New Jira Launches With A 12 Fingered Feature Request

Linden Lab yesterday announced that the new Jira, not quite as good as the old old Jira but far better than the previous Jira, was now live. One point that they have highlighted is that the visibility of bug reports made during the dark ages of the Jira will not be reversed, those reports will still only be available to the reporter, Lindens and The Chosen Few, not to be confused with Chosen Few the avatar.

Linden Lab explained their reasons for the decision in the blog post :

One of the questions we’ve seen in the past week is how previously submitted issues would be treated – namely, will those also be viewable by everyone and open for comment prior to being triaged?

While we want to make issues visible for the reasons described in our last post, we’re not going to extend this to old issues, because at the time they were created, users knew that those reports would have limited visibility and they may have included sensitive and/or private information. We don’t want to take information that someone thought would be private and suddenly make that visible to everyone, so the new visibility settings will apply only to new issues.

I can recall arguments like this being made about the availability of old forum content. The old forums required you to be logged in to view them but the archives these days don’t. I know some people weren’t happy about that, for the reasons stated above actually. I’m not 100% convinced by this argument because even with limited visibility people should have been careful with their information, but there’s definitely a case for keeping those issues largely hidden out of respect and it’s really not worth getting in a pickle about this in the grand scheme of things.

One feature of the Jira is the return of the new feature request and as Fenix over at SLUniverse reports, an early feature request in the new form had a rather bizarre suggestion:

Six fingers per hand

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Jira Wars Episode VI – The Return Of The Jira

In a galaxy far far away Darth Linden and The Empire had dealt The Jira Knights a crushing defeat. Removing their ability to effectively collaborate and greatly nerfing their powers.

The Jira Knights tried to protest, they tried to reason, but The Empire were having none of it and cackled into their bug fixing. The Jira Knights went into hiding, licking their wounds and wondering if they would ever be able to return to their old haunts.

The Empire held firm, until very recently when The Emperor resigned and a new Emperor arrived. The Jira Knights now had a new hope … wait that was episode IV, the Jira Knights saw this as a new opportunity and secretly sent a droid to greet the new Emperor in his office. The arrival of a droid certainly surprised the new Emperor, however he was even more surprised when upon touching a button on the droid a hologram of Princess Inara appeared with the message “Help us Ebbe Wan Kenaltberg, you’re our only hope“.

I haven’t been called that for … well I’ve never been called that” muttered Ebbe.

Princess Inara’s hologram frowned, which was quite impressive for a recorded message “You’re in Ciaran’s blog, play along.

Oh!” said Ebbe, looking around nervously, “How can I help?

Princess Inara informed Ebbe of the problems the revised Jira had caused not only the Rebel Alliance, but also The Empire and convinced the new emperor that it would be best all round if a compromise was made. The new Emperor agreed and was soon publically responding to questions about the Jira : “Funny, both engineering and product heads here also didn’t like that jira was closed and want to open it up again. Proposal for how is in the works! I hope we can figure out how to do that in a way that works/scales soon.

The plan was now in full motion and today, the rebel alliance scored a major victory when Linden Lab announced : Changes To Our Jira Implementation.

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Ebbe Holds The Jira Door Ajar

Ok well I’m having to improvise here because Inara Pey has basically hit me with some sort of psychic rays and stolen my planned blog post! Inara’s post of Ebbe: the promise of better communications and a more open JIRA is basically the post I had planned, obviously far more polished and eloquent in Inara’s format, but that’s the post I had planned, including the Innula Zenovka citation too, I will still use that.

So I’ll just concentrate on the Jira aspect here. In a forum response to Second Life builder Pamela Galli regarding the nerfing of the Jira, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg responds with:

Funny, both engineering and product heads here also didn’t like that jira was closed and want to open it up again. Proposal for how is in the works! I hope we can figure out how to do that in a way that works/scales soon. 

This isn’t funny really, it’s quite alarming. However let’s jump into the history machine, which shouldn’t be confused with the mystery machine, we’re not taking Fred or Daphne with us on this journey and there will be no doggy snacks. I am so easily sidetracked, where was I? Oh yes, back in time to examine when Jira’s go bad.

