reporting bugs upstream : nothing on the wiki?

Jonathan Kamens jik at
Wed Jul 28 13:48:25 UTC 2010

It appears that the general tone of this page is to encourage users to 
report bugs upstream /instead/ of reporting them to Fedora. I think this 
approach is ill-advised.

While there are certainly advantages to getting bugs reported upstream, 
there are also many advantages to having such bugs reported /through/ 
Fedora bugzilla rather than straight upstream. These advantages include:

   1. Some bugs are Fedora-specific. Most users won't be able to
      distinguish between a Fedora-specific bug and one that is globally
   2. Fedora sometimes runs software versions that are older than the
      current one. Many upstream maintainers don't want bugs about old
   3. Some Fedora package maintainers fix important bugs in Fedora even
      before they've been fixed upstream, but they are deprived of the
      opportunity to do that for bugs they never hear about.
   4. It's important for Fedora to know where the "pain points" are in
      the distribution, and the best gauge for that is which packages
      are getting a lot of bugs. If you tell people to bypass Fedora
      bugzilla and go straight upstream, that metric is shot to hell.
   5. The judgment of whether a bug should be reported upstream and then
      closed in Fedora bugzilla, or rather fixed in Fedora instead of or
      more quickly than it is fixed upstream, should be left to the
      package maintainer, not to the user reporting the bug.

In addition, I agree with the sentiment others have expressed here, 
albeit not always in the most diplomatic way, that one of the primary 
roles of a package maintainer is to be making the kinds of judgment 
calls mentioned above and ensuring that bugs reported upstream from 
Fedora are well-formed. Therefore, I believe attempting to foist off 
that work on Fedora's users is an inappropriate delegation of work to 
people who are in many cases simply not qualified to do it.

If a bug comes into bugzilla that should be upstreamed, then one of two 
things can happen:

   1. If the bug report is sufficiently detailed and the package
      maintainer thinks that the reporter seems competent and clueful,
      the package maintainer can ask the reporter to upstream the bug
      and attach the upstream bug to the Fedora bug report.
   2. If the bug report is not sufficiently detailed to report upstream,
      then the package maintainer will have to work with the reporter to
      collect enough information to allow for upstream reporting.

Note that in neither of these cases is the bug being reported upstream 
directly by the user. Nor, in my opinion, should it be.

   Jonathan Kamens

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