Update on bug system for OpenJDK (web-discuss)

Stephen Colebourne scolebourne at joda.org
Wed May 25 10:08:26 UTC 2011

On 24 May 2011 23:36, Dr Andrew John Hughes <gnu_andrew at member.fsf.org> wrote:
> * Bugzilla is criticised for needing code modifications to achieve
> some features, but was this necessary for JIRA, it would not be
> possible.  It's not ideal that required features aren't available as
> is, but Bugzilla being FOSS means any required feature can be added.
> This is not possible with JIRA and is a major pro in choosing Bugzilla
> IMHO. What happens if JIRA is chosen and a feature is needed down the
> line that is not available?  What choices do we have to implement it,
> given we can't modify the code?

OpenJDK isn't an open source project, its a project producing open
source. Grasping that essential truth means that having a tool that
can be altered is irrelevant, as there will be an owner (eg Oracle)
that will be able to manage the proprietary system and pay for changes
to it as and when necessary.

What you shoud be asking for is open/free *data* from the bug tracking
system (via a free to use API). If the data submitted to the bug
system is privately owned by Oracle then you have an impediment to
forking. The actual system the data resides in is pretty much
irrelevant. (ie. with open data, you could write a tool to mirror JIRA
into a Bugzilla instance and use Bugzilla if you really wanted to)

> * The interfaces to these tools is going to matter a lot for people
> reporting bugs.  Personally, the few times I've found someone using
> JIRA (which is fairly rare), navigating its interface has been a
> nightmare for me.  Bugzilla, on the other hand, is used on many FOSS
> projects, including distros like Fedora, so users will be used to this
> interface.

Every time I've had to use Bugzilla I've been amazed at how stone age
it is (looking now, it has improved a little, but its still poor). Not
that JIRA is perfect - the recent changes added far too much white
space and blandness, making the UI harder to use (are you listening
Atlassian?). Our views are not important however, what matters is
usability by "real world" users that don't write open source. I'd
wager that far more of them are comfortable with the JIRA interface
than the Bugzilla one.


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