I’m absolutely thrilled to see this chart of untriaged bugs in Inkscape since the project moved to Launchpad:

Untriaged Inkscape bugs after move to LP

As you can see, the Inkscape community has been busy triaging and closing bugs, radically reducing the “new and unknown” bug count and giving the developers a tighter, more focused idea of where the important issues are that need to be addressed.

A lot of my personal interest in free software is motivated by the idea that we can be more efficient if we collaborate better. If we want free software to be the norm for personal computing software, then we have to show, among other things, that the open, free software approach taps into the global talent pool in a healthier, more dynamic way than the old proprietary approach to building software does. We don’t have money on our side, but we do have the power of collaboration.

I put a lot of personal effort into Launchpad because I love the idea that it can help lead the way to better collaboration across the whole ecosystem of free software development. I look for the practices which the best-run projects follow, and encourage the Launchpad guys to make it easy for everyone to do those things. These improvements and efficiencies will help each project individually, but it also helps every Linux distribution as well. This sort of picture gives me a sense of real accomplishment in that regard.

Bryce Harrington, who happens to work for Canonical and is a member of the Inkscape team, told me about this and blogged the experience. I’ve asked a few other Inkscape folks, and they seem genuinely thrilled at the result. I’m delighted. Thank you!

30 comments:

  1. Jonathan Roberts says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    But is Launchpad itself free software yet!? I might have missed a trick here…

  2. Simone Brunozzi says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    I agree with you.
    Side note: I don’t like graphs in which the scale doesn’t start from zero (in this case, 400).
    It shows a different reality. Is sort of “Microsoftish” :-)

    In any case, great for Inkscape!

  3. virtualblackfox says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Nice for inkscape, too bad that launchpad is still closed source software.

  4. DC@DR says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I’m thrilled too! Keep up the good work, guys :-)

  5. Gavin Baker says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    It’s good that a nice FOSS project has found a tool to improve their productivity. Now if only that tool were itself free!

  6. Tomer says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Lanchpad is nice alternative to other bug tracking systems, but it is lacking the openness of others. I’m waiting to the moment when Lanchpad will become OSS, which will make me very happy.

  7. Timo Aaltonen says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    It’s impressive, but I must add that the graph shows bugs marked as “new”, there are still ~1650 open bugs :)

    http://people.ubuntu.com/~bryce/Plots/

  8. John Bokma says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Excellent news. As a long time Xara user I want to switch to Inkscape, or at least give it a very serious try.

  9. Ubuntu Look » A fantastic result for Inkscape with Launchpad says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    [...] Read more at Mark Shuttleworth Blog [...]

  10. Estadística « Penyaskito says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    [...] aún no he aprobado la asignatura, la Sra. Mª Dolores Jiménez Gamero me enseñó bastante. Hoy Mark Shuttleworth nos habla de cómo LaunchPad ha ayudado al proyecto Inkscape a reducir el número …. Nos vende como LaunchPad (pese a no ser opensource) ayuda a gestionar mejor los bugs. No digo que [...]

  11. pacho says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Launchpad is great but, when will be it free software?

    Thanks a lot :-)

  12. Vincent says: (permalink)
    January 4th, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Considering Canonical’s track record I’ll just trust Launchpad to become open source someday, so I think it’s a great move (I also find Bugzilla very clunky) :)

  13. Bryce Harrington says: (permalink)
    January 5th, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Mark did specify that the plot was against _untriaged_ bugs that are new and unknown, but it’s probably worth the added emphasis. It would be pretty unworldly for a project to fix 1000 bugs in two weeks! :-)

    That said, in the process of triaging through so many bugs, a lot got closed too – we reduced the number of open bugs from 1900 to 1650 over this period.

  14. jef says: (permalink)
    January 5th, 2008 at 2:43 am

    “Considering Canonical’s track record I’ll just trust Launchpad to become open source someday, so I think it’s a great move (I also find Bugzilla very clunky) :)”

    Considering their track record, I don’t trust them at all especially since they haven’t produced a time line or roadmap towards despite having dozens of people working on it. I don’t know what’s the official excuse anymore. Mark, would you answer that?

  15. Dread Knight says: (permalink)
    January 5th, 2008 at 3:43 am

    Would be nice if other projects would follow along (KDE, Gnome, blender).

