Murray's Blog

Qt’s Bug Tracker Is Not Very Open

I use Qt again these days in addition to gtkmm and the rest of the GNOME stuff. Things have improved lots since I last used it seriously, though it’s still a little eccentric.

Not long ago there was no public Qt bug tracker whatsoever, but now there almost is. And Qt now uses a public git repository for (most of) its ongoing work. And it’s LGPL now. Still, when there’s a real bug tracker (just use bugzilla, please) and real open development on a mailing list then I will be much happier. I hope they get there.

Successful Open Source Needs More Than Just a License

Regular Bugzilla’s such as GNOME’s or Maemo.org’s allow people to report problems, see previously-reported problems, and generally see how problems are dealt with. People can help other users and provide improvements to the software in a structured environment. Even without the aid of a bugmaster, the system gathers valuable information. You just register, login, and use it.

When the developers (or the bugmaster) are not responsive then bugzilla provides the necessary public pressure to fix things. When developers are responsive it makes users happy and loyal. Being open increases quality. Being closed hides lack of quality.

Qt’s public bug tracker is not open like that, even if you manage to find a link to it. I’ve only used it a little, but it’s been disappointing so far.

Bug Reporting Is Not Open

To file a bug you must:

Even if you manage to get your bug accepted, there’s no “My bugs” list where you can track the progress of your issues. One of my email conversations just ended with a promise that it would be fixed, but no bug report was ever opened for that work to be tracked and confirmed.

Bug Reports are Read-Only

You can view some open (and accepted) bugs, but you can’t add any comments to them. So you can’t offer advice or a patch, or even give a clue about when to reproduce the problem. That’s a massive lost opportunity.

Bad Habits

Unfortunately, the early code-drop of the new Maemo 6 UI Framework and Homescreen shows the same old problem. There are promises to start “working openly” in the near future, and there’s reason to believe those promises. But why wait – in the meantime it’s under a license that forbids distribution or modification and there’s not the slightest suggestion of how people might provide feedback, as Michael Hasselmann noticed. “You’ll take it and like it” is not open development.

Maybe I should close comments on this bug report to make it clear how frustrating it can be.

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