Sunday, October 17, 2004
A modest proposal
Richard Dale pointed us to Characterizing People as Non-Linear, First-Order Components in Software Development, a worthwhile read on the process of software development. Two points struck me that may help here. First is that people are 'Good at looking around', meaning if a task is available and they know how to do it, they probably will.
Maybe the problem with bugzilla is that except for a few, it is a black box. Bugs in, not much visible or quantifiable out. How does a bug get fixed anyways? Who does it, how, what if the bug report is unclear, etc. We learn best by watching, not reading directions. My reaction whenever I look there is ACK! I'm outta here!. So what if there was something similar to the CVS-Digest for bugzilla? The report would include statistics and trends that can be computed from the data. But more importantly highlighting the interactions and flow that takes place. Reporter developer conversations where a difficult bug is tracked down. Readers would get an idea of how the system works, and would be more likely to participate. There have been a few individuals who started contributing to Kde after reading the CVS-Digest. Looking at the highlighted patches you see that it isn't that hard. Seeing the dauntingly enormous task of building a desktop, and seeing many people working diligently catches the eye, and moves people to jump in. If someone is willing to work on such a report, I am willing to help host it, or include it in the weekly digest.
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