

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Marina, Daniel, Muslim and I represented GNOME at the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit.
As a nice coincidence, my colleagues Sumana and Rob also went their representing the Wikimedia Foundation.

After attending a session about project management I realized that there might be further interest to discuss bug management / issue tracking so I set up a session for Sunday that about 15 people attended in order to discuss problems and practices. For those with an account, the log is available.
I also attended sessions on Continuous Integration, Community Metrics and other topics.

Big thanks to Google for sponsoring and arranging a welcoming conference with a wide range and variety of topics.

GNOME: Do you want to participate in Google Code-In?

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Google Code-In 2011

While I organized and ran Google Code-In for GNOME for the last years (a contest for 13-17 year old students) I won’t have enough spare time this year. So the question is if GNOME wants to take part in it (mentors, anyone?), and if somebody volunteers to organize it. The deadline for applying to take part is November 5th (in two weeks).
Organizing means: Setting up our wikipage (last year’s version, see the ChangeLog how to start), doing the paperwork (registration, documented on our wiki), nagging developers and community members to become mentors and provide tasks, and while the contest is running making sure that mentors respond quickly.

So if you feel like getting fresh young people into GNOME and open source: Be bold!
I will of course be around for questions and to support you, and help out.

Free knowledge: Here we go.

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Wikimedia Foundation Logo

I am very happy to announce that from next week on I am going to help Wikimedia Foundation (the organization behind Wikipedia and further projects) tame their bug tracker and manage everything and anything related to issue reports and feature requests.
This job is called a “bug wrangler” (also known as “bugmaster“).

I already had the pleasure to attend the Wikimedia Hackathon earlier this year to get to know the awesome community of this large and important project better and to discuss some patterns, problems and plans. To be continued…

GUADEC 2012: Discussions!

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse'” — Henry Ford

GUADEC 2012 logo

Continuing to write about this year’s GUADEC conference that ended a few days ago. It should be obvious that opinions in this blogpost are my own.

The state of GNOME

Many people discussed the concerns expressed by Benjamin in a recent blog post. I know that Benjamin deeply cares about GNOME but I am not sure with some of the conclusions – some feel unproven. Dropping some thoughts here to comment some of the statements.

  • For the (non-)variety of people working on GTK+ anybody can get his/her own impression by taking a look at the GTK+ commit log (though that is just the master branch). Same for any other project. If you want to get numbers, git clone a module repository and run git log –after=2010-08-01 –author=” –pretty=format:”%ae” | sort -u | wc -l to see how many different authors got code changes committed in the last two years. We can all still differ in interpreting those numbers of course. ;)
  • With regard to the statement that “[m]ost important desktop applications have not made the switch to GNOME 3″, I am not sure which extend “GNOME 3″ is meant to imply.
    Picking one of the core parts by taking a look at GTK+3 acceptance, you can follow the ongoing efforts of Mozilla porting to GTK+3 in this bug report, see on page 19 of Michael’s slides that there is “an improving prototype” of gtk+3 for LibreOffice, enable Inkscape’s experimental GTK+3 build when compiling, or try out GIMP’s branch for the GTK+3 port.
    Work is clearly in progress and I traditionally don’t consider big complex projects as early adapters.
  • Not sure how to interpret “losing mindshare” either, so I can only state that GNOME received about 41000 changes (only counting the master branches in the GNOME Git repository, work can also happen in other branches plus some teams also use external infrastructure) by approximately 1275 people for version 3.4, and about 38500 changes by approximately 1270 people for 3.2. I know this does not tell anything in the long term. Unfortunately I do not have numbers from before 3.0 handy (I gathered the aforementioned data for writing the last release notes), but iterating over all GNOME Git repositories (list available here) and using git log –after=yyyy-mm-dd –before=yyyy-mm-dd –pretty=oneline | wc -l syntax should be doable for anybody interested. Note though that the list linked above does not include modules that were archived in Git (see the Git web interface) so this would require a bit more work to also include them.
    Apart from sheer numbers, GNOME provides and takes part in several outreach programs (Google Summer of Code, GNOME Women Outreach Program, Google Code-In) with a high number of contributors staying in our community after programs have ended (I don’t remember exact numbers but Marina mentioned this in her talk about the Women Outreach Program). You don’t need to wait for a program though to get involved – GnomeLove and its large number of mentors let your start your journey at any time!
  • Dominance of one company: Page 16 of Dave Neary’s GNOME Census from two years ago lists 16.3% commits by Red Hat employees. Judging is up to each individual, but it would require updated data to really judge the situation in 2012.
    Still, likely everybody agrees that GNOME would benefit from more companies involved. Every project out there probably would. We have seen companies cutting involvement in the past (IBM, Sun, Nokia) so that is nothing new. Companies need compelling reasons why to invest in the GNOME platform, the community, and GNOME’s future. If current reasons and future plans are not well-defined and convincing this is something to discuss and improve, on several levels (mostly advisory board, foundation board, release-team, but also all the other hard-working teams that make GNOME the awesome project that it is).
    Picking up two examples: Do we advertise enough our awesome translator community with its high quality translations for dozens of languages? Is our developer story convincing enough? Surely there is always room for improvement: The translation community plans to improve outreach and make it easier to start translating by helping with setting priorities. New tutorials for developers are in the making for 3.6 (and any developer is welcome to help by providing short code snippets). And when I take a look at the new features coming in the next release it clearly feels like the most active development cycle in the GNOME 3 era so far (Allan named some already in his post).
  • In order to respond to expectations expressed by some community members towards the release team (mostly in regard to leadership in case of potential conflicts or confusion about direction), the GNOME release team asked the community: “Which role do you expect the release team to have?” (slides are available). Frédéric’s blogpost covered this topic already.
    As written in the slides, the release team serves our community but it’s up to our community to decide to which extent. Its current self-understanding is to “try to not get into the way“. The release team did not express its position in order to initiate an open discussion.
    If the community thinks that there are ways in which the release team can help the GNOME project to perform even better, then the release team will be happy to do so. The direct feedback at the conference seemed to be very positive and expressed lots of trust in the release team’s work, but more feedback (especially by those not attending GUADEC) is needed before proposing potential changes.
    (Disclaimer: I am a member of the GNOME release team.)
  • With regard to criticism which sometimes comes up on the transparency of decisions: It is a fact that many discussions happen in real time on IRC (or via other channels, like Google hangouts), in the timezone of the developers, and not on mailing lists only.
    IRC makes it harder for interested people to follow those discussions if you live on the other side of the world or are not online all of the time. My very personal opinion is that IRC logging might help to be able to get a better understanding of the reasons why and how some decisions were taken.
    The fast pace of GNOME’s development is impressive, combined with summarizing and communicating plans early through further communication channels (mailing lists, blogs) so people can also provide feedback if they cannot follow GNOME development that closely. In this field, Allan does an awesome job with his regular blogposts on what the design team is up to so people can chime in to contribute and get involved.

