When dealing with bug reports, getting bugs that you can’t reproduce is one of the worst situations to be in. Without the right information it’s impossible to progress. Knowing where the bug is is 90% of bug fixing, if we are unable to reproduce something it’s frustrating for everyone involved.
This week two bug reporters have stood out as being absolutely fantastic. So much so, they deserve a shout out on PlanetKDE.
Mohammad Al-Rashed, when he encountered a bug we could not reproduce, not only managed to find out it was reproducable if KWallet was disabled, but recorded and sent us a video of it happening. With this extra information, the bug was fixed within a day.
I also had a bug in LightDM that I couldn’t shake. The bug only appeared in OpenSuse, and caused the entire KCM to crash. Weirdly, it never crashed when launched from kcmshell, but would crash every time it was invoked from System Settings.
I challenge anyone reading this could have a guess as to what would cause that, I certainly couldn’t. Without being able to reproduce this I had absolutely no hope of fixing this.
Alin Marin Elena kindly went to the effort of giving me SSH access to a machine he set up specifically to reproduce this bug. That night I was able to work out what caused the crash, and another developer Hrvoje Senjan managed to trace it to the specific compile flag being used in the Suse packages that caused this bug to manifest itself.
The moral of all this is if you’re waiting on a developer to fix a bug, be proactive and go beyond the call of duty to help supply all the information needed to fix it.