Full Article Attached Quality Feeback Agent (Talkback) Crash Reports Available for Public Viewing

Monday April 19th, 2004

A little over a week ago, Asa Dotzler announced that an online tool for looking up Quality Feedback Agent (Talkback) crash reports is now available. The tool, located at, allows developers (or interested users) to see a variety of technical details about a crash by entering an incident ID (for example, 13843). A stack trace is included, with vistors easily able to jump to lists of known bugs for referenced classes and functions. For privacy reasons, not all the data submitted in the crash reports is made publicly available.

Quality Feedback Agent is included with most Windows versions of Mozilla. It launches whenever Mozilla crashes and allows the user to send technical details about the crash to the Mozilla Foundation. The utility was originally developed for Netscape Communicator (hence the Netscape logos) and is based on the commercial Talkback product created by Full Circle Software (now called SupportSoft). The Mozilla Foundation maintains a page with information about Quality Feedback Agent.

#6 Re: Re: Need help? Do it yourself

by durbacher

Tuesday April 20th, 2004 5:55 AM

You are replying to this message

I have set up a page tracking MTBF data in January 2003 at <http://www.stud.uni-karls…%7Eudex/mozilla-mtbf.html>

However, you have to be very cautious when trying to get something out of it. Many caveats are listed on the page and there are others. One important point is that this data is only tracking trunk MTBF, not the one of releases. So it mainly tracks people who download nightlies to test them, often also to reproduce crash bugs. They tend to crash several times within a quarter of an hour or so to find out what's causing the crash - and this adds a MTBF of e.g. 2 Minutes several times to the database and surely gives no information about actual stability. Another important point is that clients that never crash have no chance to report this successful running time (which could greatly increase MTBF). So displayed MTBF actually even can decrease with increasing stability! Also note that the number of talkback reports varies greatly and is now much lower than before the long time without talkback. This may or may not mean that Mozilla is more stable now despite of quite low displayed MTBF, but it surely means that every single incident has much more of an impact on the results.

Maybe this page can be used to track MTBF within short intervals of time or large jumps of MTBF (e.g. after branches are cut). But that's about all it can.