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HFOSS litreview1

jks7743 profile image Joshua Schenk ・2 min read

How to Report Bugs Effectively by Simon Tatham is an article I read recently about how to effectively report bugs when working on a collaborative project. Tahtham is the free-software programmer that created PuTTY, a commonly used free SSH client. In the article Tatham gives a very thorough explanation of how to report bugs to programmer. While I have had a lot of experience debugging my and other people's code, I haven't thought about how to properly articulate these problems to my peers. I think that this article can help people who are having trouble with communicating their issues to others, and people who want to be more efficient at debugging their own code.

In one section of the article titled "So then I tried...", Tatham presents a concept many people don't practice when encountering a problem in their code, restraint. Tatham claims that when encountering a bug many people immediately start trying to fix it without thinking everything through. This can cause a simple problem to become much worse. He advocates for proper planning and research before doing something irreversible. While I do think that the ice isn't always as thin as Tatham suggests in his article, I agree that stopping to think about what happened and planning out a solution before rushing in to fix it would help me a lot in my problem solving process.

While the previous section I mentioned felt more about debugging my own code, the rest of the article is very focused on reporting bugs to other people's projects. The article was was a verbose, but it was a nice description of the proper ways to report bugs as a user or collaborator. Tatham discusses how to provide concise, helpful information to people that need to fix a bug or help you figure out why something isn't working for you. He wants people to provide thorough steps on how to recreate a problem, and be very specific in what you see when things start to break.

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Joshua Schenk

@jks7743

Computer Science undergrad at RIT

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