This Mother’s Life with Bugzilla

Open source really is a way of life and a way of thinking about things. About not accepting lack of control and being able to wield technology in the way that makes sense to your life. My family has been open source for 8 years now.  Not just in the sense that we use Firefox.  We’ve been using Sunbird for years to track our schedules (I can get on a very good rant about how it’s no longer supported and how we had a release quality product and are now forcing people to use google… but that’s best done with alcohol), my kids use Google docs and Libre Office instead of Word for assignments, but it really sunk in during the divorce.


It can be really jarring going from an open source world to an old fashioned one. Lawyers, at least our lawyers, are definitely still old fashioned  – though not always their own fault, my lawyer told me they’re required to keep pen and paper notes by law.  We were constantly having to remind them that mconnor is paid twice a month, not every two weeks. I’m not kidding, this came up every visit for at least the first 5 meetings.  My goodness did we want diffs when we were shown revised agreements, and how much easier it would have been if we could have submitted patches for the changes we wanted. About half-way through we realized that if we had it to do over again, we’d totally use Bugzilla.


Bugzilla also keeps coming up when we forget an arrangement we made for this holiday or that extra fee as we couldn’t remember if we’d made the arrangement via email (searchable), IM (searchable, but which one?) or using voice (SOL) and if we’d made a new arrangement after the last one we could find in our logs.  It comes up with the health benefits, too. We’re both really bad with paper. We’ve learned that receipts get scanned and emailed ASAP, but then there’s getting to the requests, and digging up the receipts. The usefulness of a bug tracker starts to be really apparent when you’re relying on someone who gets as much mail as mconnor does to remember to see that receipt and act on it next time he’s free.


Then there’s the kids. I have often mused on being able to assign bugs to them rather than having to either rely on them to do the things I asked them to do, or remind them constantly, though a robust task tracker rather than a bug tracker would probably be a better fit.  More importantly it would be great for them to be able to file bugs for me – sign that form for that field-trip, remember those school supplies they need me to pick up.


So I’ve done it. I’ve managed to install Bugzilla 4.2.4 on my dreamhost hosting – the instructions here are still relevant,  thanks to Biesi for the assist with CPAN. I’m not using it for a start-up or a side software project. I’m using it for my life.  I’ll keep you all posted with the ups and downs.

4 Responses to “This Mother’s Life with Bugzilla”

  • Luis

    If your lawyer can’t give you a diff (what we call a redline) they are doing something wrong. Patches… are sadly harder 😉

    • Kensie

      Yeah, I think they were trying to save time by having the whole thing ready for us to look at. We’re past that stage anyway (thank god!)

  • Robert Accettura

    Not that crazy.

    I actually use MediaWiki (the software behind wikipedia) + a few plugins on my server as my notepad/todo list. It works quite well. It’s accessible everywhere, it’s fast, easy to use, interlinked, searchable, has a great robust revision system. I’m under utilizing it, but that’s fine. It does exactly what I want/need.

    The only thing I’d like is easier searching of revisions, but I think I could hack something together in a weekend if it were pressing enough, I’ve managed for quite some time without, so I guess it’s not that important.

    It sounds weird, but these tools do work well on the personal level. I’m the only user of my wiki, but it still works well. Just because it was designed to scale up doesn’t mean it doesn’t scale down.

    • Kensie

      Interesting! I can’t imagine how you actually use it effectively, I’d be interested in reading about that. I need my task trackers to be dead simple, input fields and forms etc. While Bugzilla itself is crazy powerful it’s actually pretty simple to fill out a bug form, and then simple to follow activity on the bug. When I picture using a wiki I picture a blank page that you fill in yourself.