    Making Launchpad open source would surelly feel better for lots of people, including me. I have a moral issue concerning the use of proprietare/non-freeware/closed-source software (and I’m proud about it).
    Still, LP is a GREAT tool/service. Cheers Mark!

    Mark Shuttleworth says:
    Given your email address @gmail.com it’s clearly not an absolute conviction ;-). We have already released some of the code in LP, and continue to release other pieces. I don’t know of any best practice yet for web services like LP. None of the competition to LP publish their code.

  16. Carroarmato0 says: (permalink)
    January 5th, 2008 at 10:08 am

    That is good news…. but might also be interpreted as people are constantly bored of it so less bug hunters actually want to work on it. :D

  17. Oren says: (permalink)
    January 5th, 2008 at 11:21 am

    I don’t understand the criticism against launchpad not being FOSS yet. It’s a web service after all, and neither sourceforge or google code do not reveal their source code.
    In addition, Canonical Has promised to release the code when it will be possible as it did with a bunch of other tools.

  18. Tony Yarusso says: (permalink)
    January 6th, 2008 at 5:45 am

    This is certainly great news for Inkscape, as well as everyone who uses it. However, I find it interesting that you so plainly highlight the hypocrisy of Launchpad, noting that “the open, free software approach taps into the global talent pool in a healthier, more dynamic way than the old proprietary approach to building software does”, while pretending not to notice that you have kept the very tool you’re talking about from benefiting from that fact. How is anyone supposed to believe Canonical’s marketing for open source software such as that found in Ubuntu when Canonical doesn’t appear to believe in their own slogans?

    Ubuntu’s gained a large following and gotten a lot of attention, that’s for sure. However, if Canonical wants to be taken seriously as well rather than just through a product they are involved in, they need to show a committment to the principles their sales team espouses. The community has heard enough of “when it’s ready” – we need numbers. We need a solid, confirmed, immovable date when Launchpad will be 100% open source, preferably tomorrow (or yesterday, actually). Numerous people in the community have expressed their displeasure and discomfort at being forced to use proprietary software if they want to participate in Ubuntu, but thus far have been ignored. Some of those people are no longer working on Ubuntu. Others are merely doing less, or doing it begrudgingly.

    As for other applications making use of the tool, I think it’s great that projects like Inkscape can see the benefits of it, but I’m frankly a bit surprised they were willing to try it. I know that I for one would not be comfortabe hosting any software project I controlled on Launchpad until it is open, for the same reasons I avoid proprietary systems elsewhere.

    So, what will the date be Mark? What can we finally tell the community?

  19. Donegarden says: (permalink)
    January 6th, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I’m glad to see Inkscape team better managing its bugs and reports cause as I said on linuxfr.org, this software is one of the best open source software I’m using in my day to day life: http://linuxfr.org/~donegarden/25923.html

    Launchpad seems to be a great software management service.

  20. Bogdan Bivolaru says: (permalink)
    January 7th, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Great new Inkscape.

    Regarding opensourcing Launcpad:
    Can’t you develop some kind of compatibility check tool, just as the one Sun has released for Java?
    Also you could copyright the LaunchPad name and let others use it only if their data format complies to your format.
    Another great idea would be to provide a “federated” bug search tool between all future Launchpad installations.
    – This of course if admins of those future installations do want to join forces.
    The federated search should also be free/open source.

    Mark Shuttleworth says: I agree with you – the best solution is to figure out how to federate all the existing bug tools like Bugzilla and RT, rather than to try to get everyone to use the same tool. We built LP specifically to interact nicely with other tools from Bugzilla to SourceForge) rather than trying to get people to switch to LP. Folks should use the tool that suits them best.

  21. Concerned Coward says: (permalink)
    January 7th, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Mark, the results for Inkscape are fantastic (Inkscape is a real FOSS gem), but like others here, I’m really concerned.

    I’ve really held off writing this, because I’m a huge Ubuntu fan: the software, the project, the community and the core ideals. But I squirm whenever the issue of Launchpad arises. Frankly, its proprietary status is excruciatingly embarrassing to those of us who proselytize Ubuntu. It’s a direct contradiction of the core ideals of the project. Like others above, I have no answer to critics who gleefully point out that at the heart of the Ubuntu project there exists a glaring, and worse *willful*, philosophical inconsistency.

