Are Developers Fixing Their Own Bugs?

TitleAre Developers Fixing Their Own Bugs?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsIzquierdo-Cortazar, Daniel, Capiluppi Andrea, and Gonzalez-Barahona Jesus M.
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Secondary TitleInternational Journal of Open Source Software and Processes
Volume3
Issue2
Pagination23 - 42
ISSN Number1942-3934
Keywordsbug fixing, developers, loc, scm
Abstract

The process of fixing software bugs plays a key role in the maintenance activities of a software project. Ideally, code ownership and responsibility should be enforced among developers working on the same artifacts, so that those introducing buggy code could also contribute to its fix. However, especially in FLOSS projects, this mechanism is not clearly understood: in particular, it is not known whether those contributors fixing a bug are the same introducing and seeding it in the first place. This paper analyzes the comm-central FLOSS project, which hosts part of the Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, Lightning extensions and Sunbird projects from the Mozilla community. The analysis is focused at the level of lines of code and it uses the information stored in the source code management system. The results of this study show that in 80% of the cases, the bug-fixing activity involves source code modified by at most two developers. It also emerges that the developers fixing the bug are only responsible for 3.5% of the previous modifications to the lines affected; this implies that the other developers making changes to those lines could have made that fix. In most of the cases the bug fixing process in comm-central is not carried out by the same developers than those who seeded the buggy code.

Notes

"The analysis is focused at the level of lines of code and it uses the information stored in the source code management system"

DOI10.4018/jossp.2011040102