4.3. Product, Component, Milestone, and Version Administration


Dear Lord, we have to get our users to do WHAT?

4.3.1. Products

Formerly, and in some spots still, called "Programs"

Products are the broadest category in Bugzilla, and you should have the least of these. If your company makes computer games, you should have one product per game, and possibly a few special products (website, meetings...)

A Product (formerly called "Program", and still referred to that way in some portions of the source code) controls some very important functions. The number of "votes" available for users to vote for the most important bugs is set per-product, as is the number of votes required to move a bug automatically from the UNCONFIRMED status to the NEW status. One can close a Product for further bug entry and define various Versions available from the Edit product screen.

To create a new product:

  1. Select "components" from the yellow footer


    It may seem counterintuitive to click "components" when you want to edit the properties associated with Products. This is one of a long list of things we want in Bugzilla 3.0...

  2. Select the "Add" link to the right of "Add a new product".

  3. Enter the name of the product and a description. The Description field is free-form.


Don't worry about the "Closed for bug entry", "Maximum Votes per person", "Maximum votes a person can put on a single bug", "Number of votes a bug in this Product needs to automatically get out of the UNCOMFIRMED state", and "Version" options yet. We'll cover those in a few moments.

4.3.2. Components

Components are subsections of a Product.

Example 4-1. Creating some Components

The computer game you are designing may have a "UI" component, an "API" component, a "Sound System" component, and a "Plugins" component, each overseen by a different programmer. It often makes sense to divide Components in Bugzilla according to the natural divisions of responsibility within your Product or company.

Each component has a owner and (if you turned it on in the parameters), a QA Contact. The owner should be the primary person who fixes bugs in that component. The QA Contact should be the person who will ensure these bugs are completely fixed. The Owner, QA Contact, and Reporter will get email when new bugs are created in this Component and when these bugs change. Default Owner and Default QA Contact fields only dictate the default assignments; the Owner and QA Contact fields in a bug are otherwise unrelated to the Component.

To create a new Component:

  1. Select the "Edit components" link from the "Edit product" page

  2. Select the "Add" link to the right of the "Add a new component" text on the "Select Component" page.

  3. Fill out the "Component" field, a short "Description", and the "Initial Owner". The Component and Description fields are free-form; the "Initial Owner" field must be that of a user ID already existing in the database. If the initial owner does not exist, Bugzilla will refuse to create the component.


    Is your "Default Owner" a user who is not yet in the database? No problem.

    1. Select the "Log out" link on the footer of the page.

    2. Select the "New Account" link on the footer of the "Relogin" page

    3. Type in the email address of the default owner you want to create in the "E-mail address" field, and her full name in the "Real name" field, then select the "Submit Query" button.

    4. Now select "Log in" again, type in your login information, and you can modify the product to use the Default Owner information you require.

  4. Either Edit more components or return to the Bugzilla Query Page. To return to the Product you were editing, you must select the Components link as before.

4.3.3. Versions

Versions are the revisions of the product, such as "Flinders 3.1", "Flinders 95", and "Flinders 2000". Using Versions helps you isolate code changes and are an aid in reporting.

Example 4-2. Common Use of Versions

A user reports a bug against Version "Beta 2.0" of your product. The current Version of your software is "Release Candidate 1", and no longer has the bug. This will help you triage and classify bugs according to their relevance. It is also possible people may report bugs against bleeding-edge beta versions that are not evident in older versions of the software. This can help isolate code changes that caused the bug

Example 4-3. A Different Use of Versions

This field has been used to good effect by an online service provider in a slightly different way. They had three versions of the product: "Production", "QA", and "Dev". Although it may be the same product, a bug in the development environment is not normally as critical as a Production bug, nor does it need to be reported publicly. When used in conjunction with Target Milestones, one can easily specify the environment where a bug can be reproduced, and the Milestone by which it will be fixed.

To create and edit Versions:

  1. From the "Edit product" screen, select "Edit Versions"

  2. You will notice that the product already has the default version "undefined". If your product doesn't use version numbers, you may want to leave this as it is or edit it so that it is "---". You can then go back to the edit versions page and add new versions to your product.

    Otherwise, click the "Add" button to the right of the "Add a new version" text.

  3. Enter the name of the Version. This can be free-form characters up to the limit of the text box. Then select the "Add" button.

  4. At this point you can select "Edit" to edit more Versions, or return to the "Query" page, from which you can navigate back to the product through the "components" link at the foot of the Query page.

4.3.4. Milestones

Milestones are "targets" that you plan to get a bug fixed by. For example, you have a bug that you plan to fix for your 3.0 release, it would be assigned the milestone of 3.0. Or, you have a bug that you plan to fix for 2.8, this would have a milestone of 2.8.


Milestone options will only appear for a Product if you turned the "usetargetmilestone" field in the "Edit Parameters" screen "On".

