With wxVenus, I wanted to set up a public butracker. I wanted to avoid Google Code because of my recent account problems. At a previous company we used FogBUGZ and the developer-focussed bug-entry and editing was brilliant, so I was looking for something similar. I couldn’t find anything I liked immediately and so just to get started I began using Lighthouse which has a very nice, clear and simple user-interface which requires minimal effort to use (*cough*bugzilla*cough*), but it was locked to private-only. If I’d wanted to pay up I could have got anon-view but no anon-submissions IIRC.

At work we use a default install of Trac, which is reasonably horrible, but I know that it’s heavily customisable via a simple config system and plugins so I gave that a go (hence the previous post on mod_python). I obviously got something wrong when I was setting it up though because loading a single page took at least five seconds to appear as well as murdering my server, and it was completely unusable as a bugtracker. I tried running tracd (the standalone trac web server) and it responded much, much more quickly but still not fast enough to use.

In the end I did set up home on Google Code, but I’m not very happy about it. The interface is quite good, although typically for Google, sparse, but there’s no obvious API if I want to get my wiki pages or issues out, and I certainly don’t trust Google not to close my account again, even if by accident, so I’d be much happier hosting my own – tied into bzr ideally.

So is there anything out there that meets my simple, fast and free bugtracking needs? I am not bothered about milestones, priorities, ticket progress trackers or due dates. Just a list of bugs which I can arbitrarily re-order and add comments to will keep me happy.

Setting up Trac on Debian Etch with Apache 1.3 (a brief guide)

This is a summary of what I got from the Trac installation instructions here, here, here and here. My life would have been easier if I was running Apache2, but for the site in question, I’m not.

The version numbers I am working with:

  • apache – 1.3.34-4.1
  • python – 2.4.4-2
  • libapache-mod-python 2:2.7.11-2
  • Trac 0.11b2

Install easy_install, followed by the Trac requirements:

$ easy_install Pygments
$ easy_install Genshi
$ easy_install Trac
$ easy_install sqlite
$ apt-get install libapache-mod-python
$ apt-get install python-pysqlite2
$ cd ~
$ mkdir trac/myprojectname
$ trac-admin trac/myprojectname initenv

(enter the details you need or just keep hitting to accept the defaults – it’s all configurable later)

Type the tracd line given to you at the end of the install and make sure it runs (probably need your IP at this point because it won’t bind to a hostname).

Add this inside your VirtualHost:

<Location /wherever/you/like>
  SetHandler python-program
  PythonHandler trac.web.modpython_frontend
  PythonOption TracEnv /absolute/path/trac/myprojectname
  PythonOption TracUriRoot /wherever/you/like
  PythonDebug On

Patch /usr/lib/python2.4/site-packages/Trac-0.11b2-py2.4.egg/trac/web/modpython_frontend.py with code from http://trac.edgewall.org/wiki/TracModPython2.7 (yes, it’s all needed) – the “Known Issues” at the end of the code apply, most notably “There may be a character set issue” – for me this manifested itself in the <title> element of the page with a “รขโ‚ฌโ€œ” separating my project name from the word “Trac” rather than a long hypen.


bzr get http://philwilson.org/code/wxvenus

wxVenus is, at the moment, a desktop tool for browsing the cache that a local Venus installation creates when it runs. It is written in wxPython and is dependent on lxml.


It is also the first Python program of greater than ten lines that I’ve ever written, and given that we’ve already established I am very bad at it, the code quality is very low.

The long-term intention is to provide a cross-platform desktop tool which uses either a local or remote Venus installation as its aggregator and data source. At the moment I am using Lighthouse to track progress, but the free account doesn’t let me expose my tickets publically (although I will use the API to do this) I’ve moved to Google code because Lighthouse was closed and my local Trac install was slower than you could possibly imagine.

Really this is a lesson in Bazaar, Python, wxWidgets and XML parsing. Hopefully I will end up with a tool I can use. So far I’m learning a lot ๐Ÿ™‚