    Please fix this Mark. Having achieved so much, it would truly be a tragedy if Ubuntu lost support and momentum over this issue. Once the negative meme is established, it’s going to be really hard to correct it. Ubuntu has so much good will at present, please don’t risk throwing that away. If the Ubuntu star fades, it could be years before there’s anything comparable to replace it.

    It seems absurd, but Launchpad’s proprietary status is a probably a bigger threat to Ubuntu than Microsoft or any other proprietary vendor ever could be. The application’s licensing status is compromising the apparent integrity of the Ubuntu project in a very public way and giving ammunition to its critics that they would never have had if it were open/Free.

    Personally, I do trust you and Canonical to eventually do the right thing. But I’m very concerned that the Ubuntu project’s reputation will be irreparably damaged before those right things are done.

    It seems fairly clear that Canonical’s hold on Launchpad is primarily for pragmatic (i.e. management and control) reasons rather than for commercial or other reasons. While many will understand and sympathize, even such worthy expedience can’t justify such an apparently hypocritical situation.

    Yours sincerely …. (I’m posting this anonymously, although you can see from my mail address who I am).

    Mark Shuttleworth says: I appreciate the sentiment. Your email address @gmail.com suggests that you do use web services that don’t publish their source code. I would very much like to establish a best practice for open web services, including publishing the source code. I want to tap into that talent pool, there are lots of folks with interesting ideas for Launchpad. At the same time, LP is not a federated solution. It would get worse for users like Inkscape, not better, if there were lots of instances of Launchpad to choose from. Folks are all entitled to their opinions, and entitled to choose the tool they want to use. About the only software project hosting service I know of that is totally open is GNU Savannah and I can recommend it heartily if that’s the most important thing to you.

    We’ve debated internally at great length on how best to move to a fully open sourced Launchpad. We have good people who care deeply about free software and contribute a lot to the free software community, both through Ubuntu and directly upstream in many projects. Those who think that Launchpad’s licensing is the result of a lack of care for free software, or a lack of experience, or a lack of insight, or a “willful inconsistency”, are mistaken. We want what’s best for the projects that use Launchpad.

    I intend to make sure the code is published. I expect there will always be some things that are only relevant to Canonical, and other things which make sense as independent projects. LP is one big mishmash of those things right now, because we built it quickly with a single user in mind. In time, we will tease those things apart. Right now, my priority is to continue to bring best practices to the projects that use LP, to make them more efficient and easier to manage.

    In the short term, we intend to expose all data in LP via API’s so that we can at least rigorously address the concerns people may have about data lock-in. It’s certainly not our intent to lock anyone in, we’ve never refused a request from a project for a dump of their data, but it would be better if that access were available in a standard set of API’s 24×7.

  22. Ubuntu Look » Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #72 says: (permalink)
    January 7th, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    [...] === A fantastic result for Inkscape with Launchpad === Just a couple weeks after Inkscape moved its bug tracker to Launchpad (see https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuWeeklyNewsletter/Issue67), the results are impressive! The Inkscape community has been working very hard, and the number of new bugs has decreased from about 1800 to 1500 within a week. Mark Shuttleworth elaborates on the strength of the Open Source community in his article: http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/135 [...]

  23. Bogdan Bivolaru says: (permalink)
    January 7th, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Standard for communication between project infrastructures

    I see the way forward as a Foundation Board (free to join as individual contributors, not permitted for companies) that establishes community standards on all collaboration resources.

    Such a standard should include what kind of information should be contained in a bug report, and this could in turn be implemented as a RDF resource. As far as I have seen LaunchPad already provides RDF resources for bugs. This way there would have, if needs be, an easy transition between different project infrastructures: maybe one will be able to take all the bugs (closed or open) her/his project has on Source Forge and have them automatically imported, as a batch, into LaunchPad or CollabNet.

    For project infrastructure there are also tools like Maven, which ads the goodness of dependency management. We should check the effectiveness of Maven and similar tools, find their weakest spot and make a request to the responsible team to improve that feature.

