Bugzilla vs Jira – What’s the Difference (Pros and Cons)

Bugzilla vs Jira – What’s the Difference (Pros and Cons). With software development on the massive increase companies use various software in their daily operations. With software development surge also comes a risk for greater disasters, bugs.  Luckily, there are web based bug tracking tools and project management systems that enable developers to efficiently fix bugs.

It is vital to fix the bugs as only then you can deliver the end user an efficient service that provides an amazing user experience.

JIRA and Bugzilla are two of the most popular tools leveraged to achieve these core objectives. Variety of organizations across the globe have been using both these tools for efficient issue tracking for years now.  

But the question is Bugzilla vs Jira – What’s the Difference? How do they compare against each other? How do they perform individually? Which tool is better? In this article Bugzilla vs Jira – What’s the Difference, we will answer that question and see how JIRA and Bugzilla compare.

What is Bugzilla

Bugzilla is a popular web based, open source bug tracking tool developed in 1998 by the Mozilla project, licensed under the Mozilla Public License. It is in the Perl programming language and it uses MySQL database.defect/bug tracking tool. Defect tracking systems allow developers and testers to track all the outstanding defects. Bugzilla can be linked to other testing tools like JIRA

Bugzilla is one of the most renowned bug tracking tools leveraged by prominent open source leaders such as Eclipse, Apache, Mozilla Foundation, WebKit, KDE, LibreOffice, etc. It is self hosting and ideal for large projects. 

Bugzilla and other systems use the “Won’t FIX” label for issues. It means that the issue won’t be resolved, either due to the process being too risky or costly. Bugzilla also returns “zarro boogs found” string, which is a misspelling of “0 bugs found” whenever scan for bugs has no results. This string is a buggy statement in itself which indicates the nature of software debugging. It implies that there may be some bugs, even when no bugs have been identified. 

Bugzilla installation relies upon the command line and it works by checking software capabilities and system requirements.

Pros of Bugzilla

  • Open source, free bug tracking tool.
  • Automatic Duplicate Bug Detection.
  • Search option with advanced features.
  • File/Modify Bugs By Email.
  • Move Bugs Between Installs.
  • Multiple Authentication Methods (LDAP, Apache server).
  • Time Tracking.
  • Automated bug reporting; has an API to interact with system.
  • Integrated email capabilities.
  • Detailed permissions system.
  • Optimized database structure to enhance performance.
  • Robust security.
  • Powerful query tool.
  • Ideal for small projects.

Cons of Bugzilla

  • Wide customization but not easy to customize.
  • Attaching large files is difficult when reporting bugs.
  • No out of the box dashboards and insights

What is JIRA

The name “Jira” is derived from the Japanese word Gojira, which means Godzilla. It hints towards its top competitor Bugzilla. In other words, JIRA is an incident management tool that can also handle any bug tracking needs of the development and testing teams. Wide range of companies have used Jira at some point of time for project management and issue tracking such as Skype Technologies, Twitter, NASA, Hibernate, The Apache Software Foundation, Fedora Commons, and so on. 

JIRA was developed in Java programming language by Atlassian, an Australian Company. It is used for

  • Manage Agile and Scrum teams.
  • Organize your project management tasks.
  •  Efficient bug tracking and issue tracking.

Jira Software is the base tool comprising of 4 packages: Jira core, Jira Software, Jira Ops and Jira service desk.  Jira Core is for the generic project management, where Jira Service Desk is designed to aid the service desks of IT businesses. Jira offers Scrum and Kanban functionality.

Jira features WebWork 1 technology stack, Apache OFBiz Entity Engine and Pico IoC (Inversion of Control) container. For RPC, Jira supports XML RPC, SOAP and REST. It integrates with various source control programs like Perforce, Clear Case, CVS, Team Foundation Server, Git and so on. To share support tickets raised by clients with different bug tracking systems, Jira offers support for the Networked Help Desk API. 

Businesses can run Jira with a license for on premises or as an open hosted application. A few open source projects that abide by specific standards can use Jira for FREE, along with other entities that are non profit, non commercial, non governmental, secular, non academic and non political.

Commercial and academic organizations can access the complete source code under a developer source license.

Pros of JIRA

  • Reports and dashboards.
  • Roadmaps.
  • Product and project management.
  • Kanban boards to give users full visibility.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Helps in project management and issue tracking.
  • Powerful Agile views with Scrum boards and Kanban boards.
  • Has a rich set of APIs.
  • Extensive range of plugins to extend its functionality.
  • Open DevOps.
  • Drag and Drop Automation.
  • Ideal for large projects.

Cons of JIRA

  • Complex architecture and User Interface.
  • Not the best mobile app.
  • Steep learning curve.
  • Complex integration and migration.
  • Limited file size upload.
  • No built in timeline to track your project progress.
  • Known for being a slow tool with long query load times.

JIRA vs Bugzilla: Main Differences

1. Core Objective

JIRA is a project management and issues tracking tool that is able to create, track and manage activities of the development and testing teams. Further, it also streamlines various processes related to bug tracking, testing status, progress of development tasks, etc. JIRA is most commonly used in Agile based projects as it can prioritize workflows as per the project’s requirements and progress. 

