Contibuting to Bugzilla (was: The Road to 2.18)

David Miller justdave at
Tue Mar 9 02:29:39 UTC 2004

On 3/8/2004 8:27 PM -0500, Christopher Hicks wrote:

> On Tue, 9 Mar 2004, Gervase Markham wrote:
>> Stuart Donaldson wrote:
>> > Don't get me wrong, I certainly appreciate all of the very thoughtful
>> > and intelligent efforts that go into maintaining and extending Bugzilla.
>> > But I am a little dismayed at the impression that the "core team" has
>> > not reached a consensus at this point that something is necessary.
>> Why is that dismaying? It's a controversial subject.
> Still!?!?!?  One would think after as many times as we've been around this
> topic that some concensus might have developed.  The inability of the core
> bugzilla developers to grapple with the desirability of custom fields at
> this point is truly surprising.

I don't think anyone's grappling with the desirability of it (except maybe
Gerv).  Gerv is often a bit out of touch, because most of these things get
discussed in IRC, and he's seldom there.  He often has very good opinions
on things, but be careful of putting too much stock into anything he says
on behalf of the team.

That said, I think it's clear among the rest of the core team that we want
this.  The remaining controversy centers around the proper way to implement
it.  And much of that hasn't had any solid decisions made simply because
the people involved in making those decisions haven't had time to review
the available options yet.  Hopefully that's changing in the near future
(see below).

> It's eerily similar to my utter
> discouragement at trying to get an obvious one-line patch added.  The way
> new contributors are repressed is unlike anything I've experienced or
> witnessed on any other open source project.

Knowing the time period around which you started contributing, I have no
problem believing this is the experience you had, as much as it pains me to
admit it.  We lost almost all active participation by anyone even remotely
related to the core team at that time because people had job changes and
new employers weren't as sympathetic about spending time on Bugzilla.  This
of course was a catch 22 situation because said people didn't even have
time to mentor new participants who might have been able to pick up the
slack once they'd been shown how things worked.  As a result, many people
who probably would have been happy to pick up that slack came and went
because no one was around to "show them the ropes."

Things started to ease up a lot around the time AOL cut the Mozilla
Foundation loose.  Myself and Myk were both working for AOL.  Myk got
stolen from AOL by the Mozilla Foundation, with support of the Mozilla
Webtools (including Bugzilla) in his job description (it was in his job
description at AOL, too, but AOL usually found other things for him to do
with his time).  Being able to work on the Open Source Bugzilla on company
time got written out of my job description around March of 2003.  I was
still working at AOL until the end of February when I resigned in order to
take a position with a new open-source based startup, with Bugzilla being
almost my entire job description and a promise that anything I do can be
contributed (I can't say much more right now, but more details will be
forthcoming as the startup makes a public appearance in the next couple
months :)

Several other of the core team that had previously been taken away have
also started having more time to help out again in the last few months, and
we were also fortunate enough to have some new contributors who showed up
about the time people were starting to have enough time to mentor folks
again, and began heavily participating.

In short, I sincerely hope that over the last month or two, and from this
point forward, that nobody has been getting ignored the way you did back
then.  I do apologize that it happened at all.  Please understand that all
of us were very frustrated last year.
Dave Miller      Project Leader, Bugzilla Bug Tracking System   

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