This week, Bugzilla turns 15! On September 18, 1998, Terry Weissman released Bugzilla 2.0, the first version written in Perl. A few days before, on August 25, 1998, the Bugzilla source code was committed to CVS for the first time, and was written in Tcl (Terry decided to rewrite it in Perl to attract more contributors). Since this first public release, Bugzilla changed a lot, though some of its original features are still clearly recognizable. You may wonder how Bugzilla looked like 15 years ago? Well, I’m going to tell you all.
Installing Bugzilla 2.0 wasn’t as easy as it is today. You had to manually run six(!) scripts to create DB tables and to populate them (checksetup.pl only replaced them in Bugzilla 2.8). The tarball was very small, only 52 KB (compared to 2.4 MB for Bugzilla 4.4), and you needed MySQL 3, Perl 5.4 and a web server. The home page was pretty…. simple:
So what do we see? A link to the search page, another link to file a new bug, and a text box to enter the ID of an existing bug. Oh, and a huge picture of an ant. You can see that there is no link to create a new account. That’s because there is no UI for that! To create an account, you had to click on "Enter a new bug", and Bugzilla would ask your credentials. As you have none, you had to click the "Forgot password" button, and Bugzilla would send you an email with your password in it. This had the side-effect to automatically create an account for you with the email address you just gave and the password included in the email you just received. This page has evolved a lot, and it now looks like this in Bugzilla 4.4:
Big icons help users to more easily find what they are looking for, and the page header and footer also make navigation through pages much easier.
Once you pass this first page, the next step is the search page:
Yes, the page says "Bugzilla 1.2", but it’s really 2.0 minus one minor string change in the parameters page (1.2 is only 70 minutes older than 2.0). As you can see, the search page is not very different from what we have today:
The product, component, bug status, resolution, severity and priority fields are still here. The main difference is that we greatly improved search capabilities of Bugzilla, and all the sections above are expandable to offer more search criteria:
And many new bug fields appeared, such as the target milestone, keywords, the status whiteboard, attachments and flags.
The buglist didn’t change a lot either:
Note that I had to fix the code to correctly display <table> in the bug summary. Bug summaries weren’t HTML-escaped, and so it was trivial to inject arbitrary code in the buglist. But this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as we had to wait 8 years for Bugzilla 2.18 to see correct HTML-escaping.
To file a bug, you had to first select the product…
… and then enter details of the bug report:
If these pages look familiar to you, that’s because they didn’t change a lot in the last 15 years:
The main difference is that the product description has been added to help users select the right product.
This is the simple form to report new bugs. If you click the "Show advanced fields" link, more fields are displayed. You now also have the possibility to attach a file and to set flags when reporting a new bug. Attachments and flags didn’t exist in Bugzilla 2.0. Attachments have been implemented in 1999 in Bugzilla 2.4, and flags in 2002 in Bugzilla 2.18. And you had to wait for 2006 and Bugzilla 3.0 to be able to attach files and set flags on bug creation.
Bug reports in Bugzilla 2.0 had very few fields and, of course, were not customizable:
You probably recognize knobs which have been removed in 2008 in Bugzilla 3.2 in favor of a better UI. Also, you will note that comments were all concatenated into a single comment, making it impossible to track who commented in the bug, and when.
On the backend, things have changed a lot. First of all, the number of DB tables exploded. In Bugzilla 2.0, there were only 7 tables:
In Bugzilla 4.4, there are more than 70 tables (the output is truncated):
The exact number of tables will depend on the number of custom fields. The reason for so many tables is because Bugzilla now has many new features which didn’t exist in previous releases, and admins now have the ability to edit mostly everything to customize Bugzilla as desired. In Bugzilla 2.0, everything was static:
You couldn’t customize bug statuses, resolutions, bug severities, priorities, etc… Now admins have a nice UI to edit them:
Same goes about the list of products, components and assignees:
The list was hardcoded, and you had to manually edit the DB to add/edit/remove entries. Now this can be done from the UI:
The list of parameters also increased a lot, and the ugly old UI…
… became a well organized list of tabs:
Maybe you wonder how other pages looked like in Bugzilla 2.0? Well, there are no other pages. They are all listed above. No preferences page, no tabular and graphical reports, and… no groups! Which means no admins, no editbugs nor canconfirm privileges, no way to restrict the visibility of bugs and comments. Frightening, isn’t it?
Happy birthday, Bugzilla!
"Everything that has a beginning has an end". I joined the Bugzilla project in August 2004 (already 9 years ago) and fixed more than 1600 bugs (including a few bugs in Bonsai, Doctor and Testopia). I became an official reviewer in December 2004, only 4 months after my first contribution, and reviewed patches in more than 2000 bugs. I also got approval privileges in January 2007, meaning that I had the responsibility to grant/deny approval for the last 6.5 years, and approved no less than 1500 patches to be committed into the source code. I’m also the QA manager for the Bugzilla project since July 2005 and so I am responsible to make sure Bugzilla quality is good enough before each new release. That’s a lot of work, and takes a lot of my free time and energy.
In the last few months, my free time was pretty limited and so my contributions to the project were mostly to triage new bugs, set blockers for the next releases, approve (or reject) reviewed patches, and help fixing blockers and security bugs. But now that my free time increased a bit again, I realized that my motivation to write new patches, either bug fixes or new features, and my motivation to review patches in my too long review queue are gone. And to lead a project correctly (I’m actually an assistant project lead, the project lead being justdave), you need to put time and energy into it to not be the bottleneck in the development of the application. And so without enough motivation and energy anymore it’s time for me to resign my role as assistant project lead. This means that decisions about the direction Bugzilla should take no longer belong to me. So please stop marking bugs as WONTFIX because LpSolit (me) said he didn’t agree with such or such new feature; my opinion is no longer relevant.