    I also think we need to research more thoroughly a free software development methodology. We do not like some Agile or XP programming ways of doing things, so we need our own methodology/-ies. There are some academic studies on our development model but they are scatterd across different web sites. The idea is that we do need a more structured, integrated documentation tool on how we do/should work.

    This research is needed to prepare the infrastructure we will use 2,4,8 years from now, when both the number and the diversity of contributors to our community will grow immensely.

  24. Martin Owens says: (permalink)
    January 8th, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Hey Mark, The problems with the Launchpad code stem from an inability to fix the problems that we find with the software. At UDS in Boston your Launchpad team was doing usability studies and the number of problems with the polls section of Launchpad deeply troubled me. I’ve been managing the Ubuntu-MA LoCo team on Launchpad (for which there is not enough integration with wiki, mailing lists irc channels and not even a damn events calendar) I’ve also tried a small project and I’ve seen the bug tracker which is one of the better bug trackers.

    In my eyes I see the situation as:

    Community: “Mark we want to help you make the tools we use better.”
    Mark: “You can not help yet, please bare with us while we try and add things _we_ think are needed.”

    Now you can faff about worrying about fragmentation, or you can ride the FOSS train by the seat of your pants and open the code, how ever ugly and embarrassing it is and show us all what it means to put your fears aside and trust the community that develops your software.

    Regards, Martin

  25. Paolo says: (permalink)
    January 8th, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Mark,
    LKML people are discussing about how to improve the current bug tracking system (Bugzilla) and they are even discussing a possible replacement (at the moment there are still not strong arguments for changing the BTS but still, that’s an option) so I wonder whether an Ubuntu person (maybe the Ubuntu kernel maintainer) could jump into the discussion explaining why LP could be a potential replacement for Bugzilla (Of course if you all believe that LP could be used for that complex task).

    Ciao,
    Paolo

  26. Lettre Hebdomadaire Ubuntu n° 72 du 30 décembre 2007 au 5 janvier 2008 « Lettre Hebdomadaire Ubuntu says: (permalink)
    January 8th, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    [...] Tout juste deux semaines après qu’Inkscape ait déplacé son suivi de bugs sur Launchpad (voir https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuWeeklyNewsletter/Issue67/Fr), les résultats sont impressionnants ! La communauté d’Inkscape a travaillé très dur, et le nombre de nouveaux bugs a diminué d’environ 1800 à 1500 en une semaine. Mark Shuttleworth détaille la force de la communauté des logiciels libres dans son article. [...]

  27. Inkscape obtient un résultat fantastique avec Launchpad says: (permalink)
    January 10th, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    [...] Traduction française de l’article “A fantastic result for Inkscape with Launchpad“. [...]

  28. mark says: (permalink)
    January 13th, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    “We don’t have money on our side” said leader of most rich and profit-less linux distribution.

    Mark Shuttleworth says: None of the linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Red Hat or Novell, can compete with Microsoft and Oracle on financial terms. We have to collaborate with one another and with the free software community if we want to have a chance of changing the way the software industry really works today.

  29. mark says: (permalink)
    January 14th, 2008 at 12:09 am

    … and I’m using @gmail.com with IMAP, which is an open protocol. Closed web interface is not a good argument.

    Mark Shuttleworth says: Ah. So if we export all of the data through an open protocol like IMAP, or web services API’s, then you would be happy? Good! Because that’s what we are working on. There’s no attempt to lock anybody’s data into Launchpad.

  30. Olivier Mengué says: (permalink)
    January 22nd, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    According to Bryce http://www.bryceharrington.org/drupal/node/18 :
    « SourceForge had a dedicated tracker for ‘requests for feature enhancements’ (RFE’s) – which could similarly be prioritized and managed, whereas in Launchpad they’re mixed together with bugs, and can just be marked ‘WISHLIST’. A bit better differentiation would be desired. For example, there should be easy links to report a feature request directly, without requiring a triager to flag it so, and an easy link for listing only WISHLIST bugs. Further, in our conversion, the RFE’s mostly came through as ‘NEW’ bugs, so had to all be re-triaged (not a bad thing, but extra work.) »

    So many of the triaged bugs HAD TO be triaged due to the conversion from SourceForge to LaunchPad. Presenting the big number of bugs triaged thanks to LaunchPad is quite misleading.