Managing bug reports in free/open source software (FOSS) communities Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6w924f733

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  • Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) communities often use open bug reporting to allow users to participate by reporting bugs. This practice can lead to more duplicate reports, as inexperienced users can be less rigorous about researching existing bug reports. The purpose of this research is to determine the extent of this problem, and how FOSS projects deal with duplicate bug reports. We examined 12 FOSS projects: 4 small, 4 medium and 4 large, where size was determined by number of code contributors. First, we found that contrary to what has been reported from studies of individual large projects like Mozilla and Eclipse, duplicate bug reports are a problem for FOSS projects, especially medium-sized projects. These medium sized projects struggle with a large number of submissions and duplicates without the resources large projects use for dealing with these. Second, we found that the focus of a project does not affect the number of duplicate bug reports. Our findings point to a need for additional scaffolding and training for bug reporters of all types. Finally, we examine the impact that automatic crash reporting has on these bug repositories. These systems are quickly gaining in popularity and aim to help end-users submit vital bug information to the developers. These tools generate stack traces and memory dumps from software crashes and package these up so end-users can submit them to the project with a single mouse-click. We examined Mozilla's automatic crash reporting systems, Breakpad and Socorro, to determine how these integrate with the open bug reporting process, and whether they add to the confusion of duplicate bug reports. We found that though initial adoption exhibited teething troubles, these systems add significant value and knowledge, though the signal to noise ratio is high and the number of bugs identified per thousand reports is low.
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