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Bug squashing bounties

I just sent this to debian-devel-announce. Hopefully it will be a success!

Dear fellow developers and contributors,

My publisher, Open Source Press, and I were pondering ways to help the F/OSS community (and Debian in particular) over a beer the other day, and the following idea is the result:

We are announcing a bug squashing period, starting now, and ending 14 Dec 2005, 11:59 CET. Squashing a bug gets you a certain number of points (depending mostly on triviality and severity). At the end of the three weeks, the 25 bug squashers with the highest score shall receive a copy of my book, The Debian System, donated by the publisher. If this turns out to be a success, we'll lather-rinse-repeat sometime soon.

Bug squashing is to be done according to the rules listed on the wiki. In particular, everyone is expected to make proper use of usertags to communicate to others that s/he is working on a particular bug. If you are working on a bug, you are expected to send status updates to the bug report at least once in four days, or someone else may announce the intent to lock the bug and take it over after 24 hours. Fixing a bug also involves augmenting the bug report with any relevant information as you go along, and testing the fix with which you came up.

Points will be given to those whose contributions fix a bug. A bug will be considered fixed if a patch addressing the problem has been sent to the BTS and the package's maintainer has not vetoed the patch within five days. Please do not actually close bugs in the BTS (unless you really know what you are doing). Points will only be awarded to patches for bugs which have been reported before this announcement (but you are, of course, welcome to fix any bug -- if it's obvious you aren't trying to cheat and you are otherwise very actively fixing bugs, you may even get points for those too).

After submitting a patch to the BTS, please send a short note to book-bsp ät pobox.madduck.net with the bug number in the subject, and from the email address you used to interact with the BTS. In the message, list any contributors who have helped with the bug, as well as an approximation of the time each of you spent on fixing this bug. Also, document how you have tested your patch.

The amount of points to be awarded depends on the severity of the bug report, as well as the triviality of the patch you came up with. Put differently: while a one-line patch for a wishlist bug might get you 1 point, I could award 100 points for a clean yet elaborate patch to an important bug. Bonus points can be given if you provide reasonable proof of thorough testing of your fix (you could use test-driven development techniques..., also see here), ideally by a third party. Please be aware that bugs fixed by the reporter him/herself will be especially scrutinised.

Anyway, there are no strict rules for the amount of points a patch will get you. In fact, I reserve the right to announce the scores only after the end of the bug squashing period, and I will not answer questions about scores, or address complaints from people who think they have not received enough. However, I shall act as objectively as possible, fair, and honest; for that, I give you my word. I realise this is sketchy and if you don't trust me on this, it's your choice not to participate -- there is no point to argue at this stage. If you have a better suggestion, I would be interested in trying it the next time 'round. Maybe we can establish a good scoring system for the future, but at the moment, no such system exists.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to speak up (Reply-To set). Do note, however, that my tendonitis forces me to take things slow. For this reason, I would like to apologise in advance should the evaluation of all your contributions extend into the new year.

Thanks to Markus Wirtz of Open Source Press for supporting this idea, and to Steve Langasek and Frank Lichtenheld for their advice.