This page talks about the state of bugbusting on FreeBSD, and discusses how we can improve.
Currently we are not doing as well at handling Problem Reports as we could. So, how can we fix this?
The main problem is that we have more PRs coming in than we have volunteers working on fixing them. This is due to several reasons:
- We have no "culture" of bugbusting.
- Bugbusting is not as much fun as adding new features.
- Traditionally, we had never figured out a way to let our non-committers help us.
- We have not done a good job of managing our users' expectations of what the developers can reasonably accomplish.
Our current status
- The ports PRs have automated systems written to both assign them to committers (when possible), to notify maintainers, and to remind maintainers if they have not responded. In addition, a 2-week timeout period has been adopted. Thus, the ports PRs tend to have fairly good clearance rate, and are in relatively reasonable shape.
- The other PRs (in particular bin/ and i386/) tend to have a lower clearance rate, although it has improved recently.
What has been done recently
- We have created a way for non-committers to get access to GNATS. While this is reserved for the most persistent volunteers, it has produced good results.
We have done several Bugathons to get more people involved.
- We have advocated more active use of the #freebsd-bugbusters IRC channel.
- We have started closing some of the PRs that have little hope of being addressed (in particular, the "how do I make XYZ work" type), and recommending that they instead ask questions on the mailing lists. This will help us focus more on actual bugs.
- Several people have been contacting PR submitters and asking whether the problems still exist. (For problems in bin/, this is more often true than you might expect). A large number of obsolete PRs have been closed.
- We have been eliminating duplicate PRs.
What we still need to do
- Get more committers looking at the recommended PRs, and getting them committed.
- Figuring out more ways for non-committers to help us.
- Attract more attention to the mailing list and IRC channel, to try to create more of a "culture".