Fri, 09 Nov 2007
Upstream, Upstream, Upstream
When I find a bug in a Linux application, I as a good netizen try to report the bug somewhere (report nothing, expect nothing). A good place for such reports was the Red Hat Bugzilla. People there were the package maintainers who knew where the package was originated from, were subscribed to the appropriate mailing lists, and thus had good means of pushing the fixes to the original developers (aka "upstream"). Apparently, these days are over.
Nowadays, RH/Fedora developers either ignore the reports, and after few months just ping the reporter with "please verify that the bug still exists on an uptodate system, or we will close the bug" (it is real, see here), or they say "not a Fedora bug, please go upstream".
While I do not have a problem with going upstream per se, it is a bit annoying: I have to find out where the upstream is (whether the developers have some mailing list, bug tracking system, IRC channel or what), then subscribe to the mailing list or create the upstream Bugzilla account (which often takes several hours because of the greylisting inbetween), and re-report the problem.
As a minimum level of politeness, I would expect that every "go upstream" suggestion should include the description of where the upstream is. Even better, it would be nice if every package had an "upstream" attribute, where in the machine-parsable form one could find the exact location of upstream Bugzilla, Trac, mailing list or whatever.