Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fun with Bugs #8 - what's wrong with Oracle's way of handling public MySQL bugs database

Many people seem unhappy with the way Oracle develops MySQL. I am not one of them. I think very few really important things are missing and in this post I'd like to concentrate on one of them: having internal and public bugs databases not in sync in too many cases.

Let me quote myself to explain where problem starts:

"Now the most important thing you should know about MySQL bugs processing the way it is done now in Oracle. When bug is "Verified" and(!) considered serious enough, it is copied to the Oracle internal bugs database and further processing, including status changes etc, is done there. All further comments to the public bug report are then copied to internal bug report automatically, but no comments or status changes in internal bug report are copied to public bug in any other way but by explicit action of some Oracle engineer."
Why is this a problem? Check Bug #42415 for example. It had a lot of activity and even patches pushed until December, 2010, but it is still "Verified". The problem is real and there is even a workaround implemented for cases like this in Percona Server. On October 2012 Sherii asked for status update:

"It says a patch has been committed, but the "status" is "patch pending". Was this actually put in a version of MySQL? If so, which version?

I am interested in this fix, and put in my "vote" to get this fixed."
Then bug became just "Verified" and we know it is not fixed. But why, what prevents this or when it will be fixed? Nobody knows. Well, I have a hint based on a comment from former colleague upon explicit request... But what if you are NOT hanging around on my Facebook page on a regular basis and you are NOT an Oracle customer? You may have to just wait fishing in the dark or keep asking in public (or investing time into workarounds for this problem in your software, or keep telling others that Oracle "kills" MySQL and creating foundations to "save" it, up to you to decide).

Anything wrong with this? I am not sure it's totally wrong in general. There should be some reason for you to become Oracle customer, and having access to more information may be a good enough reason (having a way to request and even demand fixes you need is even better reason). But I think this is wrong if in the corresponding bug in the internal Oracle database there is public comment explaining current status of the bug.

This leads to my point: public bug reports are usually NOT in sync with corresponding internal bug reports.

Status may be not in sync and useful public (and not any confidential or security-related) comments in the internal bugs database are not accessible to the community until some kind soul in Oracle closes the public bug and documents the fix. We know from some examples that this may not happen for months after the bug is really closed. Public bug may be declared a "Duplicate" of something that we know nothing about, check Bug #65326 (here I've got no hints after public request unfortunately), and so on.

How this can be solved (assuming Oracle is going to solve this and still plan to rely on public bugs database and community QA efforts - who knows if they really want these and for how long)? I see two options:

  1. Automatically copy back (with a delay, with some manual approval work if needed) all public comments and status changes from internal bug to corresponding public bug report. Technically this is probably easy and there should be scripts almost ready (as forwarding from public bugs database is automated by scripts). Exceptions like security bugs are easy to identify. Delayed replication should help to prevent mistakes. I asked for this more than once when I still worked in Oracle...
  2. Manually copy back all essential comments and status changes. This is probably a full time job for an engineer or technical writer (or maybe even several), or member of Bugs Verification team, or some independent contractors with non-disclosure agreement signed and trainings passed. I'd happily participate in this kind of activity as an independent contractor in my free time and, I hope, Percona would not be against this.

If nothing like this (investment of time or costs from Oracle side to increase value of public bugs database, to put it simple) happens any time soon it will be a clear indication (for me alt least) of decreasing interest in community bug reports and QA efforts in general. Small step to the direction I personally do not like.


  1. Google search of has been extremely valuable to me for finding known bugs that might explain problems in production. Google search isn't possible with I have not had much experience with the Oracle text search feature provided to search I wonder if it is as good as Google.

    1. Oracle's support search works pretty well. Doing an advanced search on "42415" with a source selection of "Bug Database", and product of "MySQL Server" returned 13 hits, the top one being , which is the Oracle bugreport created from the MySQL bugreport. The other 12 are similar bugs that reference the original mysql bug# somewhere in the text.

      The actual bugreport contents are a step back from MySQL's, though. The entire report is wrapped to 80 columns, and there are no automatic bug# hotlinks.