Happy 10th b-day bug #98160

Happy 10th birthday Mozilla bug #98160, I hope you won’t make it to your 11th, but who knows…I hope the same for your “younger” brothers bug #166240 which is only 9 years old. Many thanks for all the people who tried to help RTL users switch their textarea directionality and alignment easier.

Another bug in the “it sometime sucks to be an RTL user” department is bug #119857, soon to be age 10. I’m lucky to have BiDi Mail UI as a good workaround, otherwise I couldn’t read emails in Hebrew with the proper alignment/directionality.

In another department, I must say I love daylight saving time, as I have more hours of sun, but this comes on the expense of my schedule as due to bug #504299 all my events aren’t on the right local time, but an hour earlier.

Although the post is written cynically, I would like to call the Mozilla community to help with fixing these issues. I also want to thank the people who are already helping with these issues or helped in the past.

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6 Comments

Filed under Free software applications, i18n & l10n, Mozilla

6 responses to “Happy 10th b-day bug #98160

  1. foo

    Just switch to English and UTC silly!

  2. Mike Beltzner

    I’m not sure why you singled that bug out, as it seems to have been picked up (in advance of this obnoxious blog post) and is being worked on by members of the community. Singling a bug out and trying to shame people into working on it is a poor incentive structure, and as I hope you realize, dangerous to the health of an open project.

    There are a lot of bugs, and lots of people who are interested in fixing them. If you had written this post another way – asking people who are interested in helping RTL users have a better experience, and pointing to bugs which you think could have the strongest effect in improving that experience – it would have reflected much better on you.

    Right now, you’ve left me with a sour taste in my mouth and a lack of desire to actually see any of these bugs fixed. You’re fortunate that Ehsan is more patient than I am.

    • Hi Mike,

      Pointing out bugs isn’t shaming anyone, I didn’t blame any person for the bug or the lack of solution. On the contrary – I thanked everyone who help or tried to help, and that includes Ehsan which recently started to work on the bug.

      Having bugs open for 10 years seem to be a bigger shame, as there’s a bunch of users which might need a little attention due to their weird direction of writing (e.g. Arabic, Hebrew and Urdu users).

      While Mozilla goes forward with a lot of cool stuff, bringing new features to the web browsers scene, it seem that some of the old stuff is a little bit forgotten. We’re trying to help users workaround the same problems for many years.

      While I might have my own thoughts about these bugs, I too have a sour taste in my mouth from having to explain to people how to work around these issues, or from seeing people choosing other software (usually non free software) in which there RTL support is better (or at least improves in a faster rate).

      I think that’s what goes behind Tomer’s comment (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=98160#c35), as he is the de facto front man for Mozilla Israel.

  3. Let me try to explain what happens with these types of bugs. We at the Mozilla project have had more bugs than resources for fixing them since a long time ago. It is not that nobody cares about a subset of them (for example, those which affect users speaking RTL languages). Sometimes fixing a bug requires a significant amount of engineering effort, so nobody really has enough time to work on fixing it. Sometimes the right people to fix a bug are not aware of it. Sometimes there are just things which are of a higher priority for us to fix. That is just a fact of life that we need to accept.

    I agree with Beltzner that writing posts like this is a poor incentive if you really want to see those bugs fixed. These types of posts usually will be ignored at best, or leave people with that sour taste that we all want to avoid at worst, and they usually will only be answered with “patches accepted”. I suggest you try an alternative approach: trying to find the right person to fix a bug, talking to them, getting a sense of whether they have interest and resources to fix the bug, and if they don’t, try to help. That is definitely a more positive approach, and I’m sure that it’s going to work a lot better.

  4. Mike Beltzner

    Yeah, I know Tomer well, and have said as much to him as I did to you.

    We need the RTL community to help us understand what the biggest and most impactful changes are that we can make to support their use cases and needs. In many cases we go off instinct and what people like Ehsan can tell us, but if you ask Ehsan he’ll tell you that very few Iranians read the web in Persian/RTL!

    To get involved, build a wiki page with priorities and buglists, and call attention to that. Do not single out an individual bug and its age – that doesn’t make anyone feel good, and isn’t an effective way to help the project forward.

    • I object on this. We, as native RTL readers and writers are very concerned about RTL-specific features. Having a bug open for ten years doesn’t make any sense, but having a problem without a fix does make sense to us.

      Yes, we do have a workaround for this very specific problem for years (switch text direction) which we were lucky enough to have built into the application even without having to install an addon, but we were out of luck in the case of Thunderbird which still doesn’t have full RTL support built into the application, making every user to wonder if the application is usable for him or her, and some of these users will soon enough abandon the application because they were unable to find a way to fit the application into their needs.

      I am monitoring Firefox questions in the Hebrew web, and I heard more than once people complaining about the lack of a ‘switch text direction’ feature even that we do have it currently with other key combination. People doesn’t spend that amount of time to learn every trick for making applications to fit their needs, and sometimes they find the very specific feature exists in other applications where they thought it should be and this does make them one more reason to switch to the other application because it has the features they need.

      I must join Kaplan and thank everyone who was involved in this bug, including some people who since than started working for Google Chrome, and very warm greetings for Ehsan who was actually the person who stepped in to take care of the bug after years there was almost no progress while fixing it.

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