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submit a bug report

posted Dec 10, 2010, 1:16 AM by d graham   [ updated Dec 10, 2010, 8:04 AM ]

One of the most useful things a non-programmer can do for a program is to submit bug reports. Programmers often develop on one system, and then attempt to test compatibility on others. Often unexpected bugs may exist in a program due to the inability of the developer to test on a specific platform, for example, a program may be written exclusively on 32 bit systems, but expected to operate on 32 and 64 bit systems.

Bug reports are only useful if a bug is reproducible, or described in such a manner that the software engineer may determine the location of the bug in the codebase without the need to reproduce it on a development machine.


One way to submit bug reports(which may have diminishing returns depending upon the size of your organization) is to use what is known as bug tracking software. There are several popular bug tracking suites, and I recommend trying a few different ways and seeing what feels right for your organization, we sometimes just use google docs, for shear ease of use for example.

Bugzilla can be downloaded at www.Bugzilla.org 


My experience with bugzilla was a bit of a frustrating one. Bugzilla looks like a really neat suite, after checking out the features and set up, in retrospect it was probably too many features in fact. To setup Bugzilla you must have access to the terminal on the apache server which is hosting your web page. I did not. In order to run the commands to setup bugzilla through our hosting provider (which only provided cpanel access) I had to run every single command as a CRON job and either wait 5 minutes for the output, or put it to every minute and see how fast my mailbox filled up and try to turn off the CRON job. Frustrating. Get the picture. So in the long run, although Bugzilla has a very interesting and highly compelling feature set, it was not for me. Not in my given situation anyway. 


Trac is another option which I would like to have tested out, but haven't had time to yet.

available at http://trac.edgewall.org/ Trac describes itsself as "an enhanced wiki and issue tracking system for software development projects."


The thing about Trac that makes it interesting to me, besides what it does as far as keeping track of users and bugs and what not(which it seems like it would do well, but as stated I haven't tried yet), is that you can get it as part of a bitnami stack.

What bitnami is, if you haven't heard of it before is an organization located at http://bitnami.org/ which seeks to empower users through open source. Now, like any really truly good open source organization they found a way to make money too, by offering cloud hosting. 

Now to understand a bitnami stack you should understand what is meant when one says a stack to begin with. Usually people actually call them a LAMP stack or a WAMP stack, depending if the server is running Linux or Windows. The AMP part stands for Apache, MySQL, PHP, which is a free open source set of programs often used together to host a server. Now what this means, is if you want to setup a bitnami lamp or wamp stack its incredibly easy. ALL OF THE SOFTWARE TO HOST YOUR OWN CONTENT IS FREE(gotta yell it from the mountain tops!). So with a few clicks anyone with an ip address and some fancy port forwarding can have their own bugtracking server.

check it out: http://bitnami.org/stacks



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