Category Archives: Bug of this Time

Interesting bugs (and sometimes a review on their report) that come from time to time.

BotT: Linus' bug, youtube no workee!

Hi everybody!

The last BotT (Bug of this time) was long ago, when we talked about testing and the Excel bug.
So now we’ve got a cool one, on which the most notable point is not the bug, is the submitter :).

Bug 439858 on Fedora (a Linux distribution) was (supposedly) submitted by Linus Torvalds himself. He started the Linux wave on August 91, and is still posting bugs on March 08 – you gotta admire him.
I am aware that the submitter signing “Linus Torvalds” may not be Linus. It actually doesn’t matter, let’s just pretend it is for sensationalism’s sake (regarding the admiration, you still gotta admire him even if the bug’s not his 😉).

Let’s try to analyze the bug report, and the bug itself, to see what we can learn:

Continue reading BotT: Linus' bug, youtube no workee!

BotT: Excel 2007 has algebra difficulties…

Do you use MS Office 2007?
Well, then you probably noticed that Excel multiplies “850 x 77.1” as “100,000” instead of “65,535”.

Uh, you didn’t notice? Well neither did I until I read it all over the internet.
See the post on SlashDot for scoop, and see its comments for some good laughs. :)

There are explanations all around about how this bug came to appear in Excel.
The best one is probably Joel’s one (you may remember Joel from this post). Continue reading BotT: Excel 2007 has algebra difficulties…

He Who Can Not Be Tested

Well… No, you won’t get this prize either.
Read the previous BotT (about a bug in the lottery software) in order to be in the mood for this one.

This BotT tells a story. A story about a car dealership that had the great idea of mailing thousands of scratch-off games to promote their business. What they did not know is that, by mistake, all of the 50000 cards had a winning notice behind the scratch-off layer. Instead of having to pay a US$1.000 prize, they soon discovered that they had to pay US$50.000.000!!
Go to this link to read the story, or at least to see the videos of the angry customers that came to demand their US$1.000: Koat News link.

I am not pointing a finger at any culprit, it is clear that it was a big confusion. And although it is an interesting story, the point that I want to emphasize is: How do you test a system that can not be executed?

Continue reading He Who Can Not Be Tested

BotT: Ctrl+Enter on Firefox

The Bug of this Time!
For simplicity’s sake, let’s abbreviate, and wherever you see BotT, you know that’s Shmuel’s “Bug of this Time“.

I picked a bug from the FireFox BugZilla database (BugZilla is a (free) (opensource) (reliable) tool for tracking bugs).
The bug is Bug 233853 –, Ctrl+Enter goes to

This bug is very particular. Let’s first analyze the Bug Description:

Build Identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.6) Gecko/20040207 Firefox/0.8

I believe that’s good enough for a Build Identifier. It is the common practice on the DataBase to provide this info (check for yourself). And, from what I’ve seen, no much information on the system OS is given until asked by the programmers.
My belief on where this comes from: From one side, basic information on the environment can be very healthy for bug debugging. But on systems such as this, where the parameteres can change _so_ much from user to user, and people all over the world are running this application with different settings in different operating systems on different computers to do different things… Well, with so much differences, you better leave for the programmer to chose which information he wants :).

* Enter ‘’ in the URL field.
* Press CTRL-Enter
* Firefox changes the URL to ‘’.  Firefox prepends ‘www’ and
appends ‘com’ to whatever URL I type.
This does not happen if I provide a protocol or start the URL with ‘www.’

That is a very simple bug, with very simple reproduction steps.
It happens all the time to a lot of people, but Rick was the first to decide and report it.
Anyone can reproduce it from these instructions.

I pressed CTRL-Enter as I’m used to opening links in a background tab in
Mozilla.  I guess Firefox does not yet support opening background tabs.

Reproducible: Always
Steps to Reproduce:
1. Type a URL (sans protocol & ‘www’) in the URL field. (e.g.
2. Press CTRL-Enter
3. Notice Firefox prepends ‘www.’ and appends ‘.com’ to whatever URL you entered
without first attempting to connect to the URL provided.

Actual Results: 
Firefox prepends ‘www.’ and appends ‘.com’ to whatever URL you entered.

Expected Results: 
Firefox should just attempt to connect to the URL as typed.

This is an extension of the first-and-quick reproduction process.
It has additional information (like the background tab statement), a reproduction page that is not specific (in order not to have the discussion limited to and the expected results.

Pretty good!

Wait, if it is pretty good, and simple, and quick, why it is featured as the BotT?
Answer: Take a look at the bug thread — it has 46 posts, since 11/02/2004 until 16/10/2006! In almost three years, the bug was rolling back and forth between sides, until they get to some conclusion.

Continue reading BotT: Ctrl+Enter on Firefox

Bug of This Time!

One of the sections I want to have in this blog, is a list of cool bugs and a review on the bug report.
I’ll take a bug report out of some bugzilla list, like the Mozilla or the OpenOffice, explain the bug and review the bug description.
My aim is to learn cool techniques and ideas on bug reporting, and also to try to spot bad patterns and poor descriptions.

Wait! Should not this section be called “Bug of the Month“, or “of the Week“? No, no. I do not want to limit myself to just one bug per period. Neither I want to commit to bring a bug every week… So it’s the “Bug of this Time“! :)


At “This Time”, instead of listing a bug found elsewhere, I’ll describe a ‘Privacy Bug’ I once found in the printer of a company I worked for.They had some Xerox printers that performed as Fax as well.

In some (most) of the machines, when you wanted to print a Transmission Report on a delivered fax, you had to drill-down on the printers’ menu, and press the “Transmission Report” option. Send your fax, and after success, a neat report, with a reduced image of the first page of the fax sent is printed out. Cool.

Continue reading Bug of This Time!