Wednesday, September 19, 2018

JDK Bug System Time Wasters

Several possibilities of the message's possible contents crossed my mind when I saw the title of Jesper Wilhelmsson's message "Introducing time wasters" on the OpenJDK jdk-dev mailing list. In the second or so between reading that link and having the message appear after clicking on the link, I wondered if the message would be about one of the following topics:

  • People wasting the time of developers working on the JDK
  • People wasting the time of developers sharing ideas and responding to questions on the mailing lists
  • Trivial defect reports or reports of observations that are intentional (not defects)

It turns out that Wilhelmsson's topic was more interesting than those. Wilhelmsson opens the message with these two sentences (I added the emphasis), "As an experiment we are introducing a new label in JBS, timewaster. The label is used to tag bugs that for some reason is wasting engineering time." That message provides additional considerations to be made when deciding whether to label a bug in JDK Bug System (JBS) with the "timewaster" label.

The "Labels" section of the JBS Overview page describes the purpose of JBS labels: "Users can associate one or more labels with an issue. Such labels are often used to manage informal processes and record ad hoc information." Although a given label does not necessarily change the priority of a bug (it communicates importance informally rather than formally), Wilhelmsson points out that the "timewaster" label communicates additional urgency, "A time waster has higher urgency than other bugs."

Jesper Wilhelmsson's post spells out some examples where this "timewasters" label might be used. Here are some bugs from the JBS that may have been or may be appropriate for such a label given the text in the bug.

It will be interesting to see how the "timewaster" experiment works out and how the criteria for determining what is a "timewaster" and what is not develops. I just wish I could label some of the defects I get assigned as time wasters.