GNOME Bugzilla upgraded to 4.4.

Bugzilla logo by Dave Shea

Dear GNOME community, you all owe Krzesimir Nowak, Andrea Veri, and Olav Vitters some icecream and drinks: The Bugzilla software running on has been upgraded to the latest stable version available.

So much for the general information that I am aware of.

And some smaller stuff that I was into

I was confused that some people saw me as a point of contact for the Bugzilla upgrade, as I did nothing apart from testing, some smaller tweaks, and providing grumpy input and feedback. Though I admit that lately I have performed some smaller taxonomy changes unrelated to the actual migration though:

…and some smaller testing and simple tweaks in Bugzilla itself on its way to 4.4:

  • Common links on the frontpage: “Reported by and assigned to me”, “Created in last 5 days”, “Changed in last 5 days”. Maybe more to come, let’s see (the frontpage still has too much unhelpful stuff).
  • The Patch Report shows the author and size of patches now (bug 675822). Maybe you are more motivated to review a patch if it’s a small chunk and if it’s an unknown contributor, or one that you trust?
  • The list of your patches on your user page now displays the summary of the bug report.
  • Improved and added some stock answers for triagers.
  • Gerrit IDs in comments now automatically link to the commit (thanks to a hacking session with Olav; bug 559537). Requirement: Your Git repository name needs to match your Bugzilla product name.

Vague personal future ideas for GNOME Bugzilla

  • Best development practices:
    As I don’t see someone driving a discussion process to move GNOME to different (better?) infrastructure tools soon, I would like to make the custom “Browse product” and “Describe user” pages more useful for users to get an overview what’s there to work on and what is relevant (high priorities, new patches, target milestones) in a project. Many projects don’t really use Target Milestones or Priorities so far though I’m convinced it can be helpful if the tool properly supports you.
    Regarding practices, I’d also discourage setting a default human assignee instead of a virtual assignee for components so the list of assigned bugs per user is actually what you yourself really plan to work on.
    Furthermore, you probably do not want to set a default target milestone for the next version. It is just unrealistic and does not allow you to plan properly.
    All such stuff, you know.
  • Maintainers can be encouraged to disable old versions and target milestones: Dropdown lists become shorter. (Though not too short because users might still want to report issues in older versions. You do not help reporters if you disable the version they use – they might still report their bug but just not set the Version correctly.)
  • Remove the “URL”, “Tags”, “Hardware” fields in bug reports. Feature creep.
  • Another area that welcomes improvement is avoiding cookie-licking. Your user page lists the tasks which are assigned to you. Do you realistically plan (means: rough timeframe and actionable steps identified, and not just some “would be good” feeling) to work on those tickets assigned to you? Also, your patches are listed there.
    Bugzilla also offers an overview list of open tasks per assignee (might load slowly) to see the full situation.
  • A cronjob to dump taxomony changes into an email sent to Bugzilla maintainers as I am interested in consistency.
  • Split the “docs” components of products into “User documentation” and “Developer documentation” components so it is easier for doc contributors to find tasks to work on. To discuss on d-d-l.
  • Disable the “reviewed” patch status. It means nothing. Either a patch needs more work, or it is ready to go. To discuss on d-d-l.
  • As the section heading says: Those are just ideas. They require discussion and time but you are very welcome to steal these ideas from me.

But what ever the future brings (or not):
You all owe Krzesimir Nowak, Andrea Veri, and Olav Vitters some icecream and drinks.

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4 Responses to GNOME Bugzilla upgraded to 4.4.

  1. Leif says:


    I enjoy hearing about how different organizations use Bugzilla. I really like the custom Browse page GNOME has. It’s dashboard-like which is one major feature Bugzilla is missing out of the box IMO.

    Was it intentional not to run the Bugzilla 4 migration script that renames the bug states (e.g. NEW -> IN_PROGRESS) ?

    I use an instance of Bugzilla 4.4.x at my day-job and I personally find that ever since we started using Milestones for planning Bugzilla suddenly became invaluable. Before that it was just a big bucket of bugs that may or may not get fixed one day. We now treat the default “—” null milestone as the bug backlog, nobody is supposed to work on a bug with that milestone. Bugzilla can even enforce that by disallowing a bug to be marked IN_PROGRESS if it has the “—” milestone. We assign bugs to future milestones that match future product versions (e.g. in GNOME’s case “3.16” would be the next milestone). A few times a year we have bug review sessions and agree on which bugs from the backlog to assign to the next milestone. Then we use the Reports feature to get an idea for how the upcoming milestone is progressing. I consider it a poor man’s Kanban board. Maybe it’d be useful for GNOME.


  2. Jens says:

    Typo? “Gerrit ids => Commit ids” – Or did we switch to Gerrit for review recently :)

  3. Olav Vitters says:

    Default Bugzilla is sooo terrible. Urgh

  4. aklapper says:

    @Leif: Thanks for sharing your comment! Renaming statuses will broke any search queries that people might have savd as browser bookmarks, hence I am pretty reluctant though the new names are much better…

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