Until further notice, I’m boycotting Radar. No more filing bugs, no more responding to bugs. For me, Radar is both frustrating beyond belief and also a waste of time. I recommend that my fellow Mac developers join my boycott, if for no other reason than to preserve whatever sanity and mental health you have remaining. I’ve come to the conclusion that life without Radar will be happier and more productive.
In order of importance (and annoyance), here are my major complaints about Radar:
- Mindless responses to bugs from Apple zombies … err, employees
I expect a knowledgeable person to read and evaluate my bugs carefully. I’m sick and tired of getting stupid, sometimes irrelevant responses. It’s clear in many cases that the Apple employee was basically skimming for keywords and didn’t bother to actually read the bug. And I’m far from alone here: I’ve heard numerous examples (otherwise known as horror stories) from other developers of the same kind of maddening response to their bugs. We developers spend a lot of time discovering, investigating, and reproducing these bugs for Apple, without receiving any compensation. Inexplicably, though, Apple employees are dismissive of our help. They seem to care more about closing the Radar than fixing the bug that the Radar reports.
- Duplicate bugs are second class citizens
If your bug gets marked as a dupe, you’re doomed. Don’t expect to ever hear about it again, not even if it’s fixed. Apple’s canned response says, “To request the status of the original bug, please update your report directly via the Apple Bug Reporter”, which is ridiculous, because you could have dozens or even hundreds of duplicates, and it can sometimes take years for a bug to get fixed, so how often are you supposed to make status requests?
- No searchable bug database
If you’re lucky, an Apple engineer on a mailing list may tell you that your problem is a known issue. If not, you could flail around for days trying to figure out why your code that should work doesn’t work, because of a Mac OS X bug. A number of other companies provide searchable bug databases to their developers, why can’t Apple? It’s true that sometimes your bug reports contain confidential information that you don’t want to share with other developers (your competitors, for example), but often they don’t, and it would be nice to have an ‘opt in’ option to allow other developers to see your bug. It’s also true that Apple needs to protect its secrets; however, Apple should realize that not everything is or needs to be secret, and as ADC members we’re already bound by Non-Disclosure Agreements, so what’s the point of being under an NDA with Apple if Apple never discloses anything to us? The existence of Open Radar demonstrates how ludicrous it is that Apple does not provide a searchable bug database themselves. Although I don’t post my bugs on Open Radar because I don’t have a Google account, I do have a list here.
- Wasting my time asking me to verify unfixed bugs
Apple employees seem to think third party developers have nothing better to do than perform unpaid QA work for Apple. A number of times, I’ve gotten requests to verify that a bug still exists in software update X, and indeed it does still exist in software update X, as demonstrated by the very steps to reproduce that I listed in my bug report. Did anyone at Apple even bother to follow my steps? (That’s a rhetorical question — obviously, no.) What were you thinking here, that my bug would magically disappear without having to do anything? Sorry, your deus ex machina failed to show up, stop wasting my time and start fixing the bug. If Apple is understaffed, and its employees are overworked and don’t have enough time to do this themselves, that’s not my fault. If I hear one more excuse about Apple not having the resources, I’m going to puke. Or punch someone. Or puke on someone’s fist. Apple makes more than a billion dollars a quarter in profit. My company makes slightly less than that.
What I’ve come to realize is that we developers don’t need Radar. Apple needs us, but we don’t need them (for this, anyway). The time between filing a bug and seeing a fix for the bug shipped in a Mac OS X software update is usually quite long, sometimes infinitely long. If I discover a Mac OS X bug that affects my software, I can’t wait for a fix from Apple, I have to write a workaround immediately. Thus, by the time I file a bug, I don’t really need a fix for it. The sole purpose of filing the bug is to help other developers and to make the Mac OS X platform better. Essentially, it’s charity work. If Apple makes charity work for them really difficult and annoying, then I’m going to find something better to do, like adopt a cat, or a highway.