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I opened an issue on a Javascript library hosted on GitHub. The maintainer pushed a fix to master, but there has not been a new release since that fix was pushed. Should the issue be closed now, or when there is a new release and the fixed code is available via npm? Or should this be at the discretion of the maintainer?

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In the common workflow, issues are used to track the work that needs to be done on a given branch (usually master or main, but not necessarily). Once the fix is committed, there's no more work to be done on that branch, and the issue should be closed to signify it. Large projects with more diligent maintainers may also tag the issue to signify what release it will be included in.

If the project uses a different issue tracker than GitHub issues, it may use two different statuses for these two actions - a "modified" or "merged" status for when the fix is committed to the relevant branch and an additional "closed" or "fixed" status for when the release is performed.

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In my opinion - and I should stress it's only that - it's great that you've found a bug in a piece of free software. It's good to find bugs, because it makes software better. That said, if you report the bug, the maintainer is not obliged to fix it. If you fix it, the maintainer is not obliged to accept your fix. If your fix is accepted, you're not entitled to any particular workflow with respect to the release of that fix and the closure of the bug report.

The reasonable expectations you can have of free software are laid out in the licence, and reiterated in the Four Freedoms. If you come across a piece of free software that has bugs, you have the right to copy it, fix the bugs, and redistribute the modified version, because it's free software. Everything else is discretionary.

  • Oh I totally appreciate that at the end of the day the maintainer gets to decide. I guess I asked more out of curiosity if there's any standard practices in place. Someone else in the issue thread is asking about closing the issue. As the person who opened the ticket I'm able to close it, but I don't know if that would be helping or hindering, since I didn't push the fix. My thought is it might be useful to leave open as a way to track what will be rolled into the next release. – dave Nov 3 '20 at 21:09
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    @dave that's fair enough, though it would've been helpful if you'd linked to the specific issue ticket so we could see that. I'm fairly sure there are no community-wide standard practices, and I've certainly never come across any github-specific practices. If the maintainer can also close the ticket, I'd be inclined to step back from the discussion. If this other person on the thread wants to make an issue out of the precise release-vs.-closure timing, they can take it up with the project maintainer. – MadHatter Nov 3 '20 at 21:12

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