Fedora future: a new bugzilla?

I want to see Fedora establish and use its own bugzilla instance.

Right now, Red Hat has one *huge* bugzilla instance. All of Red Hat’s products, including Fedora, track their bugs with bugzilla.redhat.com. It’s also tied to a lot of internal processes within Red Hat. We work the hell out of our bugzilla, and we have to be extremely careful with any changes we make to it.

But there are problems with our bugzilla.

No, actually, that’s not right. The *real* problem is that bugs are reported all over the place, and putting bugs in the right places is way harder than it should be. There are lots and lots of projects, all with different bug trackers — and then multiple distributions aggregate these projects, and provide yet more bug trackers. Getting a kernel bug from RHEL, down to Fedora, down to kernel.org, then back up to Fedora, then back to RHEL… it can take a while. Way longer than it should. Why? Because none of these bug trackers talk to each another in consistent ways… yet.

It would be nice to work on this problem — but we can’t do that with a corporate bugzilla that sits at the center of our business. Maybe Fedora could serve as a testing ground.

We’re getting close, actually. Had a quick conversation with Dave Lawrence, the bugzilla guru at Red Hat; he hacked xmlrpc hooks into our bugzilla a number of years back, but last week he showed me that the xmlrpc api is making progress in upstream bugzilla now. When that api is released, it will make programmatic interfaces between bugzilla instances possible. Why is that important? Well, imagine every Bugzilla having a “Send Bug” button that clones a bug, sends it to one or more bugzilla instances, and tracks the progress of those bugs as they change in these other instances. Dave Jones certainly liked the idea at dinner tonight.

Another key step: figuring out authentication. Even if xmlrpc serves as an effective transport, we’ll still need an auth mechanism. And even though I don’t know much about it yet, I’ve been following OpenID with some interest. Seems like if we could hack bugzilla to use OpenID, so that an account at one bugzilla is really an account at *all* bugzillas… well, that would be pretty cool, wouldn’t it? And since there’s already LDAP authentication built into bugzilla, it seems like a pretty near step to OpenID.

There’s all kinds of other innovations we’d like to consider as well… but it’s all moot if we don’t have the freedom to make these kinds of changes. I’m sure we’ll talk about it this week. The first thing we’d have to do: identify some poor sucker to admin the box. 🙂

Fedora future: a new bugzilla?

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