I try to automate as much of my process as I can – time is too short to do manually what a computer can do automagically. One of my favorite tools for such automated processing is ImageMagick. It runs on a FreeBSD server in the closet. I drop my stitched panoramas via the network at one end and at the other end I get a whole bunch of output formats. When I need a new type of output, I just update my scripts and run them all over my archive of images.
I regularly update the server. The FreeBSD ports collection is one of the best things I’ve ever seen for system upgrade and maintenance, I have been a happy user for years. The nature of the system is such that sometimes a package will break despite the robustness of the ports system as a whole. When it does, careful analysis is required. Is this a problem of my specific system configuration or a bug with a software package or library? And if it is a problem of a software package or of a library, which one is it?
After the last upgrade to ImageMagick 220.127.116.11 my engine broke down. Before filing a bug report with ImageMagick I looked for confirmation from other ImageMagick users on the Magick users mailing list. Is it a problem with my specific system, or with ImageMagick? I don’t know yet.
I was surprised to say the least by this reply asking me to file a bug report on a web based forum. Web based forums don’t even work as proper mailing list replacement (can’t read/reply offline). Now they are supposed to replace a bug tracker?
Compare it with dedicated bug trackers like the SourceForge bug tracker (not the best one) that we use for hugin; Bugzilla used amongst other by the Mozilla foundation and Gnome; trac used amongst others by WordPress and wxWidgets.
Can a web based forum keep track of the status of a bug? assign it? prioritize it? find duplicates? close a bug?
17 pages, 814 topics (bugs?)! that looks like a lot of noise to me. Purge! A bug tracker should only list relevant information, and if there are 17 pages of open bugs against a package the size of ImageMagick, something is badly broken. Web based forums smell stale.
I wish I had the time and resources to confirm if the problem with manipulating TIFFs in ImageMagick is specific to my box or a bug in the code, and to file a bug report if necessary. Unfortunately I currently lack the time and resources. I found a workaround for my specific situation: GraphicsMagick. In my glue script, it worked as a drop in replacement for ImageMagick. And it has a bugtracker where I can file bug reports without the nuisances of a web based forum. I will get back to ImageMagick when I have the time to make my system work again with it.