Triaging Bugs with Patches

Brian Murray brian at
Thu Feb 18 22:59:05 UTC 2010

On Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 10:42:34PM -0500, Evan wrote:
> I've been triaging a few bugs, and I came across a pair of bugs in libpcap
> which had patches [1][2].
> I found and checked the wiki page on triaging bugs with patches [3], and
> after completing the available steps, I ran into a wall.
> The complete text of the section describing what to do with a bug that has a
> patch reads as follows:
> > In the event that [the patch] is not a debdiff one could incorporate the
> > patch into a debdiff for the latest release of Ubuntu or apply the patch to
> > a bzr branch of the package and link the branch to the bug report.
> > If an attachment is a debdiff and applies to a recent version of the
> > package the bug report needs to be sponsored<>to the appropriate archive. This is done by subscribing (NOT assigning) the
> > appropriate sponsorship team to the bug. For packages in main and restricted
> > the ubuntu-main-sponsors team should be subscribed. For packages in the
> > universe and multiverse repositories the ubuntu-universe-sponsors team
> > should be subscribed. You can view their queues at main-sponsors<>and
> > universe-sponsors<>
> > .
> >
> 1) The two attached patches are simple diffs, not debdiffs - is there a way
> to convert them, and could it be added to this page?

This isn't exactly trivial as you would need to incorporate the patch in
the package's patch system (if it has one) and update the changelog
among other things. Some documentation that might help in this process,
if you are interested, can be found at

> 2) As a triager, how is one expected to be able to apply a patch to a bzr
> branch, and what if the project isn't hosted on launchpad/bzr? This seems
> more dev-related then triager-related.

Most packages are available in bzr on launchpad so you could use bzr
branch lp:ubuntu/libpcap.  Unfortunately, this isn't the case for
libpcap though.  There is also a plugin so one can use bzr patch and the
link to the patch on launchpadlibrarian.

> 3) Is there a way to tell from a bug page which repository the package is
> in? I eventually found it on the launchpad libpcap package page, but I
> couldn't find any obvious indicator on the bug page itself. This should
> probably be mentioned as well.

When you mouse-over the package name in the bug task table you are
presented with information about the latest package version and the
repository it is from.  I'll update the wiki page appropriately.
> To my mind, once a bug has an attached patch which the triager can verify as
> at least being potentially useful, there should be a simple button "flag as
> patched".
> This flag should ping the maintainer with something like: "Project X has a
> ticket with a patch!".
> The maintainer (or another dev) should then check the patch, commit it, and
> close the bug.

The bugs with patches are already flagged this way in bug listings, the
dual band-aid icon, additionally e-mail notifications now indicate when
attachments flagged as patches are added to bug reports.

The sponsorship queue is a way to collate bug reports with patches
across packages which is something that isn't easy to do in Launchpad.
You can either view all the bugs with patches (quite a lot at the
moment) or only one package's bugs with patches.
> I'm not a workflow expert, so there may be reasons for the way the system is
> currently set up, but it doesn't make sense to me.

I agree that the current workflow isn't ideal but hope that I've helped
clarify some of the process for you.

> If the general consensus is that my points on the wiki are valid, I'll take
> a shot at rewriting that section.

I'll be taking a look at the wiki page also.
Brian Murray                                       
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