Bug Reporting Guidelines

Bugzilla is a database of bugs and feature requests. It helps developers keep track of what's broken and who's fixing it. Users can help our effort by making their bug reports clear and specific. The better your bug report, the easier it is to identify the cause, and fix the bug.

Before you submit a new bug

Hundreds and thousands of people use Bugzilla. Perhaps someone has already reported this bug?

Search Bugzilla

Search Bugzilla to ensure that there is no similar problem already reported, and that the problem is still outstanding. Duplicate bug reports waste time.

By default, Bugzilla does not search the list of RESOLVED bugs. You can force it to do so by selecting the RESOLVED item from the Status select box in the "complicated search form". You may discover that your bug has already been resolved and fixed in a later release.

If you are not familiar with Bugzilla, at least list all currently reported bugs for the program (by entering the program's name in the "short search form"), and scan the resulting list of bug summaries.

If there is a problem similar to yours, add yourself to the email CC: field and add your problem description to the comments. This avoids duplicate bug reports; one comprehensive bug report gives a better picture of the problem than several individual bug reports.

Does a Previous Version Work?

Suppose you have been using version A of your favourite program. You perform a software update to version D and then your program/feature no longer works.

If there is a gap between version numbers A and D, it means that other versions exist between these versions. For example, if you went from version 2 to version 5, versions 3 and 4 lie between 2 and 5.

Before you post your bug report, find out which is the latest version that works, and which is the version that first caused the problem. Identify exactly when things broke, so that the software maintainers can pinpoint the problem.

Solve Your Own Problem!

By all means, try to solve your own problem and fix the bug! A fabulous feature of open source software is that you don't have to wait for anyone to fix bugs - you can do it yourself (or hire someone to do it).

Finished software source code patches are welcome; but, do not hesitate to add unfinished guesses or partial fixes to your bug report. They can show more precisely where the problem is.

If you are successful in patching the problem, add your patch to your bug report (perhaps as a later comment).

A good bug report is:

  • Reproducible: If the developers can't see it or conclusively prove that it exists, they will probably stamp it "WORKSFORME" or "INVALID", and move on to the next bug. Provide step-by-step instructions for reproducing the bug, and we'll be able to find and destroy it.

  • Specific: Try and figure out exactly what causes the crash. If you find an email that crashes Evolution, good. If you find what parts of the message make things go wrong, even better.

  • Unique: Before you report a bug, try to make sure it hasn't been reported before. If you have new information about an existing bug, please post a comment on the first bug.

  • Current. Before filing a bug, make sure you've installed the latest version of the program. That will minimize the chance of reporting a bug that has already been fixed.

Other tips:

  • Do include a stack trace and any error messages or console output the application gave. You can get stack traces easily with Bug Buddy, the GNOME Bug Report tool. Please don't attach core files or screenshots, though, unless the screenshot demonstrates a specific user interface problem that is hard to explain in words.

  • Do Write a summary that is specific enough to distinguish the bug from most others. Good: "Network Setup Tool hangs when verifying DHCP server." Bad: "Setup Tools Crash."

  • Do give step by step instructions on how to reproduce the problem.

  • Do tell us the exact name and version of all relevant software, including your distribution and operating system. For example:"Nautilus-sendto 0.10 won't work with bluez-gnome 0.6 from my Mandriva 2008 beta system." Don't say "I'm using Linux, and bluetooth crashes."

See Also

Community/GettingInTouch/Bugzilla/Guidelines (last edited 2015-01-02 16:55:42 by AndreKlapper)