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Impact of switching bug trackers: a case study on a medium-sized open source project

Théo Zimmermann 1, 2 Annalí Casanueva Artís 3 
1 PI.R2 - Design, study and implementation of languages for proofs and programs
UPD7 - Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7, CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IRIF (UMR_8243) - Institut de Recherche en Informatique Fondamentale, Inria de Paris
Abstract : For most software projects, the bug tracker is an essential tool. In open source development, this tool plays an even more central role as it is generally open to all users, who are encouraged to test the software and report bugs. Previous studies have highlighted the act of reporting a bug as a first step leading a user to become an active contributor. The impact of the bug reporting environment on the bug tracking activity is difficult to assess because of the lack of comparison points. In this paper, we take advantage of the switch, from Bugzilla to GitHub, of the bug tracker of Coq, a medium-sized open source project, to evaluate and interpret the impact that such a change can have. We first report on the switch itself, including the migration of preexisting issues. Then we analyze data from before and after the switch using a regression discontinuity design, an econometric methodology imported from quantitative policy analysis. We complete this quantitative analysis with qualitative data from interviews with developers. We show that the switch induces an increase in bug reporting, particularly from principal developers themselves, and more generally an increased engagement with the bug tracking platform, with more comments by developers and also more external commentators.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 26, 2019 - 1:20:22 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 25, 2022 - 4:23:56 PM


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  • HAL Id : hal-01951176, version 3


Théo Zimmermann, Annalí Casanueva Artís. Impact of switching bug trackers: a case study on a medium-sized open source project. ICSME 2019 - International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution, Sep 2019, Cleveland, United States. ⟨hal-01951176v3⟩



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