Pidgin vs msn-pecan; bug numbers don’t lie

John Bailey from the Pidgin team decided to post some raw numbers of their bug tracker in which is clear their MSN component is lacking some love. He even goes further into excusing their neglect: “Our time is a precious resource, and in many cases we simply have better things to do”. His post ends up accepting that they need help; IOW MSN is currently under-maintained.

However I think the situation is even worst than that; not only MSN has more bugs open than other protocols; the ones that have been closed haven’t actually been fixed. I took some time to generate some hard numbers and the results are undeniable.


Here’s a graph showing the status of all the bugs:

MSN bugs in pidgin

Pidgin bugs

Notice the huge amount of bugs that have been automatically closed. This means it’s not clear what happened to the bug. One possibility is that the bugs are still present.

The only bugs that we actually know have been fixed are: ‘fixed’ and ‘out of date’. The ones we know are not fixed are: ‘cantfix’, ‘wontfix’, and ‘worksforme’. I will also include ‘autoclose’ because although we don’t know if the bug is still present, we know it wasn’t verified as fixed. ‘duplicate’ and ‘invalid’ should stay out of the picture because for all purposes they are not valid.

If we take this into consideration then 24% were fixed, and 25% not fixed, so there you go; there are more bugs closed as not fixed than fixed.

Why aren’t the Pidgin developers worried about this? Well, most probably they are not even aware of these numbers because their tracker doesn’t provide them. I had to manually download the web page of each one of the MSN bugs, and then parse the changes for resolution, and if the bug was automatically closed or not (automatically closed bugs are not marked in any way).

Add the bug tracker to another component of Pidgin that needs some work.


Here’s the graph for msn-pecan:

msn-pecan bugs

msn-pecan bugs

update: I decided to add a new “Incomplete” state in order to differentiate the bugs closed due to lack of feedback

In this case 52% of the bugs have actually been fixed, 15% are still open, so regardless of how we consider the remaining 22% (disregarding duplicates), the vast majority of bugs are fixed.

Now, unlike Pidgin, we don’t automatically close bugs after 14 days. Depending on the priority it might make sense to keep reminding the reporter(s) that further information is needed. If it’s clear the bug is not going to go forward then it’s manually marked as Incomplete, but it’s clearly distinguishable for other invalid bugs.

Also, unlike Pidgin, our bug tracker is crystal clear about the status of the bugs, priority, popularity, and target milestone; just take a look.


You should ask yourself this question; Where do I have better chances of getting my bug fixed? I hope this post has made it clear: msn-pecan by a large margin.

If the Pidgin team has problems maintaining MSN, why don’t they help themselves and start using msn-pecan?

Note: Also, unlike John Bailey’s, my blog is happy to receive comments ๐Ÿ™‚


10 thoughts on “Pidgin vs msn-pecan; bug numbers don’t lie

  1. If you swung a gentler hammer, they might be more inclined to consider it. Seriously, there are people involved here, and the meatware is always a challenge.

    Don’t get me wrong: I have a lot of respect for good coding and bug-closing numbers, and a guy who has given to the community as you have.

    Consider attracting bees with honey rather than vinegar: “you suck, here’s how you suck… by the way: you still suck” can’t pave a welcome path for discussion. “You stole my code” et al may be true, but it’s not diplomatic, and detracts from your greater goal.

    I don’t know how else to write that without realizing that my own comments are a bit harsh, or implying that I’ve had a perfect relationship with everyone I’ve worked with; I haven’t. I did get major companies — my company’s competitors! — to agree on a switching to a consistent underlying datastore to the benefit of common coding and sharing. That includes replacing their own code (ie “vested effort”, “pet project”) for a common library. That’s one victory, ever, and it also involved statistics, but… a bit more honey.

  2. I have to agree with Allan here.. I’m all for the great work you do and I really understand your frustration with the Pidgin team, but the bashing is really getting out of hand with this post..

    The Pidgin team could really use a second comming of mesiah at the moment, but this is not the way to adress them.

  3. You know those commercials that say “our competitor sucks, we rule, change with us”. Mind you, I have always taken those as a desperate measure to attract customers. Seldom those are funny.

    You do know how we say it in Spanish: “las cosas caen por su propio peso” (things fall because of their own weight).

    What I mean to say is to relax a bit and wait. So far, the biggest show stopper of BOTH plug-ins have been the lack of fast file transfers. So msn-pecan support it partially now, but enough. Give this the highest priority if possible along with stability. Continue doing a good job and working on what the other does NOT have, and advertise how good you are, not how bad the other is. If it is good enough the community will pick it up eventually.

    Enjoy of the ride of creating a nice piece of free software and have a drink a toast to your users. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. First of all, the honey vs vinegar analogy is a bit twisted. What is msn-pecan in this case? IMO it should be the honey. The problem is that in this case the bears have some taste disorder that doesn’t let them appreciate the sweetness.

    IOW, if they are not able to appreciate technical merit, and set aside their personal beef even when they themselves realize they need help; their software project is doomed anyway.

    Secondly, I am positive that it doesn’t matter how nice I try to be, they will not cooperate; they don’t cooperate with GNOME, freedesktop, telepathy. They don’t even cooperate with their own clients like instantbird, and the list goes on and on. So no, I am not going for that.

    If they wish to cooperate, a good first step would be to unban me from the IRC channel, which happened for no reason, and without any explanation. But I don’t see that happening.

    Finally, the purpose of this post wasn’t to be funny, or to bash Pidgin developers (although that’s an extra :)) The purpose is to spread the word to the people that have no idea what is msn-pecan and how Pidgin is administered, and there’s plenty of people like that; potential users. IOW, the purpose is not to say “Pidgin sucks”, but to say “msn-pecan rules”.

  5. Hi, I’d like to thank you for your great work on msn-pecan plugin ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think that if Pidgin devs understand that a huge number of users switches to your plugin there’s something “strange”.. I mean: I used msn-pecan several times when the defaul MSN wasn’t working, or had some “protocol” issues (that msn-pecan didn’t have). Over the time I come back to MSN due to pecan bugs, resolved in latest releases.

    What should you do? Show how many msn-pecan users you have, if a huge Pidgin users use your plugin.. you got it!

    What can “we” do? spread the word about msn-pecan also to newbe users!

    Cheers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. @thepanz it’s impossible to estimate how many users of msn-pecan are out there, but the user-base is considerable and growing.

    We are very close to 0.1, our first serious release, once we nuke a few remaining bugs I think we should make a lot of noise to spread the word so everyone gives it a try ๐Ÿ™‚

    If you follow this blog you’ll know when the time comes. For now the best thing to do is use it and make sure the bugs are ironed out.

  7. @FeliceC: I completely agree with you! quoting what you said before: “the purpose is not to say โ€œPidgin sucksโ€, but to say โ€œmsn-pecan rulesโ€.” ๐Ÿ˜€

    .. and what about a “I use Pidgin/MSN-pecan” banner? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. @thePanz It might be cool to use that banner as an avater, or add a note in your personal message.

    But what I really recommend is to register as a user in ohloh, and also vote up, maybe on freshmeat too.

  9. I have to agree with you Felipe, every time someone on the Pidgin team blogs, they shoot themselves in the foot. Way too arrogant for my taste.

  10. Pingback: msn-pecan 0.1 released; the best option for Pidgin/libpurple « Felipe Contreras

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