Bugzilla, on the other hand is a web based, free software that is mainly designed for bug tracking and tracking changes in code version. 

2. Link Type

Issue linking helps you create a link between issues either on different or same Jira servers. Say for example, an issue may “relate to” or “duplicate” another. 

JIRA has four default link types:


  • relates to/relates to
  • duplicates/is duplicated by
  • blocks/is blocked by
  • clones/is cloned by

Issue linking further allows you to form a relation between a Confluence page and a Jira issue. Or, you can even link a Jira issue to another web page. Organizations can edit, add, or delete link types as per their requirements. 

Bugzilla on the other hand features auto linkification. Say, if you type a bug number as “bug 12345” in a comment, it will get auto linkified for others to see it conveniently. You can just copy and paste the entire summary line of the cited bug for easy linking.

3. Flags and Labels

Bugzilla has a unique feature called “Flags” which allows you to assign a status to an attachment or a bug, either “-” or “+”. These symbols may indicate different meanings as per the flag’s text such as approved/rejected, pass/fail or yes/no and so on. Websites that allow requestable flags may allow you to set a “?” symbol to a flag, which means to request another user to take a look at the related attachment or bug and modify the flag to a correct symbol.

Flags in Bugzilla are of two types: Attachment Flags and Bug Flags. 

Attachment flags are used to ask a question about a bug or an attachment. This is generally used by a developer to request “review” from another developer to either approve or reject it. Bug Flags are used to set a status on the bugs. Only specific people are given access to set and edit the bugs. 

Jira, on the other hand, uses the “Labels” feature where you can create a label and assign it to a story or a task for quick search using filters. Say for example, you can create an “email marketing” label and assign it to all tasks related to email marketing. Jira can also leverage extensions to entirely mimic Bugzilla’s “Flags” feature. 

4. Custom Fields

Bugzilla allows you to create Custom Fields to search queries or set in bugs. It offers various types of Custom Fields such as Bug ID, Free Text, Large Text Box, Multiple Selection Box, Date/Time and Drop Down.

On the contrary, JIRA comes with a wider range of custom fields that go way beyond Bugzilla. This includes Multi user, Multi Select, Labels, Date/Time, Duration, Single select, Single user, Number, Text/HTML and many more. Moreover, you can add more custom field types in JIRA via plugins.

In Bugzilla, you can choose to hide or display specific values or the complete custom field based on another field’s value. And in JIRA, you can execute conditional configuration only based on Type and Project fields.

5. User Interface

Bugzilla has had a less intuitive, traditional style of interface for years now. There have been some minor modifications here and there, but nothing extraordinary. Templates are used for HTML and you can transform these templates to make Bugzilla look more visually appealing.

JIRA on the other hand is quite intuitive and eye catchy right out of the box. The User Interface of Jira is far better and it keeps on improving with time.

6. Security

For JIRA, Atlassian employs enhanced security and administration with SAML SSO, enforced 2FA (two factor authentication), automated user provisioning and other robust security features. It releases security patches and advisories whenever security threats are identified.

By the same token, JIRA is more likely to have security risks than Bugzilla due to its large, complex architecture, extra functionalities by third party extensions and lengthy client side JavaScript code.

7. Plugins

JIRA has over 3000+ apps and integrations to extend its functionality. Atlassian has a strong developers’ community with their very own SDK Plugin. With its rich suite of APIs, you can easily create powerful plugins as well. 

On the other hand, Bugzilla offers “Bugzilla Extension ” where you can customize its functionality. Extensions allow you to modify the UI as well as code of the Bugzilla for seamless distributions to future Bugzilla versions or other Bugzilla users without much effort. You can even write your own extension with the help of documentation. Bugzilla has a large list of extensions, but not more than JIRA.

Comparison Table: Bugzilla vs. JIRA

Features Bugzilla Jira
Real time release tracking
Drag and drop automation
Dashboard with customized gadgets
Server Load
Server side architecture
Perl, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL
MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, J2EE, Lucene, Tomcat

Great effort.! We have learned Bugzilla vs Jira – What’s the Difference (Pros and Cons).

Bugzilla vs Jira – What’s the Difference (Pros and Cons) Conclusion

To summarize, Bugzilla has a good suite of features for bug tracking, customization, issue grouping, permissions control, etc. On the other hand, JIRA  is a project management tool used to create, maintain and follow the development team’s activities, testing team and support proceedings and action items like development task progress, testing status, defect tracking, etc. Both the software tools can be put under the issue tracking category, but JIRA and Bugzilla vary a lot in their features and functionality, as seen above.

JIRA is mainly used in Agile based project, as it allows to prioritize the items depending on the project’s status, which is certainly not feasible in Bugzilla.

Bugzilla let’s users to choose the initial status of new issues  where JIRA allows multiple workflows.

When it comes to access control, Bugzilla offers flexible features for grouping issues and users and for granting permissions. However, JIRA model is simple and more convenient. Migration issue: is not an easy task to migrate from Bugzilla security groups.

Seeing its powerful features, intuitive UI and faster performance, JIRA is more widely used in companies today than Bugzilla. However, Bugzilla also offers wider customization and good bug tracking features; sufficient for smaller projects at an affordable price.

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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