I've been fixing bugs all week as I gear-up for a new round of marking on the students' 0.2 releases. It's been a welcome change hacking my email application (Thunderbird) instead of spending all day replying to mail inside it.
Whenever I can I try to practice what I preach, and since I preach "open source bug fixing," it only makes sense for me to get my hands dirty as often as I can. Every time I do, I learn something new about the process, about open source, and about programming.
Today, as I wait for bugzilla to come back on-line so I can work on my bugs, I have a minute to make an observation. I've spoken in the past about what it's like to work at scale with a project such as Mozilla. Yesterday I was reminded of this again, but for a different reason: Mozilla has a lot of users, and with lots of users comes lots of different/competing ways of using the same things. My patches this week have almost all hit, "but what about my-important-edge-case?" comments from people. It's amazing how we can all take the same program and use it in such different ways.
To really make my point I thought I'd quote Mozilla's Robert O'Callahan (roc) who was bemoaning the same thing on irc last night:
21:15 < roc> argh
21:16 < roc> now we're discussing the linebreaking rules for when Chinese is quoted in German.
It's so different working on something big that a lot of people care about.