6.7. Problem reporting

FreeBSD comes with a problem reporting tool called “send-pr” that is a part of the GNATS package. All users and developers are encouraged to use this tool for reporting problems in software they do not maintain. Problems include bug reports, feature requests, features that should be enhanced and notices of new versions of external software that is included in the project.

Problem reports are sent to an email address where it is inserted into the GNATS maintenance database. A Bugbuster classifies the problem and sends it to the correct group or maintainer within the project. After someone has taken responsibility for the report, the report is being analysed. This analysis includes verifying the problem and thinking out a solution for the problem. Often feedback is required from the report originator or even from the FreeBSD community. Once a patch for the problem is made, the originator may be asked to try it out. Finally, the working patch is integrated into the project, and documented if applicable. It there goes through the regular maintenance cycle as described in section maintenance. These are the states a problem report can be in: open, analyzed, feedback, patched, suspended and closed. The suspended state is for when further progress is not possible due to the lack of information or for when the task would require so much work that nobody is working on it at the moment.

Figure 6-8. Process summary: problem reporting

A problem is reported by the report originator. It is then classified by a bugbuster and handed to the correct maintainer. He verifies the problem and discusses the problem with the originator until he has enough information to create a working patch. This patch is then committed and the problem report is closed.

The roles included in this process are:

  1. Report originator

  2. Maintainership

  3. Bugbuster

[FreeBSD, 2002C]. [FreeBSD, 2002D]

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