To create new Milestones, set Default Milestones, and set Milestone URL:

  1. Select "edit milestones"

  2. Select "Add" to the right of the "Add a new milestone" text

  3. Enter the name of the Milestone in the "Milestone" field. You can optionally set the "Sortkey", which is a positive or negative number (-255 to 255) that defines where in the list this particular milestone appears. Select "Add".

    Example 4-4. Using SortKey with Target Milestone

    Let's say you create a target milestone called "Release 1.0", with Sortkey set to "0". Later, you realize that you will have a public beta, called "Beta1". You can create a Milestone called "Beta1", with a Sortkey of "-1" in order to ensure people will see the Target Milestone of "Beta1" earlier on the list than "Release 1.0"

  4. If you want to add more milestones, select the "Edit" link. If you don't, well shoot, you have to go back to the "query" page and select "components" again, and make your way back to the Product you were editing.


    This is another in the list of unusual user interface decisions that we'd like to get cleaned up. Shouldn't there be a link to the effect of "edit the Product I was editing when I ended up here"? In any case, clicking "components" in the footer takes you back to the "Select product" screen, from which you can begin editing your product again.

  5. From the Edit product screen again (once you've made your way back), enter the URL for a description of what your milestones are for this product in the "Milestone URL" field. It should be of the format "http://www.foo.com/bugzilla/product_milestones.html"

    Some common uses of this field include product descriptions, product roadmaps, and of course a simple description of the meaning of each milestone.

  6. If you're using Target Milestones, the "Default Milestone" field must have some kind of entry. If you really don't care if people set coherent Target Milestones, simply leave this at the default, "---". However, controlling and regularly updating the Default Milestone field is a powerful tool when reporting the status of projects.

    Select the "Update" button when you are done.

4.3.5. Voting

The concept of "voting" is a poorly understood, yet powerful feature for the management of open-source projects. Each user is assigned so many Votes per product, which they can freely reassign (or assign multiple votes to a single bug). This allows developers to gauge user need for a particular enhancement or bugfix. By allowing bugs with a certain number of votes to automatically move from "UNCONFIRMED" to "NEW", users of the bug system can help high-priority bugs garner attention so they don't sit for a long time awaiting triage.

The daunting challenge of Votes is deciding where you draw the line for a "vocal majority". If you only have a user base of 100 users, setting a low threshold for bugs to move from UNCONFIRMED to NEW makes sense. As the Bugzilla user base expands, however, these thresholds must be re-evaluated. You should gauge whether this feature is worth the time and close monitoring involved, and perhaps forego implementation until you have a critical mass of users who demand it.

To modify Voting settings:

  1. Navigate to the "Edit product" screen for the Product you wish to modify

  2. Set "Maximum Votes per person" to your calculated value. Setting this field to "0" disables voting.

  3. Set "Maximum Votes a person can put on a single bug" to your calculated value. It should probably be some number lower than the "Maximum votes per person". Setting this field to "0" disables voting, but leaves the voting options open to the user. This is confusing.

  4. Set "Number of votes a bug in this product needs to automatically get out of the UNCONFIRMED state" to your calculated number. Setting this field to "0" disables the automatic move of bugs from UNCONFIRMED to NEW. Some people advocate leaving this at "0", but of what use are Votes if your Bugzilla user base is unable to affect which bugs appear on Development radar?


    You should probably set this number to higher than a small coalition of Bugzilla users can influence it. Most sites use this as a "referendum" mechanism -- if users are able to vote a bug out of UNCONFIRMED, it is a really bad bug!

  5. Once you have adjusted the values to your preference, select the "Update" button.

4.3.6. Groups and Group Security

Groups can be very useful in bugzilla, because they allow users to isolate bugs or products that should only be seen by certain people. Groups can also be a complicated minefield of interdependencies and weirdness if mismanaged.

Example 4-5. When to Use Group Security

Many Bugzilla sites isolate "Security-related" bugs from all other bugs. This way, they can have a fix ready before the security vulnerability is announced to the world. You can create a "Security" product which, by default, has no members, and only add members to the group (in their individual User page, as described under User Administration) who should have priveleged access to "Security" bugs. Alternately, you may create a Group independently of any Product, and change the Group mask on individual bugs to restrict access to members only of certain Groups.

Groups only work if you enable the "usebuggroups" paramater. In addition, if the "usebuggroupsentry" parameter is "On", one can restrict access to products by groups, so that only members of a product group are able to view bugs within that product. Group security in Bugzilla can be divided into two categories: Generic and Product-Based.


Groups in Bugzilla are a complicated beast that evolved out of very simple user permission bitmasks, apparently itself derived from common concepts in UNIX access controls. A "bitmask" is a fixed-length number whose value can describe one, and only one, set of states. For instance, UNIX file permissions are assigned bitmask values: "execute" has a value of 1, "write" has a value of 2, and "read" has a value of 4. Add them together, and a file can be read, written to, and executed if it has a bitmask of "7". (This is a simplified example -- anybody who knows UNIX security knows there is much more to it than this. Please bear with me for the purpose of this note.) The only way a bitmask scheme can work is by doubling the bit count for each value. Thus if UNIX wanted to offer another file permission, the next would have to be a value of 8, then the next 16, the next 32, etc.

