Best practice for reporting bugs

Mackenzie Morgan macoafi at
Wed Mar 25 16:45:17 UTC 2009

On Wednesday 25 March 2009 11:08:11 am Derek Broughton wrote:
> Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> > On Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 12:38:44PM +0000, Chris Jones wrote:
> >> Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> >> > our best practices for reporting bugs.  In particular, reporting bugs
> >> > directly to Launchpad is usually *NOT* the best approach.  This should
> >> > only
> >> 
> >> Perhaps Launchpad could specifically discourage this within /ubuntu/ and
> >> offer up much the same information in your mail?
> > 
> > Indeed, it does give that guidance but it's usually too late to help (i.e.
> > after +filebug).  I believe this is on the QA team's launchpad wishlist
> > already.
> Would you care to mention what the best practice _is_?  The post to which
> Chris replied is not on my server, the list archive, or google.  The only
> hint I've ever had that reporting bugs to Launchpad is not the best
> approach is the short shrift most of them get...

That's because Chris replied to -devel-discuss when the post was on just plain 
-devel.  Here's the text:

I've noticed that, even among Ubuntu devleopers, not everyone is applying
our best practices for reporting bugs.  In particular, reporting bugs
directly to Launchpad is usually NOT the best approach.  This should only
be done if there is no better option.

In almost all cases, it is preferable to report the bug using Apport.  This
can be done in one of the following ways:

1. If the bug is a crash, apport should automatically generate a report and
guide you in filing it.  Copies of the crash reports are stored in
/var/crash in case you need to refer to them directly.

2. The "Help" menu in many applications includes an entry "Report a
problem..." which will invoke Apport manually.

3. On the command line, you can run "ubuntu-bug <package>" (or "ubuntu-bug
<PID>") to invoke Apport manually.  Kernel bugs should be reported with
"ubuntu-bug linux".

Using this method will automatically attach the relevant version
information, log files, etc. where available.  This saves you time in filing
the bug, and saves others time in analyzing it.  For example, filing a bug
on the kernel will automatically include dmesg, lspci and so on.

We're about to get flooded with bug reports from the beta, so please
start using this method immediately, and encourage everyone else who reports
bugs to do the same.

More instructions for filing bugs can be found in the community
documentation at

Note that if someone files a bug without using apport, you can still take
advantage of it to add the information later (assuming it's still relevant),
by using apport-collect(1).  See
for details.

If you'd like to enhance your packages to take better advantage of apport by
attaching relevant data, please ask for help.  It's very simple once you
know how to do it.  The basics can be found at

Mackenzie Morgan
apt-get moo
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