Please don’t shoot the Bugzilla devs

So got upgraded to Bugzilla 3.2 last night.  Since the upgrade, there’s been a lot of complaints about the new UI.

First off, given the differences in the way Mozilla uses Bugzilla compared to a lot of other places, some of these complaints are valid.  But, please try to be polite and state exactly why you think you have issues and suggest ways for improvement.  Don’t just run around saying it sucks or file bugs stating that you’re ticked off at the world because we broke your workflow.

One of the primary complaints Bugzilla as a product has received over the years is how the UI is ugly and hard to manage.  The last year or so the Bugzilla developers have been spending a lot of effort to fix that problem, with the assistance of professional UI designers.  Some of them are taking personal offense to some of the feedback we’ve gotten so far this morning about the UI changes because it makes them feel like all the work over the last year was for nothing if everyone just wants the old UI back.

Yes, in some cases, maybe you just have to suck it up and learn a new way to do things.  In others, there’s probably a lot of room for us to still clean things up.  In either case, please don’t burn the Bugzilla devs in effigy or anything. :)  Be kind on the bugs you file (but do file them).  Be constructive.  Don’t say “This and this are bad they way they are now, please put them back how they were.”  Do tell us “this is my usage case and what I need to do with Bugzilla, and here’s why the old way helped me be efficient doing this. Let’s come up with a way for it to be easy for me to do this again.”  In all honesty, I bet there’s use cases that weren’t thought of in the current design, and maybe it was just overlooked.  Give them the benefit of the doubt, and let us work with you to get something set up that makes your life easy again (maybe we’ll come up with something even better than both the old way and the current way, who knows?)

The major upgrade to 3.2 is done.  All the schema changes that took hours to run are in place.  Deploying changes to the UI at this point is just be the flip of a switch and it’ll just be live with no downtime at all, in most cases, so we can continue to tweak as we go over the next few weeks.  But please try not to get pissed at us and let us help fix it.  We really weren’t intentionally trying to break your world, you know. 🙂

What do you want to see while you wait?

On, when you run a search, if your browser supports “server push,” Bugzilla will show you an interim page while the search runs.  Currently it shows an animated dino head (left) chomping on bugs, and the text “Please wait while your bugs are munched retrieved.”  It’s cute and all, but it’s kind of getting old.  And being that the page is entirely a cosmetic thing designed to entertain you while you wait, we should change it out once in a while anyway.  We’re planning to upgrade Bugzilla tomorrow night, and it’s the perfect opportunity to spice it up a little.

Gerv’s got a few ideas over on bug 438362… a neat javascript backed game where you click on the ants or somesuch.  If you like it or think you’d hate it, comment here (go try the mockups on the bug first).

If you have other ideas, or can implement one of the existing ones, feel free to post them on the bug.  I have a couple ideas, but no artistic skills to implement them…

  • A Mozilla dino standing there waiting for bugs – Buggie walks over to him carrying a basket of critters and hands it to him.
  • Buggie standing there with his hand shielding his eyes from the sun, turning his head back and forth like he’s looking for something…

Maybe if we have several of these things, it could randomly pick one each time.

Buggie poses for you, courtesy of Dave Shea.

Bugzilla: 10 years ago today

On April 7, 1998, Terry Weissman announced the creation of, a new bug tracking system for keeping track of bugs in the Mozilla code base.

Bugzilla is here.  She’s very young, and fragile.  But if you treat her kindly, she’ll remember your bug reports for you.  When she grows up a little, she’ll become invaluable in helping track what is actually being done to the codebase.

On April 15th, a mere 8 days later, the first person requested the source code.

I like bugzilla!  Its cool!  If I wanted to use it for my own (non-Mozilla) project, how can I go about getting a copy?

But alas, it was still a proprietary Netscape product at the time.  In fact, we learn from Terry in that thread:

you need to be aware that it is built on top of the Kiva application server stuff, and on top of a database (I think it’s an Oracle database). Neither of these things are free.

Wow. Not only were they not free, they were expensive.  Kiva cost about $35,000 at the time, and Oracle…  if you had to ask, it was too much. :)  Not only that, but:

first we’d have to convince the folks here at Netscape who wrote it (not me) that this is something they want to do.  That might to be doable, but it hasn’t been attempted yet.  It’s always possible that someone at Netscape has plans to make money off of selling that code.

But that request apparently bore fruit.  On August 26, 1998, with this post, Terry Weissman announced that a new completely rewritten version of Bugzilla had been deployed on  What’s more, this new version included the source code being available for download, and it ran under Apache using MySQL for the database.

The first checkin to CVS was at 11:15pm PDT, August 25, 1998.

Happy 10th anniversary to the open source Bugzilla Project!

Awesome Bugzilla Publicity

So I’ve been a bit busy with things lately and I’m just starting to catch up on a couple podcasts I regularly listen to, one of them being CNET’s Buzz Out Loud, which I’m still a few weeks behind on. This is where Molly Wood, Tom Merritt, and Jason Howell discuss tech news for 20 or 30 minutes every weekday. Well, back in the last week of June, they were talking about Bill Gates having his last week at Microsoft as a full-timer, and it somehow turned into a conversation about Bugzilla. :)  It was so awesome, especially Molly’s last line at the end before they got back to the actual story. 🙂

Source: CNET Buzz Out Loud Podcast, Episode 752 @ time index 20:50

TOM: It’s Bill Gates’ last week on the job at Microsoft, although he’ll still be working there, after his last day, part time.

MOLLY: Whether they want him to or not.

TOM: He’ll be the..  I think we speculated he’ll be a bug squasher?

MOLLY: Yeah, something like that

TOM: He’ll just be getting..  they’ll be filing bugs to Bill and he’ll just like hunt ’em down

MOLLY: They’ll give him his own special Bugzilla queue.

TOM: Yeah…  Heh, yeah, like they’re using Bugzilla.

MOLLY: Who isn’t?  Everybody uses some form of Bugzilla for bugs.

TOM: That’s a good question: Is Microsoft using Bugzilla …

MOLLY: (interrupting) Sure!

TOM: … or do they have their own proprietary bug-killing system …

MOLLY: (interrupting) Oh, come on…

TOM: … er, bug-tracking system?  Er, you — Microsoft using an open source bug tracking system?

MOLLY: Oh, well, I guess

TOM: I dunno, it’s just a question in my mind.

MOLLY: I was like who? Everyone… what? Come on…  Bugzilla, it’s just what you use!

Bugzilla at OSCON 2008

Bugzilla will again be participating at the Mozilla booth at OSCON.  Max and I will both be there from 2:30 to 3:30 on Thursday afternoon for sure, and you may find us hanging out at other times as well.  If there’s any other Bugzilla folks going to OSCON, please drop in and help us. :)  Last year Bugzilla got a pretty good reception (we generated more non-Mozilla-employee traffic at the Mozilla booth than Firefox did!)

If you’re trying to find me at OSCON, follow this link for where I plan to be (the sessions listed are subject to change based on my whims as we get closer to OSCON of course).