Other random short bits

  • Proposed with some friends Brno (CZ) to host GUADEC 2013. Strasbourg (FR) is the other option (and also a great city!). Final decision to be made by the GNOME Foundation Board in September or so.
  • I was part of the papers committee, deciding which talks to have (we did not refuse many as the offer was quite convincing), and trying to schedule them. Though we clearly had absolutely no influence on it, I’ve been told by a few people that this year’s talks were of high quality, so congratulations and thanks to all speakers for interesting topics and good presentations!
  • 17% of GUADEC attendees were female! I hope that number will continue to increase.
  • Lots of very passionate Women Outreach Program (GWOP) and Summer of Code (GSoC) students attended the conference, with an awesome diversity. It seems that our community was perceived as very welcoming. I hope that many people will stay involved and help GNOME to evolve by participating in discussions on GNOME’s future and direction. Folks, you are the future of GNOME!

Thanks to everybody who traveled to A Coruña in order to participate, and to all our sponsors, making this the best GUADEC ever!

Attendees group picture

A Monday at GUADEC 2012

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Today was the first of two BoF session days at this year’s GUADEC in not-too-hot Galicia. There are quite some BoFs taking place.

As planned a few weeks ago I spent this morning with GNOME’s wonderful Accessibility crew. This led to two results:

After sneaking in for a few minutes to the Geary session (which looked like a nice and interesting way to gather feedback of potential users on the functionality scope) I went to the Translation/Localization/Internationalization BoF session.
Among the discussed topics were a calendar to enter planned release dates of projects, better outreach, reorganizing modulesets and setting better priorities to help teams where to start translation efforts, glibc locales, handling dead git modules, handling dead translation teams, killing docbook in favor of Mallard, counting strings vs counting words, damned-lies improvements, gtranslator improvements and IRC bots for logging chats. See the wiki for a full list of topics and task assignees.

I also went to some other impromptu/informal meetings to discuss certain topics but missed the “GNOME OS” session today.
Probably should blog about a few more things in the next days.

Bits and pieces from GUADEC 2012.

Friday, July 27th, 2012

This city is foggy at 3:30AM.

  • Conference feels well organized and things (wifi, sound, projectors) work.
  • Daniel said that his talk will include pictures of me but I think he fibs. Still not sure whether to consider him a trustworthy source of information after all those years.
  • Happy to see some new faces and that it feels like the highest ratio of women among the attendees ever.
  • The release-team (those 67% that are present) had a meeting to discuss stuff and such.
  • Hotel is a bit outside but has a nice bar so GNOME folks sit outside together till late at night.
  • Andreas Nilsson has found his favorite hairstyle.

GUADEC conference! Next week!

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Yet another notorious “I go to GUADEC” post.

My everchanging plans are to provide the Bugsquad annual report at the AGM meeting and to maybe theoretically join Gil Forcada in his talk “Towards less i18n barriers and more (quality) translations” on Saturday morning. Oh wait, morning? Well, we’ll see.

And to split my body on Monday to attend both the Accessibility BoF and the Localization BoF! Somehow! It’s magic!

Other vague plans feature the terms “parties”, “swimming”, “release team meeting”, “football match” and “GUADEC 2013 hosting intentions”.

I hope to see you around!

GNOME.Asia summit over

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

GNOME.Asia summit ended five hours ago. A big thanks to our friendly and welcoming organizers for their great work and the good time that we had (and still have) here in Hong Kong, and to the companies that sponsored this conference. As sleep is a precious treasure I’m just posting five of the snapshots that I made and leave writing detailed posts to others.

OpeningAllan, Jon and Jakub's talkThunderstorms for free!Liansu's talkClosing

I’d like to thank the GNOME Foundation for their sponsorship! Sponsored by GNOME Foundation