public beta, public bug database

When Adobe released the long awaited Flash Player 9 for Linux as a public beta on labs.adobe.com I took it as a nudge to (again) try running a Linux desktop on my home computer. The Linux experiment is going fairly well this time, and the Flash Player seems to be coming together rather well too.

Of course, the Linux Flash Player is beta software (beta 2 was released earlier this week) and that means the odd bug will pop up that hasn’t yet been discovered or fixed. As both a Flash platform developer and user it is in my best interest to report these snags as I come across them. And you’d think that it would be in Adobe’s best interest to make that bug reporting process as efficient and useful as possible. Why then is the only public facing issue tracking a simple web form?

Maybe I’m overlooking some important fact but I really can’t imagine how having the feedback information flow in only one direction is an advantage to anyone. As someone who’s reported a bug or two in my time, (don’t worry – I’ve created more than my fair share too), I’d much rather start the time consuming, and sometimes painful, process of properly reporting an issue by searching a database to see if someone else has already done the leg work for me. From there I can simply tack on any information I feel may be useful and get back to say, fumbling around a “foreign” operating system.

I’d also be curious to know how the quality of the feedback Adobe receives through the web form compares to reports in public bug databases such as Mozilla’s Bugzilla or the Connect system Microsoft used for the IE7 pre-release.

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