A bizarre and perverse journey is completed. At 12:21am 2007/10/19, I reported my 1,500th documentable bug to Apple. I have actually reported a bunch more over the years, which have since been lost to the sands of history. I remember reporting bugs against eWorld and Newton beta software! But I can currently identify 1,500 bug reports against Apple's products.

A few of these, of course, are bogus -- there have been times I just made a mistake, and thought it was an Apple problem. Some of my mistakes indicate that Apple's user interface needed clarification or improvement; others are simply my foolish mistakes.

Many of my reports are documentation issues. Right now, I'm looking at Apple's thousands of pages of brand-new documentation on Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" Server and sighing (repeatedly) -- I don't have time to read the half on topics that interest me -- but as an admin, the documentation has to be correct. Rockefeller has an Apple Enterprise Support contract, but they are limited, expensive, and problematic to use. Most Mac admins have to make do with peer support, and Apple supports this because Apple only has to support (some of) the fora -- not pay support staff. This means Mac admins need to be able to help ourselves through researching and the documentation. Ambiguous or simply incorrect documentation is bad. Fortunately Apple aspires to perfection (though they don't always aspire very hard -- the early Mac OS X manual pages were badly neglected).

Other reports are feature requests, handled slightly differently but through the same bug reporting system. For example, I want to use my iPhone as a secure password store, an offline web browser, and with a Bluetooth GPS. Feature requests are how I tell Apple my priorities for product development -- sometimes they even pay attention! ;)

And lots of bug reports are bugs. This is a bittersweet time, as I recognize my reports behind a bunch of fixes in Leopard, but I also know I'm about to lose a lot of traction. Until very recently, Apple has been focused on perfecting Leopard -- meaning things have been fluid and could be improved, and there was lots of pressure to fix bugs. Now that they have finalized 10.5.0 and are preparing to sell it, the developers are hoping they didn't miss any hideous bugs and recovering. In a little while they'll go back to the grindstone to start fixing and building 10.5.1, but 10.5 will never be as flexible again. It's going to be a while before I can start pestering Apple about what to do for Mac OS 10.6, and various bugs or design flaws will be too large to build into a point release, meaning they are already baked into the 10.5.x series, not eligible for fixing during Leopard's lifetime.