That bugs me

Eric writes me the following:

The KPilot that ships with [SuSE] 9.1 is buggier than the one in 9.0 (as seen with two different Palms, the V and the Zire 72) and may change the times of calendar dates, so be careful when you sync and make backups of your calendar files.

And that bugs me. Not his writing, but the fact that there’s a fairly obvious regression in KPilot between those two SuSE releases.

Now, whose fault is this? Why wasn’t this caught earlier? These questions bug me. You see, I really do care about the quality of the software I produce, and though I don’t lie awake nights fretting about possible bugs, I don’t feel happy when something gets out that causes trouble for users of that software. I suppose this is the same theme as the previous blog entry bitterness prevails.

I can trace fairly closely what went wrong here: libkcal was changed to fix some bugs that KPilot worked around; libkcal also changed the semantics of some of its functions. Since libkcal isn’t public (yet) that shouldn’t be a problem as long as those changed semantics are communicated to everyone. that uses it. I might not have been paying attention that day. Since development for KPilot proceeds in HEAD, not BRANCH, the bug wasn’t noticed in BRANCH until it was too late.

So now users of KDE 3.2 branch (even the upcoming KDE 3.2.3) are pretty much stuck with a buggy implementation unless they use the KPilot tarballs from this website.

In an ideal world, four things would be different:

  • I would have all the time in the world to work on, test, and fix KPilot.
  • I would have a clone of myself so that the other guy could fix the same problems in BRANCH as I fix in HEAD.
  • Distributions would pick up the right version of KPilot somehow automagically, which means ignoring the official kdepim tarballs occasionally (certainly for branches).
  • Distributions would test the software they ship, and report problems back to the authors.

Yeah, ideal. As it stands, though, I’ve got to fix bugs where I can (HEAD) and try to put out tarballs often enough to keep abreast of the bugs. And, most important, make sure people know about them.

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