Busting Bug Butt

This weekend I took part in FreeBSD Bugathon #7. This was my first involvement as a FreeBSD BugBuster (though I’ve been busting bugs for more than 30 years now), so I relished the long-forgotten role of n00b as I learned the ropes of their PR (Problem Report) system.

Gavin Atkinson and Rene Ladan have been kind enough to help me along, and I’ve managed to test 14 PRs and submit corrections to a couple of patches.

Perusing the open PRs, the triviality of most of them impressed me. Critical bugs seem to get handled on the fast track in FreeBSD, thanks to the dedicated people who donate their spare time to deal with these things. That leaves mostly low priority bugs to be cleaned up by these Bugathon sessions. It’s a tribute to the high quality that a voluntary system can produce.

By far, the majority of PRs are in the ports. Many of these merely involved updating the application to a new version, so I applied the patch to the Makefile/distinfo and tested the install. I did get my fingers into a couple of termcap PRs (one of which I had submitted) to add 256-color support to xterm and rxvt. Those, I’m happy to say, have been committed. I also tested out some kernel patches to provide more helpful info for sysctl — a favorite nit for a newbie like me to pick.

Speaking of newbie, this event occasioned my first ever use of IRC. I chose simpleirc as my client, because it’s, um, simple. I think, if I have time, I should build IRC support into jab. Simpleirc operates much the same way as jab does, but I have a couple of reasons for preferring jab — jab is scriptable, and I’ve already built xmobar notifications of new jabs.

Another first (for me): to provide test-beds for the Bugathon, I brought up FreeBSD 8 as a guest of VirtualBox — in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. It runs great — which I’d expect, given how well VirtualBox runs Windows 7, the Napoleon of Resource Hogs.

The Bugathon lasts through today. I may work on a few more items if I have time, but I need to get some billable work in today as well.

Tags: bugathon, bugbusters, freebsd, irc, virtualbox


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