Bug report systems

BugzillaA bug tracking system is a software application that is designed to help quality assurance and programmers keep track of reported software bugs in their work. It may be regarded as a sort of issue tracking system. Many bug-tracking systems, such as those used by most open source software projects, allow users to enter bug reports directly. Other systems are used only internally in a company or organization doing software development. Typically bug tracking systems are integrated with other software project management applications. Having a bug tracking system is extremely valuable in software development, and they are used extensively by companies developing software products. In this article we will have a look on Bugzilla and Mantis, two excellent open source bug tracking software.


Bugzilla is a "Defect Tracking System" or "Bug-Tracking System". Defect Tracking Systems allow individual or groups of developers to keep track of outstanding bugs in their product effectively. Most commercial defect-tracking software vendors charge enormous licensing fees. Despite being "free", Bugzilla has many features its expensive counterparts lack. Consequently, Bugzilla has quickly become a favorite of hundreds of organizations across the globe.

What Does Bugzilla Do?

* Track bugs and code changes
* Communicate with teammates
* Submit and review patches
* Manage quality assurance (QA)

Bugzilla can help you get a handle on the software development process. Successful projects often are the result of successful organization and communication. Bugzilla is a powerful tool that will help your team get organized and communicate effectively.

Possible Uses

* Systems administration
* Deployment management
* Chip design and development problem tracking (both pre-and-post fabrication)
* Software and hardware bug tracking
* IT support queues


MantisMantisBT is a web based bug tracking system that was first made available to the public in November 2000. Over time it has matured and gained a lot of popularity, and now it has become one of the most popular open source bug trackering systems. MantisBT is developed in PHP, with support to multiple database backends including MySQL, MS SQL, PostgreSQL and DB2.  MantisBT, as a PHP script, can run on any operating system that is supported by PHP and has support for one of the DBMSes that are supported. MantisBT is known to run fine on Windows, Linux, OS/2, System i and a variety of Unix operating systems.

MantisBT has modest software and hardware requirements. It requires a computer that is able to run the server software. All of the required software is free for commercial or non-commercial use. The server can be a shared public web server or a dedicated co-located box. The disk space required will depend on the size of the database, however, it is typically driven by the expected number and size of the attachments.

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: MantisBT runs on Windows, MacOS, OS/2, Linux, Solaris, the BSDs, and just about anything that supports the required server software.

Web Server: MantisBT is mainly tested with Microsoft IIS and Apache. However, it is expected to work with any decent web server software.

PHP: The web server must have PHP installed on it. It can be installed as CGI or whatever other integration technology that is supported by PHP and the web server. Required version is PHP 5.2.x or higher.

Database: MantisBT requires a database to store its data. The supported DBMSes include MySQL (4.1.x or higher), MS SQL, PostgreSQL and DB2.

Browser: MantisBT aims to support most of the browsers in the market. The mainly supported ones are Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. However, browsers like Safari and Opera should also work fine although they are not used by most developers during development and testing.

The goals for this project are to produce and maintain a lightweight, simple bugtracking system. Additions of complexity/features are modular so that users can be shielded from unwanted clutter. Thus, much of the package has a simple version of a feature along with a more fully developed version. In the 'core' package the goal is to have the most important, most used, most time saving portions of a bug tracking system. The product is designed to be easily modifiable, customizable, and upgradeable. Anyone with intermediate PHP and MySQL experience should be able to customize MantisBT to suit their needs. Here are some of the guidelines that are followed in MantisBT:

  • Quick access to "What I want to do?"

  • Simple navigation

  • Layered complexity

  • Consistency

  • Scale to browser window size

  • Minimal clutter

  • Minimal graphics

  • No frames

  • No animations

  • Work with Javascript turned off.

For a complete list of features please see here.


Our opinion: Mantis should fit better for small to medium companies while Bugzilla to the rest. Installation and implementation of Mantis is a matter of 5 minutes while satisfing depedencies for Bugzilla (written of Perl) might be a nightmare. Both projects are open source and offer a demo version on their web sites.

Posted on: 22/11/2009

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