First of all let’s look back at what the Jira was and in many ways still is. The Jira was the place to report bugs and issues. People could also suggest new features there. The problem was that the Jira had a voting system and wasn’t exclusively used for bug reports and new feature suggestions. People would report their pet policy peeve on the Jira and gather a lot of votes. Now although people thought votes were important, the reality was that votes were not important in action being taken, although issues with high votes would obviously attract the attention of Linden Lab.

Then there were the Jira wars where people with admin rights would close a Jira and someone else would re-open it, a lot of commentary would be about opening and closing the Jira, people trading insults, in short there was a lot of off topic commentary. On top of that the Jira was, and remains, a clunky platform for people to use in general, although the more you use it, the easier it becomes to get your head around.

Despite all these issues, the Jira was a bloody useful resource. I used it as an official knowledge base when I ran into technical issues because it was far more informative on technical issues than the knowledge base is. I would also try and search for my issue before reporting it. The Jira worked well in this capacity. However some Lindens appeared to be tired of the off topic commentary, flame wars and lack of efficiency of the Jira. Now here’s where it gets interesting and a tad worrying, in a blog post in February 2011 entitled Improving our Lines of Communication with the Community Linden Lab announced that voting would be removed from The Jira :

Submit Bug Reports in JIRA: For those that aren’t familiar with JIRA, it is our public bug tracking system and it’s the best place to go to let us know about bugs or suggest new features that are proposed in User Group meetings or outside of those sessions.

Our development teams actively review the bugs that you submit in JIRA and do one of several things: place the item onto a development team backlog to address, ask the submitter to contact Support or provide more information if the developer cannot reproduce the bug, or close it and explain why we aren’t going to tackle this particular bug or idea.

It’s also important to note that we are going to remove the “voting” feature in JIRA in one month. Today, we do not use voting to triage or to make product decisions and the last thing that we want to do is set false expectations. So, when you are interested in what action we will take on a particular JIRA, use the JIRA “Watch” feature so that you will be immediately updated in email when there are new comments on that particular JIRA issue. We will continue to use the number of Watchers as an indication of the level of interest.

This was foolhardy for two reasons, the first that people started to watch instead of vote, under the false belief that the number of watchers would mean action would be taken. The second reason it was foolhardy was because it turned out that it wasn’t possible to remove voting from the Jira. The reason I said earlier that this is troubling is that Ebbe is looking at improving Linden Lab’s lines of communication, stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

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CHUI Observations Another Example Of Collaboration

The CHUI issues are now coming to light thanks to Linden Lab implementing CHUI in the beta viewer, there are a couple of good Jira’s on CHUI:

The first issue deals with an issue whereby when you tear a chat window off from Chui, typing into the torn off window results in the main communications window having a lot of wasted space, this is definitely true. The screen space is indeed wasted in this scenario.

The second issue is a list of a general observations and is a very good Jira. There are a number of issues here, and presented in a good fashion.

On top of that there are a couple of threads in the forum on Chui:

Both threads show pro’s and cons of the CHUI features and there’s some good input there, again we see good collaboration.

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I Would Cocoa If The Project Viewer Worked

In their recent blog post on improvements to Second Life, Linden Lab point to an interesting new viewer for Mac users, the Cocoa Project Viewer. However, as Mikki Miles points out in a post on the official forums, the current release of this project viewer does not work.

However, if you’ve used the project viewer before, then there is hope, because in yet another example of how collaboration is a good thing, Siona Qinan posts a workaround:

I found a fix on another forum (a post from “Eris” on a forum that covers Second Life and the whole Universe). Apparently the arguments.txt file is bad – replacing it with one from an earlier build did the trick for me.

 Right click, “Show Package Contents”, open Resources folder and replace the argument.txt file.

Unfortunately I don’t have an earlier build, but for those who do have an earlier build, here’s a way of using the new cocoa viewer release.

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