Similarly, Bugzilla offers a bitmask to define group permissions, with an internal limit of 64. Several are already occupied by built-in permissions. The way around this limitation is to avoid assigning groups to products if you have many products, avoid bloating of group lists, and religiously prune irrelevant groups. In reality, most installations of Bugzilla support far fewer than 64 groups, so this limitation has not hit for most sites, but it is on the table to be revised for Bugzilla 3.0 because it interferes with the security schemes of some administrators.

To enable Generic Group Security ("usebuggroups"):

  1. Turn "On" "usebuggroups" in the "Edit Parameters" screen.

  2. You will generally have no groups set up. Select the "groups" link in the footer.

  3. Take a moment to understand the instructions on the "Edit Groups" screen. Once you feel confident you understand what is expected of you, select the "Add Group" link.

  4. Fill out the "New Name" (remember, no spaces!), "New Description", and "New User RegExp" fields. "New User RegExp" allows you to automatically place all users who fulfill the Regular Expression into the new group.

    Example 4-6. Creating a New Group

    I created a group called DefaultGroup with a description of "This is simply a group to play with", and a New User RegExp of ".*@mydomain.tld". This new group automatically includes all Bugzilla users with "@mydomain.tld" at the end of their user id. When I finished, my new group was assigned bit #128.

    When you have finished, select the Add button.

To enable Product-Based Group Security (usebuggroupsentry):


Don't forget that you only have 64 groups masks available, total, for your installation of Bugzilla! If you plan on having more than 50 products in your individual Bugzilla installation, and require group security for your products, you should consider either running multiple Bugzillas or using Generic Group Security instead of Product-Based ("usebuggroupsentry") Group Security.

  1. Turn "On" "usebuggroups" and "usebuggroupsentry" in the "Edit Parameters" screen.


    "usebuggroupsentry" has the capacity to prevent the administrative user from directly altering bugs because of conflicting group permissions. If you plan on using "usebuggroupsentry", you should plan on restricting administrative account usage to administrative duties only. In other words, manage bugs with an unpriveleged user account, and manage users, groups, Products, etc. with the administrative account.

  2. You will generally have no Groups set up, unless you enabled "usebuggroupsentry" prior to creating any Products. To create "Generic Group Security" groups, follow the instructions given above. To create Product-Based Group security, simply follow the instructions for creating a new Product. If you need to add users to these new groups as you create them, you will find the option to add them to the group available under the "Edit User" screens.

You may find this example illustrative for how bug groups work.

Example 4-7. Bugzilla Groups

Bugzilla Groups example

For this example, let us suppose we have four groups, call them
Group1, Group2, Group3, and Group4.

We have 5 users, User1, User2, User3, User4, User5.

We have 8 bugs, Bug1, ..., Bug8.

Group membership is defined by this chart:
(X denotes that user is in that group.)
(I apologize for the nasty formatting of this table.  Try viewing
it in a text-based browser or something for now. -MPB)

      G G G G
      r r r r
      o o o o
      u u u u
      p p p p
      1 2 3 4
User1|X| | | |
User2| |X| | |
User3|X| |X| |
User4|X|X|X| |
User5| | | | |

Bug restrictions are defined by this chart:
(X denotes that bug is restricted to that group.)

     G G G G
     r r r r
     o o o o
     u u u u
     p p p p
     1 2 3 4
Bug1| | | | |
Bug2| |X| | |
Bug3| | |X| |
Bug4| | | |X|
Bug5|X|X| | |
Bug6|X| |X| |
Bug7|X|X|X| |

Who can see each bug?

Bug1 has no group restrictions.  Therefore, Bug1 can be seen by any
user, whatever their group membership.  This is going to be the only
bug that User5 can see, because User5 isn't in any groups.

Bug2 can be seen by anyone in Group2, that is User2 and User4.

Bug3 can be seen by anyone in Group3, that is User3 and User4.

Bug4 can be seen by anyone in Group4.  Nobody is in Group4, so none of
these users can see Bug4.

Bug5 can be seen by anyone who is in _both_ Group1 and Group2.  This
is only User4.  User1 cannot see it because he is not in Group2, and
User2 cannot see it because she is not in Group1.

Bug6 can be seen by anyone who is in both Group1 and Group3.  This
would include User3 and User4.  Similar to Bug5, User1 cannot see Bug6
because he is not in Group3.

Bug7 can be seen by anyone who is in Group1, Group2, and Group3.  This
is only User4.  All of the others are missing at least one of those
group priveleges, and thus cannot see the bug.

Bug8 can be seen by anyone who is in Group1, Group2, Group3, and
Group4.  There is nobody in all four of these groups, so nobody can
see Bug8.  It doesn't matter that User4 is in Group1, Group2, and
Group3, since he isn't in Group4.