Thrills, chills, filters, and bugmail

Any bugmail at all is probably way too much bugmail. That means you will need to set up some structures to filter it!

This explanation may be useful for anyone interested in contributing to Mozilla — especially bugmasters, triagers, and developers. Even if you don’t use the same email setup, there’s some good tips.

Byron (aka glob) explained how I could set up my Bugzilla email, or bugmail. Within Bugzilla, in the Email preferences tab, there are a complicated set of checkboxes to control what conditions in Bugzilla trigger your bugmail. Right now, my email notifications are set to fire off email to me whenever anything happens to a bug I may be interested in.

Bugzilla email prefs

I then set up some users to watch, at the bottom of the Email preferences screen. Whenever Matti, Tyler, or Benjamin do anything with a bug, Bugzilla emails me about it. I can also see that Josh is watching my Bugzilla activity. People often refer to this as “stalking” in Bugzilla, without any creepy connotation intended. It is basically TMI about someone else’s bugs (or what bugs they poke at.)

Bugzilla user watching

“If you watch a user, it is as if you are standing in their shoes for the purposes of getting email. Email is sent or not according to your preferences for their relationship to the bug (e.g. Assignee).” The meaning of that takes a while to work out, much like Bilbo Baggins’ famous statement at his eleventy-first birthday party‚Ķ “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

I have picked two components to watch. Bugs in BMO ( are organized first by Product, such as Firefox, Firefox for Android, Thunderbird, and so on; then by Component, which seems to be a division by who is working on a particular area or project. You can’t pick a Component, or even see it, till you figure out what Product your bug belongs to. Here is a helpful guide from the Mozilla Developer Network with a list of Mozilla Products and their Components, handily all on one page, so it is easily searchable. I have also been using the list of Modules and their owners from the wiki.

Bugzilla component watching

We don’t even have any bugmail yet, and see how much we have learned about the structure of a giant complicated FLOSS ecosystem! Hurray!!!! *waves pom poms*

Cheerleader cat

At this point, I made some folders in Zimbra inside a general Bugmail folder. While I’m still not sure how I’ll settle on bugmail organization, right now I have separate folders for my watched components and people. Then, in Zimbra preferences,there is a sidebar option for “Filters”.

Bugzilla filters

Create a new filter, then for users you’re watching, filter on header, and set the header name to X-Bugzilla-Watch-Reason. (For other filters, check the full headers and see what X-Bugzilla header info will work best.)

Bugzilla x headers

Since the X-Bugzilla-Watch-Reason filter contains the person’s email, if they change their own bugzilla email address, my filter will break.

Bugzilla user watching

Onward to Thunderbird, which I have set up with IMAP to check my Zimbra account.

Right-click (or command-click for a mac) on your account name in the Thunderbird sidebar, and choose “Subscribe”. This shows you the folders on your IMAP-connected account. Expand the folders and check the tickybox next to the new folders you just created in Zimbra (or whatever else you use). This will create a copy of that folder in Thunderbird.

Bugzilla thunderbird subscribe

One more step. In the Thunderbird sidebar, right-click one of the new folders that was just copied over from your IMAP account. Choose “Properties”. Then check the tickybox labelled “When getting new messages for this account, always check this folder.”

Now your bugmail will nicely filter itself — in both email clients.

That was non-obvious enough that I really wanted to document all the steps. Maybe some other new hire at Mozilla will be helped!

If anyone has bugmail tips for me, I would appreciate that!

Bonus points to anyone reading this who notices my PretendOffice filter and has a good laugh.

Twiddling my email, calendar, irc, and phone notification settings

Calendar and email notifications may sound very boring but they has engrossed me for at least an hour.

For the first time in life I have a work laptop and a personal laptop. For the last 10+ years I’ve come into a job with an existing laptop which I use seamlessly for work and personal stuff. So far, I like having less “personal” things on my work laptop. It is especially nice not to have the distraction of personal email and non-work related mailing lists. It also feels amazingly luxurious to set aside the work laptop at the end of the day.

I have Zimbra for work email, but prefer to read my email in Thunderbird on my work laptop. Zimbra calendar has my work meetings and Google Calendar has the general schedule for my life. This morning I realized Zimbra was nagging me about missing a meeting. I need to know beforehand in some way that isn’t inside a browser tab!

Instead, I’d like my phone to make a special alert noise for meetings 10 minutes beforehand so I know to open up Skype or Vidyo (what Mozilla generally uses for meetings).

BEEP cover

The last bit of information in this scenario: I didn’t want to install some special Zimbra app on my phone.

Here’s what I did:

1. Set up Zimbra to SMS me at (my 10-digit phone before meetings.

In Zimbra, go to Settings, calendar, set up phone number for notifications.
In each meeting there is a checkbox for email notification. This works for recurring meetings as well.

2. Set up my phone so that gmail notifications only make a noise for priority inbox mail. (I realized that my phone makes a noise every time it syncs email. I normally ignore that noise. )

Open Gmail on the phone, Menu>More>Settings>click the email account>Labels to Notify>Inbox ***>Ringtones (set to silent)

*** Tweak the settings for the Priority Inbox too.

4. Go to and set up whatever should go into “priority inbox” i.e. filtered to “important”

google calendar already has its own notifications on android phone if you have its app installed. If not you can set up a forwarding address and make the calendar email to SMS you.

5. make sure incoming SMS messages have a different noise than priority emails
Go to messages, menu, then settings, Select ringtone.

It took a little thought to figure out what to use to get the simple result I wanted. And while most of it happens in web services and phone settings, some of it was in my training myself in a different behavior (paying attention to a particular noise on my phone.)

A final note: Long ago I set up voicemail from my phone to Google Voice. I hate listening to voicemail. It takes a long time. Text is so much nicer, and it helps that I read very quickly. All voicemail interfaces suck. The last time I used one, it had a default menu message that took about 15 years to go through that played after every single voicemail. This resulted in my *never* listening to my messages. (Fortunately I have not had a work phone for years; just email.)

People sometimes leave long messages, but the gist of them is just “call me back”. Google Voice is lovely for this as it sends me an email transcript of the voicemail. The transcripts are often hilarious garbled but it’s enough to get the idea of who’s calling, what their number is, and what they want. If I want to hear them, I can press “play”. Their messages are also nicely archived for me in Gmail. Hurrah!