I had a bizarre experience at JavaOne yesterday. And I have witnesses. Lots of witnesses. We were approached at the Eclipse booth by a gentleman sporting a “FindBugs” t-shirt. Our conversation went something like this:
The guy: Is there somebody here who works on the Eclipse project?
Me: There are three of us here that work on some different Eclipse projects. What’s up?
The guy: I found a bug. It’s a significant one. In the code, you attempt to compare two things and if they turn out not to be equal, you delete an important directory. The problem is that you attempt to compare a File to a string; these things will never be equal.
Me: That sounds like a bug to me. Did you report it?
The guy: No.
Me: How long ago did you find it?
The guy: Thursday.
Me: You’ve been sitting on a bug for almost a week and haven’t reported it?
The guy: it’s not my job to report your bugs.
Me: So, you just find bugs then. You don’t report them.
The guy: You’re stupid! [he rants incoherently for about 30 seconds and storms off, red-faced]
Me (to Lynn): What just happened?
As far as I (and everybody else in the four-booth vicinity) was concerned, we were having a rather nice, if not jovial, conversation right up until the point when I was branded as stupid in a fit of what I can only describe as Nerd Rage. FWIW, I’m pretty sure that I’m not stupid.
I do, however, think that this gentleman has missed an excellent opportunity to show just how great the project he apparently cares about is at finding bugs. I’m imaging a bug report that provides pointers into very specific parts of the code detailing the problem with sufficient detail that we can’t help but fix it. Moreover, I’m imaging that this bug makes reference to the excellent software that was used to find the bug and the engineer who worked his magic to find it. Of course, this is based on an assumption that, when you work on an open source project, you actually care about the project and want others to know how great it is. What a better way to get people excited by your project than to provide value to a community by using it for its intended purpose?
Alas, apparently finding bugs is enough. If only somebody would create a ReportBugs project at SourceForge…
Unfortunately, the gentleman stormed off in a huff before I could find out more about the bug. If anybody out there can identify the bug and provide sufficient detail to fix it, I’ll find something nice for you. Maybe a nice Eclipse golf shirt. Mmmmm, golf shirt…