Mozilla Personal

80% Won’t Be Fixed?

I just got done reading Robert Accettura’s post referring to a New Your Times article about how 80% of Firefox bugs won’t be fixed for Firefox 3. Shocking isn’t it? It sure was shocking for me.

I’m really surprised that such a reputable news organization would post such an inaccurate article. The article talks about how only 20% of the blockers are actually expected to be fixed. While this may be true, a bug that is marked blocking-firefox3+ doesn’t actually mean a software bug exists. This is probably the most common assumption that I see people outside of Mozilla making – if a bug is filed on something, that there is something wrong with the product. The reality of the situation is that any change anyone wants to make to the code gets a bug filed for it. This means that if you want to add a feature, you file a bug. You want to rewrite some code but not change functionality? That requires a bug too. Want to remove an unused feature? That also needs to have a bug filed.

Looking at the current Download Manager bugs that are blocking Firefox 3, most aren’t software bugs. About 13 are user interface tweaks, four are feature requests, and the rest are software bugs. Of the software bugs, only six I’d really consider to be serious bugs, while the rest are fairly minor (but minor does not imply trivial to fix – that rant will have to come some other day).

Anyway, my point is that everything you read on the Internet isn’t 100% accurate, so try to think about what it is you are reading!

By Shawn Wilsher

The man behind the site.

2 replies on “80% Won’t Be Fixed?”

Sadly, the word “bug” has long become associated with “software error” even though the Mozilla notion of “bug” is “task”, which covers everything from suggestion over “don’t forget” to an actual error.

There is software out there that uses “task” instead of “bug” to avoid this confusion.

I like the word “bug” but obviously it is prone to misunderstandings, resulting in people like the NYT writer assuming exceptionally bad software quality behind everything that mentions this word. :(

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