Approach of the Bugmaster

With an air of slowly subsiding stunned bemusement, I relay the news that I have had the position of Mandriva Bugmaster bestowed upon me.

This happened in an early morning phone call from Anne Nicolas, our new Engineering Director. She called me (ostensibly) to discuss, in general terms, the situation with regards to bug management in Mandriva. After we agreed that it could do with some improvement and a good way to do this would be to appoint a bugmaster, the following exchange occurred:

Me: So, who were you thinking of for the position? If it’s going to be a community member they’ll need to have the respect and power necessary to have people follow their decisions…
Anne: I was thinking you.
Me: *comedy double take, much blinking* Er…okay?

Personally I blame tiredness. Memo to self, don’t take calls from management at 9 a.m.

So, yes, I am now the Bugmaster, and Oden has presented me with a ceremonial Edgar (from Men in Black) costume. Thanks, Oden.

So far, here’s what I’ve planned:

The things that need to be done fall into three areas.

First, current Bugzilla is a mess and must be cleaned up. This is the first priority. Some numbers – there’s 2465 bugs languishing in UNCONFIRMED state, and 220 bugs requiring action assigned to maintainers who are no longer active.

Second, we must institute a proper bug policy, and introduce a triage system for newly filed bugs, to improve the efficiency of the bug resolution process and stop bugs getting neglected. I have written a draft bug policy which is currently awaiting comments from the developer community. As far as triage goes, the bug squad (see below) will be assigned triage tasks as described in the policy.

Third, we must have ongoing monitoring of bug management. This will ensure that the triage team is doing an acceptably efficient job of triaging bugs and that maintainers are doing an acceptably efficient job of fixing them. Where this isn’t happening, corrective action will be taken (probably by me. In the Edgar costume. That’ll teach ‘em.) To this end, automated report tools will be adopted (if we can find suitable ones being used by other projects) or written (if we can’t) and I will take charge of generating regular reports which will be sent to Anne, to each maintainer and to the bug squad.

And yes, there will be a bug squad, as I don’t have a couple hundred spare hours a week to do all this on my own. The bug squad will help me with initial clean up of the Bugzilla database and will also constitute the triage team who will perform triage of newly filed bugs on an ongoing basis, according to the bug policy. We’ve already done initial recruitment to the bug squad from the Cooker mailing list, and I’ll be doing further recruitment on the Club forums once more infrastructure is in place, if more bodies are needed.

As far as infrastructure goes, the following will likely be created:

A mailing list for bug management issues. This will probably be open to the public but mostly used by bug squad members.

A triage@mandriva.com alias. This will be a Bugzilla maintainer account and will be used by bug squad members for triage tasks, to present a united and professional image.

A Wiki area for all bug-related issues. I’ve already made a start on this. Beyond what’s on the page already, the regular statistical reports will be published here.

Anything else that becomes necessary. :)

5 Responses

  1. SinnerBOFH
    SinnerBOFH May 15, 2007 at 8:46 am | | Reply

    Congratulations Adam!

    Maybe you could integrate in your Bug Stompers Squad (props to whomever gets the reference) BlogDrake’s existing bug-hunters infrastructure (guided by pacho -Pacho Ramos-).

    What do you think?

    Salut,
    Sinner

  2. jkeller
    jkeller May 15, 2007 at 10:17 am | | Reply

    Congrats, Adam! I think you’ll make a great bridge between the dev and community groups. And your recent sweep of old mdk packages shows that you have the stick-to-it-iveness needed to slog through these things for a better/cleaner result.

    Best wishes and luck!

  3. adamw
    adamw May 15, 2007 at 11:51 am | | Reply

    Thanks, John.

    Sinner, yep, that may well be done. Pacho is already in the initial group of volunteers for the bug squad, so I will talk to him about this.

  4. glyj
    glyj May 17, 2007 at 9:57 pm | | Reply

    Congrats !
    Very sad that wobo is leaving mandriva (he’s been fired …)
    And also Per Øyvind Karlsen…

    what does it mean ?

  5. adamw
    adamw May 18, 2007 at 8:49 am | | Reply

    We’ll have some kind of official statement on this, but basically: it’s about money. The company is losing money, we need to cut costs, cutting staff is a way to do that. We wouldn’t have done it otherwise and we’re very sorry to lose the developers who we’ve had to lay off. Nothing else to it, really.

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