Any bored weekend hackers out there?

I like the idea of simple projects that have the potential to make big improvements, and I think this is a good one: studentbugs.org.

What is studentbugs.org?  Nothing but a big list of all of the bugs in the open source world that students could handle.

To start, it could be a simple script that just walks thru all known Trac/Bugzilla instances — I know that Bugzilla has a pretty
straightforward API for this sort of thing, and suspect that Trac has one as well.  Just produce a big long page, one bug per line, of all bugs tagged with “student” or some equivalent, with links back to the original bug trackers.

It probably wouldn’t produce a lot of output the first few times it’s run, because most projects aren’t doing this very much.  I know Mozilla is doing it, and Fedora has talked about it, don’t know if we are actually doing it yet — but I believe that if we’ve got a single place to send students and instructors to find “simple open source bugs”, it could become a very useful resource over time.

The cool thing is that it’s basically just a weekend hack.  As it happens, I’m a bit short on weekends right now — so I figured I’d throw it out there for anyone who may be looking for a quick project.

If no one gets to it, I imagine I’ll find time at some point.

Any bored weekend hackers out there?

10 thoughts on “Any bored weekend hackers out there?

  1. I don’t know if trac has an API (I don’t think so, but I may be wrong).

    What do you think it would be a good idea to look for in Bugzilla?

    Anyway, It sounds like a cool idea for a quickie project.

  2. Yeah, on further examination it doesn’t look *trivial*, but I can imagine a system that:

    1. Uses the xmlrpc libs for Bugzilla instances;

    2. Does some sreenscraping for Trac instances;

    3. Takes a config file that specifies (bugzilla url, bugzilla label, search term)

    Figuring out what search terms we should use will probably be an ongoing process, but that’s a pretty simple process of iterating until we find the right sets of bugs. It also gives us a really clear way to allow projects to participate. One can imagine a page like studentbugs.org/Participate that says “want to add your project? It’s easy! Just tell us what your bug tracker URL is, and what terms you use to identify starter bugs!”

    One goal is to find the easy bugs that are already out there. Another goal is to make it easy for new projects to join this effort.

  3. This is a good idea–perhaps get in touch with Mozilla Education about it, since they already have some pretty involved student programs, and a “student-project” keyword in bugzilla.mozilla.org to mark things that would be good semester-long projects.

    There is an XML-RPC plugin available for Trac, last time I checked.

    -Max

  4. Every trac has a RSS feed for the tickets, although I don’t know if we can figure out if it’s a bug suitable for newbies or not, it may be a good starting point.

    Anyway, once the basic functionality it’s up and running it could be a good idea to contact the different projects to see if they can collaborate actively marking bugs in the tracker as “newbie opportunity” or something like that.

  5. nils says:

    using python-bugzilla, querying for bugs is trivial
    bugzilla –bugzilla=”https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/xmlrpc.cgi” query –status_whiteboard=”Good Intro Bug”
    unfortunately, the querying hasn’t been implemented yet

    as for keywords for other projects, kde’s is “JJ” (junior job) and gnome is “easy-fix”

  6. Thanks Till for mentioning us — yes, this is very close to what we’re doing.

    https://openhatch.org/blog/2009/get-involved-in-foss/ was our first blog post about our bitesize bugs initiative.

    We’ve already imported Fedora’s “fitandfinish” bugs, Twisted’s “easy” bugs, Miro’s “bitesize” ones, and a few others.

    Greg and others reading this post — how can we make that better? How can we make it more useful? Maybe we could export the data from all these bug trackers in an easy-to-parse format to help others create cool new websites from the data?

    (I submitted a similar comment yesterday, but I guess this blog ate it?)

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