GNUCash Quality (was Re: 1.8.2 Release candidate)

Derek Atkins warlord at MIT.EDU
Wed Mar 5 14:11:14 CST 2003

Chris, I do agree that a simple enumeration of the changes between
1.8.1 and 1.8.2-rc1 would be relatively simple and not too much of a
hardship.  You need to compile the list anyways; might as well do it


Kevin Benton <kevinb at> writes:

> Let's look at it this way...
> Joe Creator: Would you mind testing my software for me?
> Guinea Pig: What is it you want me to test?
> Joe Creator: Download the software and see for yourself.
> Guinea Pig: I'm a busy guy.  I don't have a lot of time to fix problems
> if what you're giving me impacts me very negatively.  What changes did
> you make?
> Joe Creator: Look, either download the software and test it or just say
> no.
> Guinea Pig: Of course, if I knew what I was getting into, I might be
> willing to test your software, but since you put it that way, no.
> Sorry Chris, I disagree.  Any time I make changes to something where I
> work and ask someone to test my changes, its only respectful that I
> include what I'm asking them to test before they start testing rather
> than making them go download the software and look for the list of
> changes.  Then, they can make the determination of whether or not to
> become a guinea pig or not without the time spent downloading.  If
> nothing else, posting a link to the changelog (by itself) would be nicer
> than "you should know enough about building from source to find the
> changelog"
> Think about it this way - we are all busy people, yourself included, I'm
> sure.  If you want to get my help (as another busy person), making it
> easier for me to know what I'm "signing up for" helps me understand just
> how much risk I'll be taking and helps make sure all your testers see
> what they should be testing.  I know I may be "preaching to the choir"
> here, but hey, we're all volunteers, right?  :)
> <soap box mode>
> What am I trying to do?  GNUCash has the potential to win an awful lot
> of Quicken users if we keep software quality up.  Intuit also releases
> intermediate updates between its major versions (just like we're
> proposing with 1.8.2).  What would happen with Quicken if Intuit didn't
> do a good job of pre-testing its intermediate releases with a limited
> set of "real-world" customers?  How about the same with MS Money?  At a
> company I worked for, they had a problem with releasing software far too
> often and not giving their QA team enough time and information to
> adequately test the software prior to release.  They also didn't get
> enough testers (people in the company outside the QA dept.) to help them
> test the software, often because testers didn't know what to look for
> because they didn't know what had changed.  It was killing my team's
> ability to manage the production environment properly because the
> product itself was broken more often than not.  I wound up being a part
> of the team that required engineering to publish release notes to the
> wider audience.  What did that do for us?  It helped us get more testers
> by helping them know what they were getting into.  Net result - improved
> testing yielding improved software quality yielding improved customer
> satisfaction.
> </soap box mode>
> I would love to see GNUCash be able to compete with Quicken and Money. 
> We're getting closer to that point.  The challenge is setting it as a
> goal, then doing what it takes to get us there.  One of the "habits"
> we'll need to develop to be truly competitive with the commercial
> packages is to make sure our QA process is very tight for all our
> releases, something the commercial software developers know quite well. 
> We all know this is a -devel mailing list.  Let's make sure the -devel
> doesn't ignore the needs of the -tester or the -users :)
> I don't know if I have the time to do this, or if anyone is already
> steering it, but heck, if you guys want me to be a leader on the QA
> front, I'm willing to consider it.  I don't want to step on any toes or
> get anyone's feelings hurt (Chris - read that to say I'm not trying to
> take your job).  I'm not saying we're doing a bad job, but like anyone,
> I do think we can do better by changing a habit or two here or there and
> being more process sensitive.  Frankly, I don't know if I want the job,
> but hey, GNUCash is a critical part of Linux being able to kill M$'s
> desktop monopoly.  I'd like to see them face some real competition and
> if it comes from the OpenSource world, fantastic.  :)
> What do you guys think about the whole thing?  Should we start a
> gnucash-tester list?  If we were to start a gnucash-tester mailing list,
> how would it help and what would the objectives be?  If we did start the
> list, what recruiting process would we use?  How would we best use the
> list to the benefit of all?  What part would the -tester list play in
> the quality assurance process?  When should the -tester group be
> engaged?  Should the -tester group be responsible for determining
> "releasability" status?  Am I totally off-base?
> On Tue, 2003-03-04 at 19:21, Chris Lyttle wrote:
> > On Tue, 2003-03-04 at 12:49, Kevin Benton wrote:
> > > How about posting the changes (1.8.1 vs 1.8.2) here so we all know what
> > > to look for before giving our thumbs up or down?
> > > 
> > > Kevin Benton
> > > 
> > > On Tue, 2003-03-04 at 12:56, James A. Treacy wrote:
> > > 
> > > > On Mon, Mar 03, 2003 at 09:29:03PM -0800, Chris Lyttle wrote:
> > > > > 
> > > > > I've put a release candidate in
> > > > >
> > > > > 
> > > > > Packagers please try it out and feedback any problems. If this goes well
> > > > > I'll release a tarball friday for you to package against for a sunday
> > > > > release of 1.8.2.
> > > > 
> > > > Compiled and ran on Debian unstable on the first try.
> > > 
> > 
> > This is a candidate for packagers to test for the sunday release, not a
> > general release. This is why there is no changelog posted. If you want
> > to package for a specific distro/platform release then you should know
> > enough about building from source to find the changelog as part of your
> > process. The general release sunday will have details of the changes.
> > 
> > Chris
> -- 
> Kevin Benton <kevinb at>
> _______________________________________________
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> gnucash-devel at

       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL:    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       warlord at MIT.EDU                        PGP key available

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