'Nice to have' process is now 'Freeze exception' process, improvements to blocker / freeze exception tracker aliases
awilliam at redhat.com
Wed Jan 23 03:30:25 UTC 2013
At FUDCon Lawrence, Tim Flink presented on the Fedora blocker bug and
'NTH' processes, and we got some interesting and useful feedback. People
felt that the 'nice to have' / 'accepted' name used in that process was
confusing and difficult to understand, and that the aliases used for the
tracker bugs were inconsistent.
We developed a proposal to rename the aliases and the 'nice to have'
process. This was refined over the period of a few days' discussion on
the test@ mailing list: see
for the thread.
There was a very solid consensus that the old scheme sucked and the
final form of the new proposal was miles better, and this is not the
first time the topic has come up (there are various proposals in the
list archives). So I decided to go ahead and Just Do It, putting the
proposal into 'production' today. I have adjusted the tracker bugs
https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/QA:SOP_Blocker_Bug_Meeting , and renamed
adjusted it. I have also made the obvious changes to the relatively
large number of other wiki pages that link to and talk about the 'nth' /
'freeze exception' process: see my Wiki edit history for those changes.
Here are the practical changes:
The 'nice to have' / 'NTH' process is now the 'freeze exception'
process: thanks to Jared Smith for the name (though I believe it's
actually a resurrection from the old 'freeze exception request' process,
which was a better name but a much worse process). This name, very much
unlike the other one, 'does what it says on the tin': the freeze
exception process is how you request freeze exceptions. Seems pretty
simple. 'Freeze exception' is kind of jargon, but it's pretty standard
terminology in the tech world, doing a web search for it gives you
useful results that explain what it is, as noted it is terminology
Fedora has used in the past, and we could not think of a way of
concisely expressing the concept in non-jargon English.
The 'new style' tracker bug aliases are as follows:
These names are consistent and, again, 'do what they say on the tin'. We
were using aliases ending with "-accepted" for NTH bugs before, which
was a really terrible idea (not least because it meant we used the word
'accepted' in two entirely different ways in one process), and the Final
aliases did not follow the same pattern as the Alpha and Beta ones.
These primary aliases do not need to be versioned, as Kamil Paral
perceptively pointed out: as they are only aliases and can be
transferred from bug to bug, we can file a new set of tracker bugs for
each release, but transfer these unversioned aliases at the time of each
release. So right now these aliases are applied to the F19 trackers: at
the time of F19 release, they will be transferred to the F20 trackers.
This basically means that, at any point in time, you can simply mark a
bug as blocking 'AlphaBlocker' and it will be nominated as blocking the
next Alpha release.
Versioned aliases will still be applied to all the tracker bugs, so that
we can find older ones when we need to and so that a consistent naming
scheme is always available for all releases. This format will be used:
The shortening of 'Exception' to 'Except' is unfortunately forced upon
us by a Bugzilla limit of 20 characters for alias names. I have
submitted a bug requesting this limit be raised: if this is done, the
versioned aliases will be changed to follow the format of the
unversioned (FreezeException instead of FreezeExcept). I have not yet
filed the Fedora 20 tracker bugs as the text in the tracker bug
descriptions refers to these aliases and cannot easily be changed after
the bug is filed, so I am waiting to see the resolution of this issue
before I file those bugs to ensure accurate text can be included.
As our Bugzilla allows for multiple aliases to be applied to bugs, bugs
can have both the dynamic aliases and their static aliases applied at
once, we can maintain 'backwards compatibility', and old trackers can
have the new-style aliases applied to them so you can always use the
same naming scheme to find the trackers for any release, even old ones.
The Fedora 19 tracker bugs consequently have three aliases each at
present: the 'dynamic' alias, the new-style versioned alias, and the
old-style alias, so people and tools which are used to searching for the
old names can still succeed. For example, the F19 Beta freeze exception
bug has the aliases 'BetaFreezeException', 'F19BetaFreezeExcept', and
'F19Beta-accepted'. However, we will endeavour to use the new style in
all F19 discussion and blocker/FE review meetings.
As well as updating the F19 tracker bugs, I have added the 'new style'
aliases to the tracker bugs for all previous releases, so they all now
have two aliases: their original one, and one that follows the new
convention. You can now find the Fedora 10 Beta blocker tracking bug,
for instance, by using the alias 'F10BetaBlocker' as well as 'F10Beta'.
No need to remember both formats - just always use the new one.
The whiteboard fields used to indicate 'accepted' or 'rejected' status
for blocker and freeze exception bugs will be
AcceptedBlocker/RejectedBlocker (this has not changed) and
AcceptedFreezeException/RejectedFreezeException . Abbreviating to
AcceptedFE/RejectedFE was considered but rejected on the grounds the
abbreviation may be confusing to a maintainer who is not aware of this
process: the long version is more understandable.
There is, as always, a full list of tracker bugs for future, current and
past releases, with all their aliases, at
I can think of a couple of potential issues with the 'dynamic' tracker
names (I'm not sure whether nominations will 'transfer' from one release
to the next when we change where the alias points, and if so, whether we
want that, especially for closed bugs), but we can burn that bridge when
we get to it: if that part of the plan causes a problem we can simply
get rid of those aliases and fall back to using the versioned ones for
all purposes. As we are preserving the old aliases, I can see no case
where this change will affect any existing usage of anything. All QA
tools, processes and documentation either already are or should soon be
updated to use the new names.
We hope this adjustment will make the process somewhat more convenient
for project members who are not accustomed to it as we are, and more
understandable for maintainers who find their bugs a part of the
blocker/FE process if they do not already understand it. We are aware
this process is still something of a 'duct tape job', but this is an
achievable improvement, and we are also working on more radical
adjustments like using flags or even tracking blocker/FE status outside
of Bugzilla itself.
Please let us know if you have any concerns or reservations about this
adjustment: all the changes involved in it are (as far as I'm aware)
non-invasive and reversible, so no panic. Thanks everyone!
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | identi.ca: adamwfedora
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