Meet "The Firefoxes"

Yesterday Mike Connor came to speak to my class on open source and Mozilla development.  Not to be outdone by that other Mike, he brought “Lucy” and their son Gryphon.  Who says Mozilla isn’t fun for the whole family?  Mike did a great job of illuminating the life-cycle of a bug.  He went through the process in great detail, moving through bug reporting and triage, showed students how to “take” a bug, demonstrated how patches and patch review work, etc.  It was a fantastic inside look at something Mike does automatically without thinking.

A couple of moments stood out for me.  First, Mike took a few minutes to scroll through his reviewer-mail (yes, it took that long).  I don’t think my students always understand why their email to these guys goes unanswered for so long—there’s a lot of bugmail to sift through.  Mike also spent some time doing a review in the class.  It was for a bug in C++, and the fix involved removing 10 lines and adding 2.  Mike told the class that 90% of the reviews he does are 25 lines of code or less.

Mike also spent some time discussing how bugs get nominated and how and who decides when to mark one as WONTFIX.  This got us into a discussion of the recent Debian/Firefox situation, and it was interesting to get Mike’s perspective and insights.

We did have one bizarre glitch though.  For all the lectures we’ve been using Snap Z Pro X to do screencasts of the demos given during the class.  The trial version works quite well...usually.  So far all the other speakers have had no trouble getting it rendered down; however, at the end of the rendering process for Mike, he had 400+M of file, and 1 second of video when you play it!  Mike, you should file a bug on that :)  Hopefully he’ll figure out what his Mac has done so I can share it with you.

The only thing he didn’t have time for was a question I've got from some students about how to fix bug 95849.  Maybe I’ll put it on the exam instead.