Frequently I find myself waiting for the nightly builds of some open source program to fix some bug, or to add a feature that doesn’t exist in the stable version of the software. It would be wonderful if there were a good way to be notified when a bugfix or feature appears, either in the unstable or stable versions.
For instance, right now I need some open source software that can capture a screencast from the output of my computer screen. VLC is supposed to support this, but that feature does not work in the stable version on OS X. The next version of VLC, 0.9.0, will apparently have a GUI for recording output from an iSight camera or your screen, but although the GUI is there in the unstable builds, it doesn’t succeed in saving to a file yet. I would like to be notified when VLC supports recording screencasts on OS X.
For another example, I would like to start using Thunderbird 3 with the Lightning calendar/todos add-on… Thunderbird 2 has been boring and stagnant for a long time, and I’d like to help the Thunderbird 3 effort in any way I can, at least by testing the nightly builds. However, there is a showstopper bug which prevents you from switching back and forth between the mail pane and the calendar pane (it gets stuck in calendar mode), and until that is fixed Thunderbird 3 is unusable for me. I have subscribed to the bug so I get an e-mail every time someone submits a patch or makes some uninteresting comment on the bug, but really I just want to know when the darn thing is fixed so I can use Thunderbird 3 again. I don’t want to get all of this extraneous e-mail.
What I’m imagining is a sort of social networking interface, or perhaps a Digg/reddit voting interface like Ubuntu Brainstorm, for bugs/features, where you can get a feed for each bug / feature request, or “friend”/”favorite” them on the website. Then you can either track all activity on the bug/feature request, or simply get a single update e-mail when the bug is fixed or the feature is implemented. This would be really awesome as a global interface for all open source projects, but a more realistic goal may be for something like this to be released as an easy to use/install open source package which all projects use and thus the interface is at least familiar even if it is not a single interface/website for every project under the sun.
Will someone please create this for me? 😉