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Since I'm working at least 50% on Linux which is probably the operating system which gets not so much attention from Wolfram, I find new bugs regularly. What bothers me the most is, that tracking a bug down and writing a good bug report takes time but I can never be sure, someone else already reported the same issue which would render my action useless.

Especially in Version 9.0.0 the community found some serious issues. Mostly they were propagated through our chat, but neither I can be online all the time nor other users.

Question: Is there any issue tracker where one can look up open issues of Mathematica? If not, might it be possible to maintain our own tracker, where everyone can insert confirmed bugs?

This MathGroup message suggests, that bugs.wolfram.com is some webinterface to the bugtracker. Unfortunately the site is down. Let's assume, we set up our own buglist, everyone could insert not only the bug itself, but the information from the support response too. This would be extremely helpful.

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I work on Linux too and would like to help. –  b.gatessucks Dec 12 '12 at 14:42
Could we not do this by writing a community wiki question 'What bugs have you found in Mathematica 9'. People answer by putting up a suspected bug and we confirm or otherwise in the comments. The usual voting system will help form a priority queue. –  WalkingRandomly Dec 12 '12 at 15:18

1 Answer 1

To answer your question, no, there is no publicly facing bug tracker sponsored by Wolfram. I have also reported several bugs to support. In order to prepare a bug report that doesn't lead to several iterations, I have found it useful to send a screencast of what I was doing. This is irrefutable.

Of course, there are pro's and con's to a bug tracker. I'm torn between the "search through the previously-reported bugs to see if mine is there" and "just report it to technical support" and even if they've heard it a million times, it's no skin off their back. (Unlike an open source system, where you might be wasting volunteer's time if you reported a duplicate bug.)

I dunno. With a system this large, powerful, and cross-platform, there will be bugs. Even if the system runs 99.99% correct, due to the size of the system, the 0.01% of bugs might be appear large in magnitude.

Having a public list of bugs, some real, but many to most user error, may be seen to tarnish Mathematica's image as a trustworthy platform. As a writer of ad hoc software, I have a lot of tolerance for code with bugs. But in the commercial arena, image is everything; and, there will be a vociferous group of intolerant folks who will point to the bug tracker, hence damaging the brand. If I were WRI, I would not sponsor this because in the end, it's just not worth it.

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Mathematica already has a group of beta testers, presumably picked because they push the envelope of the systems capabilities. A bug tracker visible to that group or another selected group could prove useful without exposing the company to unconsidered attention. Everything new needs a bit of coddling. –  Jagra Dec 12 '12 at 15:28
@Eric I disagree here. Firstly, todays bugtrackers are easily searchable and work like a charm. There are dev-groups out there having several hundred developers and they have to keep track of many more issues than Wolfram has. Secondly, it's my time I'm spending creating a bugreport. I would rather search a bug-database for some minutes. –  halirutan Dec 12 '12 at 16:38
@murray But I don't speak about the prerelease bugs here! I speak about the ones that are in the final release and bother everyone. Of course my goal is not to damage WRI's image because I love Mathematica. I see it differently: Reporting bugs here in chat and having WRI guys reacting and joining discussions raised the respectability of WRI in my eyes and I'm sure many others think the same. –  halirutan Dec 12 '12 at 16:50
@halirutan I think Eric was speaking of those people in the industry who look at Mathematica more from a distance (think managers and pointy-haired bosses :)). They may not know about these nice user-developer interactions, but it is enough that one or two posts appear on some blogs where people would trash M based on the bug repository, that they will quickly form an opinion that it is "that buggy stuff", which would be very hard to change. I am not against your suggestion, I just think that what we here know is not quite the same thing as what more general audience might perceive. –  Leonid Shifrin Dec 12 '12 at 18:16
What might be useful is if we had a community wiki or similar with bugs listed as V7, V8, V9 etc. we might be able to lobby Wolfram to fix bugs with each major release rather than let bugs go unfixed for several versions -- at least the bugs identified in the wiki. –  Mike Honeychurch Dec 12 '12 at 22:30

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