Presenting a unified view
Bug Trackers Present Unified View of Ongoing Work Launchpad aims to link separate conversations in external project bug trackers, such as Bugzilla, Roundup, Sourceforge and the Debian BTS and present a single unified picture of the work ongoing across each of those communities.Zope is an open-source application server written in the Python programming language. "We chose Launchpad to track Zope 3s bugs because it makes it easy for us to work together as a team and to work with other free software communities," said Zope CTO Jim Fulton. "Moving from our custom bug tracker has been real smooth, because the Launchpad team has completed the import of our full bug history." Launchpad.net uses the Bazaar revision control system for its code-hosting service. "It is certainly possible to host all of a projects code on Launchpad, but the system is specifically designed to enable code to be hosted anywhere on the Internet and yet still be easily accessible to project members," Shuttleworth said. "In cases where projects are using the CVS or Subversion systems, Launchpad can maintain a continuous import of the project development trunk into Bazaar. This enables new community participants to have full revision control of their submissions and contributions before they have been given formal commit access to the project." Launchpad keeps track of the translations for each major version of a project separately, which allows translators to continue to improve the translations of a stable release while others begin the work of translating newer versions while they are still under development. "We added Jokosher to Launchpad for translations and within two weeks it was translated into twelve languages," said Jono Bacon, leader of the Jokosher audio editor project and a Ubuntu development manager, said. "We hadnt even told anyone we were doing it. Our community finds it easy to use and hassle-free to administer. It wasnt long before we also moved Jokoshers bug tracking to Launchpad as well." Combining the Knowledge from Lists, Forums The combined knowledge of the project community can often make an excellent support resource. However, much of this support takes place in mailing lists and Web forums where the information cannot be organized into a formal knowledge base. Launchpad enables community members to track and answer user-support requests, and to create a knowledge base of solved issues for that piece of software, Shuttleworth said. "The Launchpad developers are all active participants in free software projects. Weve experienced first-hand the barriers to collaboration, both social and technical, and have designed Launchpad to make collaboration easier. We hope to continue to improve the productivity of those who participate in the free software ecosystem," Shuttleworth said. While some 2,700 projects have been registered, Shuttleworth said, many of them do not use Launchpad as their primary project hosting infrastructure. But their registration facilitates collaboration between other projects that depend on their code, he said. "Launchpad connects us to our most important communities, and brings synergy to issue tracking for Silva, where problems in one component of the stack affect another up or downstream," said Infrae CEO Kit Blake. Infrae, based in The Netherlands, makes Silva, a content management system for organizations that manage complex Web sites. "Key components of our stack were already there: Infraes developers run Ubuntu, we develop with Zope 3, and the dLCMS product [which is built on top of Silva] has been using Launchpad for over a year. Locating the Silva issues on Launchpad was like finding ideal office space, hooked into the grid, loaded with amenities and ripe for networking," Blake said. Questions about Launchpad can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted here. There is also a mailing list for Launchpad users where the system is discussed; details can be found here. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Launchpads bug tracker has both e-mail and Web interfaces, which is attractive to developers who prefer to keep on top of bug conversations by e-mail and to update their bug status without switching to the Web.