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File a bug and make GNOME better!

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GNOME has Limited Sources

This is just a myth. All projects have limited sources. From Apple to Google. It is just like money, they never are enough. GNOME started just with 2 people, Linux started with 1 person, Android started with 4 people. GNOME has many and good developers, and the numbers are relevant to their user base. There aren’t projects with one developer and  one billion users, neither projects with one billion developers and one user.  Grow community will grow contributors, so simple.

What GNOME is really missing is a bigger testing cycle in each release. New features ends around 30 days before the stable release. That means just 3-4 weeks for testing and closing bugs in the hundreds of new features that every release brings.


The issue with bugs in GNOME

Hello, GNOME OS? Where should we file bugs when there isn’t an actual distro? GNOME bugs are scattered around. You can find GNOME bugs in Ubuntu’s bug tracking system or OpenSUSE or Arch Linux forums, or wherever else. This is fault of GNOME release procedure. Hopefully that will change in the short future with the introduction of GNOME daily builds. But still daily builds is not the perfect solution.

GNOME (and specially GNOME Shell) has different kind of bugs depending on distro. For example, Ubuntu with GNOME Shell 3.6 has different behavior than Fedora with GNOME 3.6. How we can distinguish if a bug is actually a GNOME bug or a distro bug?

We can’t, or if you want the most people cannot. There are two solutions. Either use a distro like Fedora which is a more “naked” or “pure” GNOME implementation or for every bug you find in GNOME no matter the distro, spam (in a good way) the GNOME bugzilla. Personally, I support the second way.

Ubuntu Users: I am not familiar with Canonical’s bug track system, so I attach Jani Uusitalo comment here:

At least for Ubuntu users, I recommend filing those bugs on Launchpad. The package maintainers are usually able to tell pretty quickly if the issue is an upstream one, in which case you then file it upstream (in Gnome’s bugzilla) and link the two reports (there’s built-in functionality in LP precisely for this purpose). When the distributor’s tracker is your first port of call, you won’t (usually) be bothering upstream unnecessarily with distro-specific issues.

In fact, I sometimes file bugs on LP even when I know the issue is an upstream one, and then just link the reports right away. This way other Ubuntu users, who can’t tell the difference and would file the bug on Launchpad anyway, are saved the trouble.

Notice that Ubuntu in 13.04 will use some components of old GNOME (3.6) and not 3.8.


File a bug

To file a bug you need to have at least the latest stable release. This is currently GNOME 3.6. The very best way to submit bugs is to have GNOME from sources with JHBuild. Changes in the next GNOME are massive, but if you can’t have a JHBuild installation, current version will do.

The only thing you need to do is a GNOME Bugzilla account, and you are ready to submit your very first bug! It will be also a good idea if you would registered in the corresponding mailing lists.

Common Sense Notes

The following guidelines are obvious, but I am just attaching them in any case ;)

  • Making sure the bug has not already been reported before
  • Making sure the bug has enough information for the developers and makes sense
  • Making sure you reproduce the bug as much as clear as possible
  • Making sure the bug is filed in the correct place
  • Making sure the bug has sensible “Severity” and “Priority” fields
  • Making sure the bug is versioned correctly

GNOME Bugzilla Quick FAQ

1. I am not sure if the bug is duplicated

Submit it! It is better for GNOME to have a duplicated bug rather a missing one.

2. I don’t have deep knowledge to add many information about the bug

Just describe what you see. People there will guide you how to make some further testing if necessary. You don’t need to know more than what you see to submit a bug.

3. Can I request a new feature?

Bugzilla is not the best place for asking about new features or complaining about existing ones. If you want to propose a new feature use the Mailing Lists instead. However you can ask for various enchantments.

4.  I submitted a bug, but I got no response 

Your bug has been seen by GNOME developers.  Depending the severity, it might takes some time to get a reply back.

5. My bug has been marked as “WONT FIXED”

There is always a reason behind a “Won’t Fixed”. Right or wrong, you can’t but respect it.  If you want to discus further a “won’t fixed” bug, use Mailing Lists.

6. My bug has been reviewed but none has step on it

Happy Hacking ;)


Gossip

Don’t underestimate the power of Gossip. Socials or Gossials?

gossip
pjcrook.com

Best way to contribute in GNOME is by using it and spread the word ;)


Sources


 
  We can't watch comments unless G+ provides an API or if you send a notification, e.g +World Of Gnome
     Sometimes is better to place your questions on GNOME Community
  • http://www.facebook.com/Rajesh.KSV Rajesh Ksv

    I generally log bugs in Launchpad under gnome/gnome-shell sections since I use Ubuntu where I get a good response there as well. So you are suggesting to log at bugzilla instead so that all Gnome bugs will be at one place ?

    • alex285

      Yes. However @google-de31253397522fac9cf8619290aa2a8f:disqus speaks about linking bugs from launchpad to Gnome Bugzilla.

    • JJ

      It is actually good to log bugs in launchpad first. If it is Gnome bug they will guide you. If it is a gnome bug also add your comments to the bugzilla and keep a watch on your bug.

  • Jani Uusitalo

    At least for Ubuntu users, I recommend filing those bugs on Launchpad. The package maintainers are usually able to tell pretty quickly if the issue is an upstream one, in which case you then file it upstream (in Gnome’s bugzilla) and link the two reports (there’s built-in functionality in LP precisely for this purpose). When the distributor’s tracker is your first port of call, you won’t (usually) be bothering upstream unnecessarily with distro-specific issues.

    In fact, I sometimes file bugs on LP even when I know the issue is an upstream one, and then just link the reports right away. This way other Ubuntu users, who can’t tell the difference and would file the bug on Launchpad anyway, are saved the trouble.

    • alex285

      Thanks for referring that. I added this, although I am not familiar on this feature.

  • http://0rAX0.deviantart.com Reda Lazri

    One thing that will really help is making GNOME dev releases available as live images earlier, or at least an initial live image that can be updated manually. I’ve seen so many little bugs in the final 3.6 release that could have been totally avoided.

    • alex285

      Not really a little bug, when Empathy’s AppMenu is broken in 3.6. This shouldn’t be a blocker bug? I guess (idk) they haven’t notice that till late, so I think Gnome lacks in testing more than in development, that it does great.

      • http://0rAX0.deviantart.com Reda Lazri

        Yes, that’s an unfortunate bug. I was referring to the equivalent of “paper cuts” in Ubuntu. :)

  • JJ

    One of the most important thing to note that if you file a bug, monitor and follow up it. If it doesn’t get any response say in a month or so, chances are that gnome developers lost it among the myraid of other bugs. So, go add a reminder, ask for help etc. This will really help in getting better responses and issue might get solved faster.

    If you just file a bug and forget it, the developers also might forget about it.

  • sramkrishna

    Great, article, Alex! :) BTW we are looking to close some bugs for the 3.8 release. If you’re interested, please help us fix some of the bugs. Matthias Mclasen has a list, help us out and help make the release even more awesome than it is :)

  • Jeff

    That’s cute and all, but in all honesty we can’t afford to just keep piling new bug reports upon the hundreds (and sometimes thousands) we have. See http://jeff.ecchi.ca/blog/2012/10/08/reducing-our-core-apps-software-inventory/ for the full explanation.

    I personally think it is critically important to revisit your (and others’) “old bugs” and close them if possible.

  • Ade Malsasa Akbar

    It is simpler for GNOME user (all nongeeks) if bugzilla replaced with blog. Just comment for bug reporting or feature request. Maybe if can’t, just give us alternative to easier report :) Bugzilla is so unfamiliar and foreign for us (nongeek and nonprogrammer). Thank you…