There’s a bug in my wine Simutrans.

Posted: November 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

All software projects need to have some kind of method or system to monitor glitches or bugs within the program. Two of the most popular systems that are used for this task are Bugzilla and The Trac Project.

trac-hosting

Although these systems are very popular it seems they are not good enough for the world of Simutrans. It took me a while to discover what system the Simutrans community was using to track its issues and it turns out they simply use the forum. Now I don’t claim to know much about bug tracking as I have only just encountered it but in my eyes this seems to be an unconventional and painstaking way to do this, Why aren’t the community using these great FREE systems to check for issues?  Maybe the benevolent dictator has said this is how we do it and let that be that?

The method used for bug tracking in Simutrans pretty much relies on the community finding a bug in the program and then posting on the forum as seen here:

Untitled

Once the post has been submitted it is then left for all of the community to read at will and if they have a solution then they can respond when and if they please.

There are rules/guidelines to follow when reporting a bug which are posted at the top of the forum.

Since writing this post I have posted in the community forum myself, I have requested if someone can explain to me why the bug tracking is done in this way and chosen not to use a readily available bug tracking system.

Since posting on the community forum, I have had received several replies from the Simutrans community as per my question as to why the bug tracking is done via the forum. One response I got back from one member was “we use the forums because it seems to work fine for us… it allows a wide range of coders and players a chance to suggest fixes for the bug (or maybe it isn’t a bug at all) or at the least find the source issues as to why a bug is occurring, making it much easier to locate and fix.” This seems to make good sense and perhaps I was wrong in my original view of this being a painstaking exercise as it clearly works well for this community.

This was not the only reply I received though, other members said “As for the bug tracking, I believe the argument was that it just creates a bureaucracy that we don’t need, with priorities, version scheduling, assignees and what not. We don’t prioritize or assign issues, they just get fixed by some passer by, or they don’t.” Whilst another member responds the the previous quote by saying “That’s true for most bug/issue tracking software as well. Most open source projects have allow anyone to register and start creating issues and comment on existing issues. The drawback is of course that it becomes a second arena for discussions. I know of one open source project that made their Jira (a bug/issue tracker) read-only for non-developers, so that bugs had to be reported on their forum (which consists of a single board). What they use their Jira for now, I can’t tell, but they still create Jira issues for relevant forum discussions and link them together for some reason.”

Overall I got some pretty good feedback from the community and from what I can work out I think I even managed to get a response from the top of the food chain too, a Dr. Markus Pristovsek. He responded by saying “Yes, the main reason was that bugs were mostly reported by non-programmers (because most programmer tend to fix their bugs anyway). However, this means there is a second system to be kept alive, where people have to register too (and which you have to administrate etc) Bug tracking is something done for programmer from Programmer (or dedicated testers). Normal user (non-programming) should have bug reporting as easy as possible.

Even OpenTTD get bug reports in their forum, although they use a bug tracker (but somehow they never close bug reports … )”.

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