Behind the scenes with Bugzilla Project Leader Dave Miller

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annoying bugs

Bugzilla is an open source bug-tracking system that prides itself on offering server software that is free but skillfully designed to help developers manage their work. Their installation list is long and robust. So, how do they manage to not charge expensive licensing fees like most other commercial vendors?

I emailed Dave Miller to find out. He's the Project Leader at Bugzilla and an IT Infrastructure Engineer at Mozilla, where Bugzilla is constantly being put to the test.


Q: How does your organization model work being free as in beer?

Developer tip: To try to reproduce a bug that someone has reported, use Bugzilla's Landfill test /demo installations

A: All of the core developers are either volunteers or paid by companies who use Bugzilla in order to maintain their own in-house installations of it. All of the work done on Bugzilla is done on the contributors' own time, or by their companies allowing them to contribute the work they've done on their companies' behalves back to Bugzilla.

Our website hosting and source control is all provided by Mozilla, and we have no other expenses that need covering, aside from occasionally sending a developer or two to industry shows like OSCON, and that's usually covered by donations through the Mozilla Foundation.

Q: How many organizations across the globe use Bugzilla?

A: We know specifically of 1268 companies, organizations, and projects that are using Bugzilla and have allowed us to list them on our installed sites page. We have a built-in update check that runs periodically when the admins access their own Bugzilla installations, and that gets around 8000 unique hits per month.

We know some people are behind firewalls that won't allow the traffic and others don't leave it enabled, so there's probably a small amount more than that.

Q: What's new and exciting at Bugzilla?

A: We're about to release verion 4.4. We also had a contest a year or so ago to design a new layout and theme for Bugzilla to make it easier to use and prettier, affectionately called the Make Bugzilla Pretty contest.

We're working on getting that implemented, and hope to have version 5.0 out one of these days. Of course, trying to set a date on things seems impossible these days. It'll happen when it happens.

Jen leads a team of community managers for the Digital Communities team at Red Hat. She lives in Raleigh with her husband and daughters, June and Jewel.


Version 4.4 has released since this interview was done, you can find it on <a href=""></a>.

Thanks Dave! And in full transparency to our readers, we had a question about the highest public bug number that was confused and has since been resolved.

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