2 Nov 2010 jbrefort   » (Journeyer)

Free software, bugs, and users

I'm sometimes disappointed by what users say about free software. I currently read things like: I can't use this software just because... and there follows various things, generally a missing feature, but it might also be a bug. These people seem to not know that they can (and should) send feature requests or bugs reports to the developers. And even, sometimes, the feature exists but they could not find it, but that's another point. Free software gives a lot of rights to the users, I'd like a lot if they more often used the right to report bugs.

Now, another common issue, where the bugs should be reported? My personal opinion is that upstream is the best unless the issue is clearly related to packaging. Many users report to the bugs database of their distribution and not all distributions relay the information to upstream, so some easy to fix bugs can exist for a long time before upstream developers become aware of the issue. Yesterday evening, while searching the net for bugs, I found this one. It took around one minute to understand what happened and five to fix, but the report had been there since four months, and, as it was not correctly triaged, we had actually not a lot of chance to know about it. I don't know if it has been fixed in oocalc or whatever exists in libreoffice.

My conclusion is that we should say to all users, that if anything does not go the way they want, they should report, not wait things change spontaneously.

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