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Post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List about Zero Bugs in Linux

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Many interesting ideas on version numbering schemes. I like 2.11.X because it maps to years easily in people’s mind, but I look forward to seeing what is chosen. You guys break many of the rules for software development, so why not going backwards in version numbers 😉

While you are talking about arbitrary numbers and new goals, I want to offer that you could consider a push towards zero bugs. In general, as long as your reliability monotonically increases (no regressions) that is an acceptable minimum approach because it means that you will never have a customer go from being happy to unhappy.

However, it is common in companies to make an effort to get towards zero bugs. Zero bugs is impossible, and that is a philosophical discussion. If you look through your current list of bugs, nearly every one looks scary to me and important to someone. You currently have 2,800 active bugs (http://bit.ly/LinuxBugs) The last time I looked, I found the median age was 10 months. In general, bugs should be fixed in the next release and so therefore 3 months.

Zero bug bounces is hard for the others because they don’t have sufficient resources. However, I believe you easily do. I can’t say that anything magical technically will happen if you work on your bugs faster, but I can say that people I respect as much as you taught me this. My salary was based on my ability to promptly respond to my bugs, and zero was everyone’s goal. Hitting zero, even for a minute, could be a newsworthy event, as another way Linux is better than the others. It also shows leadership to user mode. I sometimes get the feeling that many in the FOSS community look at bugs as something they could work on when they get bored of adding new features, instead of: “Holy poop, there is someone unhappy out there.”

Warm regards,

-Keith
http://keithcu.com/

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