File a bug, but where?

It’s easy to tell someone to file a bug. Knowing where to file it isn’t quite as simple. In a large project like Fedora, there is no One Tracker to Rule Them All.

Red Hat Bugzilla comes the closest. That’s where most software bugs should be filed. Except for Fedora CoreOS which would rather you use their GitHub tracker. And a few other components, which would very much prefer issues be filed upstream.

But for non-software issues, Bugzilla may or may not be the place. Components still exist for documentation and websites, although those are mostly handled via Pagure repos now. (I should really remove those components.) And some teams discuss software features in their Pagure repo for collaboration and then might open a Bugzilla bug if other tools need one.

Of course, knowing which platform is only the start. You also have to know which component (in Bugzilla) or repo (in Pagure) is right. This isn’t always clear when you’re familiar with the inner workings of the project and is entirely opaque to outsiders. A casual user is not going to know (or care) which URLs happen to be owned by the websites team versus the docs team versus who knows what other team.

And that, dear reader, is one of the key features of a centralized tracker like Bugzilla: mis-filed bugs can be trivially passed to the right team. With independent repos, you force users to know your project’s org chart

Of course, Bugzilla can be pretty heavy and is generally more complicated than you need. There’s no right answer. There’s just how you’re willing to balance the tradeoffs.

In general, I think putting software issues (bugs, features, etc) in Bugzilla and process issues in a team’s Pagure repo is the right approach. But ultimately, teams decide for themselves how they will work.

[If you are intrigued by this half-baked post, you’ll enjoy my book on program management for open source projects, coming from The Pragmatic Bookshelf in 2022.]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.