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Coping with duplicate bug reports in free/open source software projects

TitleCoping with duplicate bug reports in free/open source software projects
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsDavidson, J. L., N. Mohan, and C. Jensen
Conference NameIEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC)
Pagination101 - 108
Date Published09/2011
Conference LocationPittsburgh, PA
ISBN Number978-1-4577-1244-9
Keywordsbug duplication, bug tracking, bug triage, FOSS, Free/Open Source Software, open bug reporting

Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) communities often use open bug reporting to allow users to participate by reporting bugs. This practice can lead to more duplicate reports, as users can be less rigorous about researching existing bug reports. This paper examines how FOSS projects deal with duplicate bug reports. We examined 12 FOSS projects: 4 small, 4 medium and 4 large, where size was determined by number of code contributors. First, we found that contrary to what has been reported from studies of individual large projects like Mozilla and Eclipse, duplicate bug reports are a problem for FOSS projects, especially medium-sized, which struggle with a large number of submissions without the resources of large projects. Second, we found that the focus of a project does not affect the number of duplicate bug reports. Our findings indicate a need for additional scaffolding and training for bug reporters.