On Dec 16th, the Parrot team will be holding their first ever Parrot Bug Day. This sounds like a great way to get more people involved in Parrot development (maybe some cardinal work will get done too, eh?), but it also sounds like an idea worth stealing for JRuby, rubinius, and a host of other cool Ruby projects.
Okay, you're probably asking yourself "What is a Bug Day?", and "How can it help JRuby (or some other project)?". Those are fair questions, so let's take a look at them.
A Bug Day is really just a day set aside to fix bugs. Some simple things will help it work well:
- a general communications channel (like irc), where developers with enough background will be available to help answer questions
- a bug tracker with enough bugs in it to matter
- some publicity ahead of the event so that people know about it, are interested, and actually take the time to show up.
Bug Days can help a project in a number of ways. Obviously, the most direct is that bugs get fixed. Less directly, getting bugs fixed (and release criterea met) also means more momentun (and visibility) for the project. Another significant outcome should be that new developers are brought into the project and junior developers get more experience — in the long run, this might be the most important outcome of them all.
I'd love to see projects pick up the Bug Day idea and run with it. If the days are carefully chosen, they could even tag along on local Ruby Brigades' Hacking Nights (Tuesdays seem good for this). If you think the idea of a Bug Day on it's own is cool, just imagine what would happen in five or ten Ruby Brigades jumped onto the irc channel and each knocked down a bug or two ... shoot, even if they just built the project, tried it out, and reported any problems (and filed bug reports as appropriate) that would be a win for whoever was holding the Bug Day.