Follow-up on “Reasons why we chose JIRA over Fogbugz”

I received a thoughtful e-mail by Michael H. Pryor, President of Fog Creek Software, developers of Fogbugz regarding the concerns I voiced regarding Fogbugz. Much appreciated. I don’t have his permission (yet) to publish the mail, so I post a few clarifying points here without citing his mail:

Fogbugz is delivered with source code (both was back then and still is today). What made (and still makes) me kind of uneasy about the source code delivered was that, AFAIK, FogBugz was developed in a proprietary programming language and was cross-compiled to PHP. I’m not implying that this would have caused problems, just saying I prefer the more straightforward Java set-up JIRA provides (although J2EE and straightforward is an oxymoron).

I was really impressed about Michael’s honesty and openness in the Fogcreek forums regarding the problems they had with MySQL a few years back (which are resolved now and where caused by MySQL anyway, as I understand). Plus, even if a variety of database servers is supported by a product, there’s always a “preferred” server, and my impression was (and still is) that this is MS SQL server (which is a very fine product, no doubt about that).

I understand that there are varied views on the “Attachments-in-the-database” issue, especially from a sysadmin / backup point of view, but I’m still a firm believer in the “let the file-system deal with binary large objects and make sure to backup them, too” theory.

The points I mentioned caused us going with JIRA and thus Fogcreek losing a few thousand dollars. Having a Fogcreek salesperson actively “supporting” us wouldn’t have changed my point of view.

But the honesty and openness from Fogcreek executives and staff back in 2006 (and Michael’s follow-up e-mail today) earned my utmost respect and cause me to still recommend to everyone to check out Fogbugz, especially if they’re into using the bugtracking system for e-mail support, an area where there’s lots of room for improvement in JIRA. Having sales staff trying to “persuade” us or “trying to give us all the facts” wouldn’t have had this effect – au contraire.