Other posts related to bug-reports

Filing Bugs for Time Drive or LyX-Outline

 | August 23, 2009 12:30 am

Even though software developers try and create a perfect product, every program has its flaws.  These can be show stopping, or merely annoying; but they are unavoidable.  Even so, unavoidability doesn’t mean that they should be tolerated.  Which is where users bear some responsibility.  If you want a better program, you need to provide feedback to the developer.

Given how important feedback is, I find it hugely ironic that many of the software programs used to solicit such feedback (called bugtrackers), are horrifically difficult to use.  Perhaps the single best (worst?) example is the system used by the Mozilla foundation (famed creators of Firefox and Thunderbird): Bugzilla.  The interface is backward, it’s impossible to find anything, and getting to the same page twice requires a minor miracle.

Knowing this upfront, I tried to find a very easy to use program for collecting feedback on LyX-Outline and Time Drive.  And I thought I had succeeded when I came across Flyspray, an open source bug tracking system.  While still remaining powerful, Flyspray is fairly easy to use for both developers and users.  Unfortunately, though, it hasn’t been quite easy enough.

You see, even though it’s pretty simple to open a new bug report, getting to the right place isn’t the most intuitive process in the world.  A number of people have expressed confusion about where to go to complain about Time Drive.  As a result, I thought i would write a brief guide.

Step 1: Go to the Bug Tracker Website

To get started, you need to head to the Time Drive and LyX-Outline bug tracker website.  It can be found at:


Step 2: Go to the Appropriate Project Page

When you load the page for the first time, you will see a list of the currently open bugs for all active projects.  Depending how busy I’ve been, this list could be quite long, or quite short.  What you won’t find on this page, however, is an easy way to add new bugs.  To do that, you’ll need to navigate to the project specific page.

The main window lacks any way of providing feedback.  This is because you are in the wrong place.

Look at the very left hand side of the tool-bar.  Underneath the username box, you will see a drop down list that says “All Projects.”  This magical list is the main way that you navigate my Flyspray based bugtracking system.

Select the appropriate project from the list and click "Switch"For example, let’s say that Time Drive just corrupted your vacation photos and you want me to know this and how angry it made you.   To communicate these thoughts (bonus points if you can do so without swearing), you need to go to the Time Drive project page.   This is as easy as clicking on the down arrow and choosing “Time Drive” from the options.  After you change the option, it is likely the page will refresh, and the main navigation menu will change.  (Though on some browsers, most notably Opera, you will need to click the “Switch” button.)

Now, instead of the utterly boring, “Overview” and “Tasklist” options, you should be presented with a slightly more exciting menu.  This includes the options to take a look at the “Roadmap” and more importantly, “Open a new Task anonymously.”

Step 3: Complain Loudly, Thoroughly and Convincingly

Once you are on the correct project page, you will be able to take a look at the project overview, browse the roadmap, or file your bug report.

This is where you need to complain.  Tell me exactly what you think of me, my creations, and my professionalism.  Rant about how Time Drive corrupted your carefully maintained comic book collection, or how LyX-Outline destroyed your thesis.  This information is important, it helps me to improve the programs.  And getting it off your chest might help you too.  Nothing is more soothing than a good rant.  Especially when the person on the other end really wants your input.

Squeaky wheels tend to greased.  Thus, consider this positing as my official permission to squeak.  But to be most effective, you need to make your noise in a place where it will get noticed.  For Time Drive and LyX-Outline, this happens to be at their respective project pages.