Talk:Debbugs

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Neal Stephenson[edit]

As far as I know, Debian is the only Linux distribution that has its own constitution (http://www.debian.org/devel/constitution), but what really sold me on it was its phenomenal bug database (http://www.debian.org/Bugs), which is a sort of interactive Doomsday Book of error, fallibility, and redemption. It is simplicity itself. When had a problem with Debian in early January of 1997, I sent in a message describing the problem to submit@bugs.debian.org. My problem was promptly assigned a bug report number (#6518) and a severity level (the available choices being critical, grave, important, normal, fixed, and wishlist) and forwarded to mailing lists where Debian people hang out. Within twenty-four hours I had received five e-mails telling me how to fix the problem: two from North America, two from Europe, and one from Australia. All of these e-mails gave me the same suggestion, which worked, and made my problem go away. But at the same time, a transcript of this exchange was posted to Debian's bug database, so that if other users had the same problem later, they would be able to search through and find the solution without having to enter a new, redundant bug report.....

So I gave up and still, to this day, have never gotten Windows NT installed on that particular machine. For me, the path of least resistance was simply to use Debian Linux.

In the world of open source software, bug reports are useful information. Making them public is a service to other users, and improves the OS. Making them public systematically is so important that highly intelligent people voluntarily put time and money into running bug databases. In the commercial OS world, however, reporting a bug is a privilege that you have to pay lots of money for. But if you pay for it, it follows that the bug report must be kept confidential--otherwise anyone could get the benefit of your ninety-five bucks! And yet nothing prevents NT users from setting up their own public bug database.[1]

From In the Beginning...was the Command Line. I'm none too sure how to integrate this into the article. --Gwern (contribs) 22:54 16 March 2008 (GMT)