The Impact of Automatic Crash Reports on Bug Triaging and Development in Mozilla

TitleThe Impact of Automatic Crash Reports on Bug Triaging and Development in Mozilla
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsAhmed, I, Mohan, N, Jensen, C
Secondary TitleProceedings of The International Symposium on Open Collaboration
Place PublishedNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number978-1-4503-3016-9
KeywordsAutomatic Crash reporting, debugging, FOSS, Free/Open Source Software, Open Bug Reporting, testing

Free/Open Source Software projects often rely on users submitting bug reports. However, reports submitted by novice users may lack information critical to developers, and the process may be intimidating and difficult. To gather more and better data, projects deploy automatic crash reporting tools, which capture stack traces and memory dumps when a crash occurs. These systems potentially generate large volumes of data, which may overwhelm developers, and their presence may discourage users from submitting traditional bug reports. In this paper, we examine Mozilla's automatic crash reporting system and how it affects their bug triaging process. We find that fewer than 0.00009% of crash reports end up in a bug report, but as many as 2.33% of bug reports have data from crash reports added. Feedback from developers shows that despite some problems, these systems are valuable. We conclude with a discussion of the pros and cons of automatic crash reporting systems.

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