Please consider the following hypothetical situation. gnome-screensaver keeps crashing for people on Jaunty, which is pretty annoying, so it sends lots of people to Launchpad to report a bug.

It's pretty quickly established by the amazing desktop team triagers that it's actually a problem in Gtk+, so they duly reassign the bug there.

However, it's a little while before the fix is forthcoming, and it that time many users are still getting hit by the bug, so they are still heading to launchpad. As most of us aren't Gtk+ hackers we don't see that the issue is there, so we go to the obvious place to report the bug, the gnome-screensaver package, and not seeing any existing reports about the bug we file a new one.

This means that the desktop team has to spend time shovelling the bugs over to Gtk+ and duplicating them to the first one. While we have some tools to help with this sort of thing it would be great if we could try and avoid it all together.

One way this could be solved in Launchpad is to leave a task open on the gnome-screensaver package, but this isn't ideal, as the bug doesn't need to be fixed there. You could mark a gnome-screensaver bug on the package as Invalid, which would make the dupe search as you report a bug show it, but it wouldn't show up for those that just trawled the open gnome-screensaver bug reports looking for the crash.

My idea for something that would help in this case is Ghost bugs. These are bugs that are the ghosts of a bug somewhere else. In the above case a ghost bug could be created against gnome-screensaver pointing to the Gtk+ bug. It would then show up in the bug lists, but not have a status etc., and be somewhat "greyed out", hence the name ghost bug.

As the bug affects gnome-screensaver it makes sense for it to show up against that, but as it doesn't need to be fixed there it shouldn't have the rest of the information.

It doesn't just work for packages. See for example launchpad bug #174539. This is a bug that should be fixed in bzr, but it only manifests itself in bzr-builddeb. I am keeping a task against bzr-builddeb so that it shows up in my list to fix to have bzr-buiddeb work great, but I don't really need a status as nothing needs to change in bzr-builddeb for it to work.

With Launchpad having the concept of bug tasks this could be easily done by adding a new status Ghost, or perhaps Fix Elsewhere or something. This would be handled differently to the other statuses, giving behaviour such as that I described above.

Having a whole bug task may not be the right thing though. It could instead be a separate list, similar to the list of bug tasks, but just listing the things that should have ghost tasks.

Does anyone else think this would be useful? Is there prior art?