Sometimes I don't particularly want to follow a bug intimately and just want to be notified of the interesting changes; when it's closed, when someone attaches a fix, etc.
Take, for example, #454935. I didn't subscribe to the bug at the time I noticed it, as it would have taken a couple of minutes to email 454935-subscribe (and send the confirmation back, wait on the fscking greylisting, delete the ACKs, etc.) and I could have always been overrun with annoying "severity wars", merges with various duplicates, etc. In the event, this didn't happen, but the perceived cost of subscribing to the bug was much greater than the benefit.
Anyway, as I'm fairly certain I'm not alone in encountering bugs like this, my solution was to put together a GNOME panel applet for monitoring specific Debian bugs. It's pretty fully-featured already:
- At-a-glance view of subscribed bugs, showing relevant information concisely
- "Fuzzy" bug number entry box - parses bug URLs, emails addresses and subject lines, etc.
- libnotify messages when bug changes state
- Quick access to reportbug or reportbug-ng via right-click on applet icon
- Polls BTS with exponential back-off to avoid BTS denial-of-service
- Quick access to the BTS page via right-click on bug entry
- Graceful offline mode - downloaded data is still available without network
Perhaps something like this can lure some Debian users into following development a little closer and put them on the path to becoming a regular contributor, who knows.
Source (GPLv3) is available in Git:
% git-clone git://git.chris-lamb.co.uk/debian-bts-applet # or % git-clone http://git.chris-lamb.co.uk/repo/debian-bts-applet.git
It comes with a debian/ directory, which is highly recommended over configuring Bonobo manually.
What would be really useful right now is testing. If you want to contribute, please run your eyes over the TODO and HACKING files as well as the unit tests. If no major issues are found in the next few days, I'll file an ITP and make a call for translations.