What are bugs? Are bugs really work items?

Christopher Hicks chicks at chicks.net
Sat Oct 9 18:12:08 UTC 2004

On Sat, 9 Oct 2004, Gervase Markham wrote:
> Christopher Hicks wrote:
>>> Changing to 'work items' is a mental jump onto the slippery slope to a 
>>> task-management system.
>> I'm running down that slide as fast as I can.
> Yeah, Chris, we know you are :-)

My failings don't include an inability to be vocal.  :)

> The problem is, last time we talked about it, the current project 
> direction was to avoid going that way.

I understand that.  I respect the motivations than went into that choice. 
But when other projects are being written that do bug, task, wiki and 
version tracking in a seemlessly integrated way bugzilla runs the risk of 
being relegated to the also-rans.  I personally think that would be tragic 
and I'd rather get teeth extracted than run PHP or Python for my daily 

Given the recent directions of opening up better cleaner interfaces for 
interacting with bugzilla I'm hopeful that a variety of existing 
technologies (wiki, svn, cvsmonitor, viewcvs, my existing billing code, 
etc.) can be integrated into a bugzilla superset which will make my life 
easier and not incur the steep uphill climb that having these things 
added to bugzilla would obviously entail.

> I guess if Dave wants to change that (or if I've completely 
> misunderstood him ;-), he'll re-open the discussion, but until then if 
> you try to get more task management features into Bugzilla, all that'll 
> happen is that you'll increasingly come into conflict with the other 
> developers.

I don't think that would be healthy for me or bugzilla.  I'd really like 
to convince people that a single-value primary key on longdescs would be 
good though.  (Bug 225221 if you're interested.)  Given that I haven't 
managed to do that yet, I'm in no way deluded enough to try to make a 
significant contribution directly to bugzilla.  I'm trying to answer 
moz-webtools list questions that I have some ability to help with or that 
Dave doesn't get to first and work on bringing together a small team to 
work on this bugzilla superset idea that I mentioned a few weeks ago, so I 
haven't given up on bugzilla or helping the bugzilla community, but 
indirect contributions seem much more effective at this stage.

> (This is a general comment, and doesn't reflect a particular opinion on 
> the question under discussion.)

I guess its a dead horse.  Sorry for beating this drum again.  I truly 
thought that some core bugzilla dev might be willing to engage in the 
semantic conversation and that it might lead to some enlightening 
conclusions.  C'est la vie.  I'll go crawl back in my hole until we've got 
something to show that people might be interested in playing with. 
Actually we should have a mailing list going this week to start discussing 
goals and design ideas.  I'll post when it's working.

Thanks for all the folks who have sent me private notes of support in this 
process.  And particular thanks and apologies to the bugzilla developers 
I've annoyed in trying to get task management implemented in bugzilla.


There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make 
it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies. And the other way 
is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.
  -- C.A.R. Hoare

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