A bug tracker is like a grocery shop. Plenty of bug reports are neatly sorted on the shelves, waiting for the developers to fix them.
Developers stroll down the alleys, pick a bug or two and go to the checkout counter. If they are lucky, the bugs fix quickly and they can come back for more.
As any grocery shop owner will tell you, it is important to stay well stocked up with fresh produce. Too much stock will rotten. Too little stock will drive customers away.
Similarly, if there are more reports in the tracker than the developers can handle, things can turn sour: the daunting sight of an endless list can turn even the most motivated developer away. Progress in other areas may make some of the reports obsolete, but which ones? And without feedback the reporters feel that their reports are unimportant and they stop filing.
A significant part of the activity of a grocery shop is inventory management. Removing expired items from the shelves, cleaning up the alleys, making it an inviting environment for shoppers and knowing when to call the suppliers.
The bug tracker is not different. More experienced tester try to reproduce the reported bugs and sort them out. Builders will ship out new snapshot releases to invite new bug reports when the inventory diminshes.
A well working grocery shop depends on a balance between supply and demand, and so does a well working bug tracker.
In the past two months the hugin bug tracker has shed 119 reports. That’s excellent. It has also added 97. This means that there is enough supply of bug reports for now. What the project needs are bug fixes.
Until recently it was almost exclusively Pablo who worked on the fixes. Last week Gerry Patterson stepped in and made significant progress. But the trend is still weak, and the imbalance between the supply of bug reports and the capacity to follow up on them needs to be absorbed. The project needs more bug fixes. There are still 21 bugs in the 0.7.0 category. I hope the students that have recently joined our community for the Google Summer of Code 2008 will contribute some more fixes before coding of new features start.