Special BugDay Marks Start of CrashWeek Effort to Clean Up Bugzilla Crash Bug Reports
Monday March 29th, 2004By Asa Dotzler
In preparation for making the 1.7 branch the next "long-lived" stable branch, I'm organizing a week-long effort to scour Bugzilla for crash bug reports and get them all cleaned up and ready for developer action. We have hundreds of reported crashes in Bugzilla but the majority of them are difficult or impossible to reproduce.
The first step will be identifying the reproducible crashers and make sure they have clear steps to reproduce and/or testcases. Once we've done that, we'd like to get stack traces attached to each of those reports. With stack traces, we should be able to resolve another batch as duplicates of other known crashers.
There are a couple of ways to get stack traces. If you build yourself, consider making a debug build to help out. If you don't build, there are a few Mozilla (and Firefox) builds that contain Talkback. Talkback is simple crash reporting utility that will generate crash data, including a stack trace, and report that back to the Mozilla Foundation where I can retrieve it and attach it to a bug report. The Mozilla 1.7 Beta release contains Talkback and the latest nightly Firefox GTK2+XFT builds also contain Talkback.
Until we have a stack trace it's often difficult to tell whether two similar sounding crash reports are actually the same. Once we've resolved all the unreproducible crash bugs and attached stack traces to all the reproducible ones, we'll be making another pass to compare stack traces and resolve out duplicate crashers. This may also help us to identify which of the Mozilla crashers are most visible — with duplicate reports acting as a crude visibility metric.
After we've got all these reports resolved or confirmed with clear steps to reproduce and stack traces, we can hand them off to engineers and along with the aggregate TalkBack data from thousands of Mozilla users, we should be able to get a clear picture of our most high-profile crashers so we can tackle the biggest problems first.
So join us this Tuesday, and all week long for BugDay and CrashWeek. Together we can make Mozilla 1.7, and Camino, Firefox, and Thunderbird releases from the 1.7 branch, the most stable Mozilla releases ever. BugDay is a weekly IRC event which takes place in #mozillazine on the server irc.mozilla.org. For you ChatZilla users, consider using ChatZilla in an alternate Mozilla app (ex-SeaMonkey if you're a Firefox user and Firefox if you're a SeaMonkey users) so that when you test these crash bugs, you don't take down your IRC client.
Got a response? TalkBack!