Yenya's World

Sun, 29 Mar 2009

The Oldest Real Bug

I occasionally complain about bugs remaining unfixed for a long time in the Open Source Software, and it really hurts when I spend several hours trying to solve a problem, which turns out to be a known problem reported many years ago, still unfixed.

In our archive of graduate theses, we had a problem that some PDF file could not been displayed when being accessed through the public part of Displaying it from the authenticated part of this site or downloading it from either part and then displaying it locally was OK. Later we have found that even displaying the file from the public part was OK, provided that the HTTPS instead of HTTP has been used.

The problem is caused by caching: Mozilla thinks it cannot cache the files downloaded over HTTPS, while it can cache the files downloaded over HTTP. Mozplugger then does a shortcut of running the PDF viewer with the file name from the Mozilla cache for the HTTP case, but downloading the file separately into /tmp directory for the HTTPS case. Now when the PDF file is bigger than the cache size limit, Mozilla deletes it from the cache just before Mozplugger starts the PDF viewer.

This has been reported to the Mozilla Bugzilla in March 2003, six years ago. The latest comment was from May 2004, and the bug is still there. The bug has a "QA Contact" field pointing to a non-existent address, so there is even nobody to complain to. We have worked around the bug by adding an HTTP header which causes Mozilla to avoid caching of the PDF file altogether. I have also reported it downstream, to the Fedora bugzilla, hoping they would know better than me how to push it upstream.

Section: /computers (RSS feed) | Permanent link | 2 writebacks

2 replies for this story:

Milan Zamazal wrote:

My experience with bugs reported on Firefox is that they either take long to get fixed and the fixes released (> 1 year) or they get forgotten. So you should probably ping on the bug report, I wouldn't expect anybody cares about old bugs with no activity.

Yenya wrote: Re: ping the bug report

This is what I did, but with non-existent QA contact I wonder whether anybody will read the ping at all.

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