Bugzilla for Humans

Bugzilla is the devil we know. It’s more complicated than we’d like it to be (albeit mostly by our own hand), it’s pretty intimidating to new users (though I recognize the efforts to improve that), and adding the features we want can be a slog (I’m looking at you, multi-state flags).

It’s also essential to the way we manage our project at scale, though, and enough of our project’s history and daily activity lives there that understanding it is not really optional. Certain edge cases aside, you can’t really be effective in the Mozilla project without at least a passing ability to wade through Bugzilla.

I put together this video to help people who don’t really live in Bugzilla learn how to at least manage themselves. If you’re inclined to thank me for it, thank Deb and Dan instead – they’re the ones that actually made me sit down and finish the job.

Until wordpress stops eating my video tags, you can get the open-web, flash-free, unencumbered-codec goodness here.

If you’re using a browser that doesn’t understand ogg, I’ve put a copy on Vimeo as well:


  1. This is awesome – wish I’d had this as a reference when I first started at Mozilla!

  2. What ogg? I don’t see it… all I get is the Vimeo object.

  3. I’ll probably never use bugzilla, but I found that entertaining. 🙂

  4. I don’t use bugzilla, but your video makes me think that I will start using it.

  5. Thanks a lot – was happy to learn something new even after five years of heavy Bugzilla usage.

    One thing that I rely on very much, is a separate email account that watches my primary Bugzilla account. I don’t ever delete those emails – they represent my “rearview mirror” onto everything that went by in the past. By searching those emails instead of in Bugzilla itself, I usually find what I need much faster. Usually, all I need is a single search term, because the search is automatically scoped to the subset of bugs that are relevant to me.

  6. I used Bugzilla for years, but being new to Mozilla this video really helped me get an initial understanding how much of Mozilla’s world is driven thru Bugzilla. Mozilla’s use of Bugzilla is on a whole different scale than I’ve used before.

    Great video. An enjoyable, informative bite size intro to Bugzilla. Thanks.

  7. I have just reported some bugs, I am not a developer just an user of Mozilla programs.

    One of the problem in Bugzilla is that the email address show in clear (e.g. if you ask to show the source of the header of a comment by selecting + right click + show source) : it is very helpful for the people that harvest addresses to spam ! They just have to create an account and look at bugs with a script to extract addresses. Most of the forums do not do this blunder… This a forced me to abandon a previous, now I use @gmail.com that is very strong against spam.

    This is very frustrating to see that after 6 months nothing has occurred, bug is not verified : I know that I cannot hope to win a solution to a problem in few months but I have not to loose my time by reporting…

  8. Jonathan, this is great stuff, thanks! The tutorial video should be promoted on relevant pages, especially there should be a link to this when people click on the help button on bmo’s home page. Nice visual intro for both beginners and advanced users of bugzilla, the devil we know…

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