Friday, August 7, 2009

Idea: Centralized minimal effort bug reporting

Suppose you are running Ubuntu, and for some strange reason, the cursor disappears intermittently. You don't know why, and you don't really feel like quitting what you're doing to probe into it.

If you were a Good, community-loving person, you might do this for every bug you encounter:
  • Search for an existing bug report similar to your own
  • Create an account on the project's bug tracking website (if they have one, otherwise, sign up with the project's mailing list)
  • Go to your e-mail and click the confirmation
  • Navigate through the bug reporting interface
  • Find a way to consistently reproduce your bug
  • Describe, in detail, what your bug is and how to reproduce it.
  • Wait for a response
  • Attach more information
  • Recompile the program in question with a patch you receive
  • Describe more details
In short, reporting bugs is a painstaking process. That's why I, for one, rarely ever do it.

Wouldn't it be great if you could simply go to one website and fill out a form like this? :

Project(s): Ubuntu, GNOME, Xorg, Compiz
Description: Cursor disappears intermittently. It's kind of annoying. Someone else borrowing my computer noticed it, and it's kind of an embarrassment. Pls fix kthx.

That's all you really care to say (you don't even need to say that much). Just click submit, and go back to what you were doing. If you really feel like following it, you can bookmark the link to the bug ID (e.g. ). Less lazy people might search through the bug reports and mark yours as an instance of theirs, giving it more weight. Developers might respond on the website so you (and other victims) can see how progress is coming along.