Bug Tracker Activity-MouseTrap

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Bug Tracker Activity-MouseTrap


Learners will gain an understanding of the features of bug trackers and how they are used to identify work items to be completed in a FOSS project.



After successfully completing this activity, the learner should be able to:
  1. Describe the role that a bug tracker plays in a FOSS project.
  2. Describe the different types of issues stored in a bug tracker and their priorities.
  3. Identify and track the status of a particular bug in a project.
Process Skills

What process skills will the student practice while completing this activity?



Bug tracking systems are a form of change management and organization used by FOSS projects. Bug trackers do far more than simply keep track of bugs. They also are used to hold new feature requests, patches, and some tasks. Bug trackers are also called request trackers, issue trackers and ticket systems.


We will use the GNOME MouseTrap project to explore a typical Bugzilla instance for a project.

Part 1 - Bug Reports

  1. Open a browser and go to GNOME Bugzilla
  2. Enter 'MouseTrap' in the search bar.
  3. What do each of the column names below indicate? What are the range of possible values for 2-7 below?
    1. ID
    2. Sev
    3. Pri
    4. OS
    5. Product
    6. Status
    7. Resolution
    8. Summary
  4. In what order are the bugs initially displayed?
  5. What is the meaning of the shading of some bug reports?
  6. What is the meaning of the colors used when describing a bug (red, gray, black)?
  7. What do the bug reports tell you about the current state of the system?
  8. Select a bug that you think that you might be able to fix and look at it more closely (click on the bug number).
    1. Identify when the bug was submitted.
    2. How understandable is the description?
    3. Identify if there has been recent discussion about the bug?
    4. Is the bug current?
    5. Is the bug assigned? To whom?
    6. What would we need to do to fix the bug?
  9. Repeat the previous step with a different kind of bug.

Part 2 - Collective Reports

This section refers to the entire GNOME project, not just MouseTrap.

  1. Click on the “Reports” link on the top of the page.
  2. Click on "Summary of bug activity for the last week."
  3. How many bug reports were opened in the last week? How many were closed?
  4. What was the general trend last week? Were more bugs opened than closed or vice versa?
  5. Who were the top three bug closers? Why is this important to know?
  6. Who were the top three bug reporters? Are these the same as the top three bug closes? What is the overlap in these two lists?
  7. Who are the top three contributors of patches?
  8. Who are the top three reviewers of patches? What is the overlap between these lists and the bug closers and bug reporters? What is the overlap between patch contributors and patch reviewers?


Wiki posting describing the results of your exploration below.


How will the activity be graded?

How will learning will be measured?

Include sample assessment questions/rubrics.

Criteria Level 1 (fail) Level 2 (pass) Level 3 (good) Level 4 (exceptional)
The purpose of the project
Why the project is open source


What should the instructor know before using this activity?

What are some likely difficulties that an instructor may encounter using this activity?

Area & Unit(s)

Software Development Fundamentals (SDF) // Software Engineering (SE)


Development Methods, Verification and Validation (Defect tracking)



Estimated Time
to Complete

60 minutes

Environment /

Student needs access to the project's bug tracker, internet access.


Stoney Jackson


Is there another activity on which this activity is based? If so, please provide a link to the original resource.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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Suggestions for an open source community member who is working in conjunction with the instructor.

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