This is the first article of short series on ways everyone who wants to put some time into helping Krita can make a real difference. There are many ways of helping Krita, ranging from coding to writing tutorials, helping users on forums to helping with fund raisers. But let’s take a look at one task that is really important: bug triaging.
Now that there are hundreds of thousands of Krita users, we’re getting lots of bug reports. And a lot of those bugs are specific to the reporter’s system. Or so it seems. Some bugs only happen with certain combinations of hardware, operating system, other installed software. Some bugs happen for everyone but are rare because not that many use a feature, and some bugs suddenly turn up because we’re human and making mistakes.
And every report needs to be read, preferably by several people, who can try to determine whether:
We’re using KDE’s bugzilla to track bugs for Krita. Now we admit up-front that bugzilla is an old-fashioned monster of a web application, but it’s what we have, and for now we’ll have to make it work for us! Here’s what you see when you search for open Krita bugs:
Whoops, 320 open bugs… Important bits of information are:
As you can see, we really need help! Your friendly author, Boudewijn, is also the maintainer of the project, developer and manager. Together with Wolthera, we’re trying to triage all reported bugs, and we’re not managing to reply on time. That’s where you come in! If you’re a reasonably experienced Krita user and want to help out, here’s how to get ready and set up!
Go to https://bugs.kde.org and select “Create new Account”
Complete the registration forms, and click on the confirmation link in the email you get sent (I’m using Alpine for reading email, which is a text-mode client… That’s optional!).
Log in into bugzilla and click on the Preferences link at the top, then “Email Preferences”. Bugzilla can send a lot of email, but fortunately it includes a number of special headers that make it easy to filter bug mail into special mailboxes. There are two steps: first are the general email preferences:
And then there’s the important bit, that makes sure you get email for all bugs that are about Krita. Add the user “email@example.com” to the list of User Watches:
Now you will get mail whenever anything happens to a Krita bug. Using the special bugzilla headers, you can sort all the mail ready for handling:
For instance, I have split my bug mail according to whether it’s a new bug, a changed bug, a new wish, a changed wish, or a reply to a needs-info query.
And then when a bug lands in your inbox, you can open it in bugzilla and triage it. There are a couple of steps here:
These are the preliminaries: now then the real work starts. Trying to reproduce the bug. At first, you won’t be able to close bugs; so at first all you can do is add comments to the bug report. If you’ve done that a couple of times, you’ll have learned how the system works and gotten a feel for what should be done with new bugs. That’s the moment to ask me, Boudewijn (firstname.lastname@example.org, boud on #krita on irc.freenode.org) for more powers!
And that’s it, really. Now start triaging bugs and earn our undying gratitude! Help with bug triaging is a real and lasting contribution to Krita!