Those who know me shouldn’t be too surprised by my decision. Two years ago, I was very close from taking the same decision. The only reason I didn’t was because mkanat left the Bugzilla project to go work for Google, and it wasn’t the right time to also leave the project. So I stayed involved two additional years to help with the release of Bugzilla 4.2 and 4.4, but now it’s really time for me to say goodbye. This also means you shouldn’t ask me to review your patches anymore. Those should be addressed to another reviewer (glob, dkl, justdave). I will keep my reviewer and QA manager hats for now, but really stop asking me for review (unless it’s a security or critical bug which requires my skills).
It was a really great and fantastic experience to work with other Bugzilla developers and contributors, and I wish all the best for the future of Bugzilla.
- The searching system has been improved: it allows multiple search criteria to match one field; it has improved support for flags; it has better performance, especially with complex queries.
- The tagging system has been redesigned: the old tagging fields in the page footer are gone in favor of a Tags field in the bug itself. Tags remain private and are only visible by you. They can also be used in queries as any other field.
- Bugzilla can now correctly identify uploaded attachments which have a MIME type of application/octet-stream.
- You can now save tabular and graphical reports as you already do with saved searches. Previously, you had to bookmark them in your web browser.
- You can customize columns displayed in whinemails.
- As usual, the WebServices have been improved with several new methods.
- The security has been improved, such as using HMAC SHA-256 to generate tokens instead of MD5.
- etc ….
This release also means the End Of Life (EOL) of Bugzilla 3.6, which was the last series for Bugzilla 3.x. This branch is no longer supported, and any new security bug found on this branch will remain unfixed. Installations still running Bugzilla 2.x or 3.x are urged to upgrade to Bugzilla 4.4 or 4.2.6.
So, Bugzilla 4.4rc2 is finally here! It took us more time than expected, but the performance bugs are all fixed and we also fixed two security bugs which are described in the security advisory. Bugzilla 4.2.5, 4.0.10 and 3.6.13 also contain these two security fixes, so you should definitely upgrade.
Compared to 4.4rc1, the new release candidate contains the last feature which we wanted for 4.4: the ability to add several criteria in a query against the same field. In Bugzilla 4.2,
"Flags changed to approval+" AND "Flags changed by firstname.lastname@example.org"
were disconnected, which means that these criteria would match all bugs which had the approval+ flag set and which had a flag changed by email@example.com. In Bugzilla 4.4, you can now force these two criteria to match the same field, i.e. that you only want bugs where the approval+ flag has been set by firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to Byron Jones (glob) for this great feature. Of course, this feature is not limited to flags, but works with all fields. See the release notes for more details. Also, 4.4rc2 should in most cases be much faster than 4.2 to run some complex queries. In my testing, some queries which took several minutes to complete now run in a few (tens of) seconds only. This is especially noticable with many columns displayed in the buglist. Another good reason to test it!
The next release should be 4.4 final as I don’t think a 4.4rc3 is needed.
You may wonder what’s going on since we released Bugzilla 4.4rc1 on November 13. Well, very few bugs have been reported which seems to indicate that 4.4rc1 is pretty stable. But we also found that running some queries were very slow since Bugzilla 4.2. Bugzilla 4.2 got a major rewrite of its search code (Bugzilla::Search), where the focus was readability, maintainability and the removal of some hacks, but this new code had some severe performance impact for some queries, especially those involving subselects in MySQL. That’s why several bugs related to performance have been filed since we released 4.4rc1 and we decided that they were critical enough to fix them in the 4.4 branch rather than waiting another year to include them in Bugzilla 5.0 only. As it’s unclear if these recent changes can have negative impact on some queries, or break some other ones, we decided that a 2nd release candidate was necessary to give admins and developers some time to test the new code and give us feedback before 4.4 final. There is no ETA for 4.4rc2 yet, but it will probably be somewhere in January 2013.
If you have some queries which you consider as being very slow, I would be interested in hearing you about them: which criteria did you use, which columns are displayed in buglists, which Bugzilla installation did you use for your testing, are you logged in or logged out, etc…? Please don’t run your queries on Bugzilla 3.x or older. I’m really not interested in such old installations (and the code changed too much anyway with what we have in 4.4). In my own testing, I found that some queries which were previously timing out now run in a few seconds only. Of course, the time taken to execute these queries highly depends on the data you have in your DB and so only relative timing matters.
Last night, we released Bugzilla 4.2.4, 4.0.9 and 3.6.12 to fix several security issues. Bugzilla 4.2.4 also notably fixes some crashes with Oracle when viewing buglists. Oracle support in 4.2.4 is definitely much better than in previous 4.x or 3.x releases.
We also released the first release candidate of Bugzilla 4.4, which we expect to release near the end of the year, though it will depend on the feedback we get. If a second release candidate is needed, we will delay 4.4 final. Now is a good time to test its new features, including the new tagging system (which replaces the previous tagging system which you could see in the footer of pages), the ability to save tabular and graphical reports in the same way you can save your searches (no need to bookmark them in your browser anymore), customizable columns displayed in emails sent by the whining system, many new and updated WebService methods, real auto-detection of the MIME type of attachments uploaded to Bugzilla (currently only if the browser is unable to determine the MIME type itself, else we still trust what the browser says), etc… Do not forget to fix your Apache configuration file (httpd.conf) when upgrading as explained in the release notes, else Bugzilla 4.4 won’t work. Have fun!