[Reportbug-maint] Bug#498268: reportbug should improve it's existing bug checking features

Noah Slater nslater at bytesexual.org
Mon Sep 8 14:53:33 UTC 2008

Package: reportbug
Version: 3.45
Severity: important

When reporting bugs with reportbug as it stands the user is presented with,
generally, a long list of existing bugs before being filling in any details.

I feel that this interface is:

 * Hard to use and confusing for new users
 * Requires too much effort to read, leading to duplicate bugs

I think that the interface for checking existing bugs could be improved by:

 * Letting the user describe the bug summary
 * Peforming a full text search against the BTS with the summary
 * Presenting the top 10 matches of similar bugs for the same package
 * Allowing the user to add additional information for existing bugs, or enter
   the detailed information for the new bug

This is very similar to the Ubuntu Launchpad bug reporting functionality.

I feel that this would:

 * Make reportbug a lot easier for new users
 * Improve the liklihood of people bothering to read existing bugs, thereby
 * Reducing the number of duplicate bugs in the BTS, thereby
 * Improving the happiness and productivity of DDs everywhere

-- Package-specific info:
** Environment settings:
EMAIL="nslater at bytesexual.org"

** /home/nslater/.reportbugrc:
reportbug_version "3.45"
mode standard
ui urwid

-- System Information:
Debian Release: lenny/sid
  APT prefers unstable
  APT policy: (500, 'unstable'), (500, 'testing'), (500, 'stable'), (1, 'experimental')
Architecture: i386 (i686)

Kernel: Linux 2.6.26-1-686 (SMP w/2 CPU cores)
Locale: LANG=en_GB.UTF-8, LC_CTYPE=en_GB.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/bash

Versions of packages reportbug depends on:
ii  apt                           0.7.14+b1  Advanced front-end for dpkg
ii  python                        2.5.2-2    An interactive high-level object-o
ii  python-central                0.6.8      register and build utility for Pyt

reportbug recommends no packages.

Versions of packages reportbug suggests:
ii  debconf-utils                 1.5.23     debconf utilities
ii  debsums                       2.0.36     verification of installed package
ii  dlocate                       0.96.1     fast alternative to dpkg -L and dp
ii  exim4                         4.69-6     metapackage to ease Exim MTA (v4)
ii  exim4-daemon-light [mail-tran 4.69-6     lightweight Exim MTA (v4) daemon
ii  file                          4.25-1     Determines file type using "magic"
ii  gnupg                         1.4.9-3    GNU privacy guard - a free PGP rep
ii  python-urwid          curses-based UI/widget library for

-- no debconf information

Noah Slater, http://bytesexual.org/nslater

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