Stuff we dislike about gnats
Storage and filing
gnats does not understand MIME attachments. (At all.) They end up as text blobs in the database. And worse, they end up mildly corrupted so they need to be edited to be decoded.
gnats makes it a nuisance to extract even inline patches from PRs.
gnats has no way to prevent accidentally filing messages in old PRs, and it's frequently necessary to hand-edit old PRs to clean up the consequences.
gnats accepts a wide range of misformatted incoming PRs, then mangles them further and drops them into an internal queue needing manual attention.
gnats fairly frequently belches on incoming mail requiring intervention from admins.
By default gnats does not treat incoming confidential PRs as confidential; it requires manual filtering in the surrounding email logic.
gnats has no support whatsoever for automatically handling bounced mail.
There's no way to disable sending mail to email addresses that are known to be invalid.
When a bug is closed, there's no way to disambiguate from its closed state whether it's fixed, invalid, obsolete, or otherwise "won't fix".
gnats has no ability to do anything by web besides display PRs, and they display only as plain text. Things that you should be able to do that you can't include:
- filing comments
- browsing from one PR to other related ones (either explicit links from one PR to another, or retriving other PRs with similar properties)
- subscribing to PRs to get updates (even by email, let alone by RSS)
The only way to do administrative operations is to run an editor on the backend text file representation of a single bug. This means you can't readily:
- massedit PRs (e.g. put a lot of related PRs in feedback at once)
- update someone's email address
- move misfiled comments from one PR to another
But you can't file a comment on a PR from the command line; you have to send email.
The nag mails that gnats sends to submitters are annoying to handle; in particular just replying to them does not go anywhere useful.
The nag mails that gnats sends to developers list a bunch of PRs but do not list them in any kind of useful order; nor does gnats note what's different since the previous one.
Querying and search
There's a web search form, but it's close to useless, partly because it doesn't take input well and partly because the lists of results it produces is unsorted, unstructured, and impossible to work with.
The command-line interface supports search... using a custom query "language" that's nearly impossible to use and that furthermore has most of the same drawbacks as the web search page. In order to do anything much useful you need to write your own scripts that wrap the output.
Finding stuff in the database is sufficiently hard that many people consider it effectively impossible.