Bugs and feature requests
(→Graphical User Interfaces: how-to take screenshot or video)
Revision as of 11:08, 2 April 2009
Bugzilla is the tracking tool used by the Fedora Project to get feedback from users and developers on bugs and requests for enhancements in Fedora.
Sometimes, new reports are missing information, are inaccurate, or have other flaws. This wastes valuable time. The person who reported the bug wastes their time when they file inaccurately, and the developers have to spend more time on the bug, which wastes their time, and may even result in the bug being ignored or forgotten. This page describes how to file quality bug reports and suggest enhancements in a constructive manner.
Do I need to file a bug?
Unless you see a problem already reported in Bugzilla, mentioned in the release notes or other documentation, listed in the acknowledged by developers on the mailing list, listed on the common bugs page, or listed as a broken dependency in the daily Rawhide Report, you should file a bug. Don't assume that everyone else is also seeing the same problem you are; many bugs are specific to a particular hardware, configuration, or habits of use. Discussing a bug on IRC or the fedora-test-list mailing list can help you diagnose the exact source and co-ordinate with others experiencing the same issue, but it is not a sufficient way to report the bug. It must be reported to Bugzilla so the issue can be properly tracked and will not be lost among the noise of the mailing list.
A common practice is to file a bug first, then e-mail the list with a link to the bug report, asking for further assistance. Many bugs are also filed with no e-mail to the mailing list, so be sure to search Bugzilla for your problem.
If you are new to Fedora's Bugzilla, then the first step is to register an account. It's a quick process, so don't hesitate to get started right away. For details about the account creation process, please consult the bugzilla documentation.
Understanding Bugzilla Culture
Understanding how other people are expecting you to use the system will improve the way your problem is presented, make others more receptive and more likely to fix your bug, and make the experience more pleasant for everyone. If you have never used Bugzilla before or are new to filing bug reports, it may be helpful to read the following pages.
- General Bugzilla Etiquette
- bugzilla.redhat.com pointers - describes the essential steps to follow for all bugs!
- How to Report Bugs Effectively (general advice)
If a particular software package is heavily used, it is more likely that users will find bugs and/or suggest enhancements to it. It does not mean that the software is more buggy.
BugZappers/UnderstandingBugzilla has a few technical notes that may help Bugzilla make more sense.
Search for Duplicates
Very common known bugs are listed at Bugs/Common.
It's not generally useful to file "I'm experiencing this bug, too" comments, unless there are specific details which might be helpful in tracking down the cause (e.g. you have more detailed debugging information, or a different hardware or software configuration which means a hardware-specific or configuration-specific bug is more widespread than previously thought).
If you are experiencing the bug in a more recent version of Fedora than reported in the bug, this is useful to mention.
See BugZappers/FindingDuplicates for more details.
Gather Helpful Information
See "Tips by type of bug" below for specific guidance.
It is always useful to check /var/log/messages (for everyone) and ~/.xsession-errors (for desktop users) to see if there are any errors or warnings related to your problem. Some programs also have dedicated files or directories in /var/log which are worth checking.
Start Filing the Bug
You can enter a new bug here.
Read the report template carefully and provide all the requested information, as best you can.
Finding the Right Component
When reporting a bug, it is helpful if you select the right Product, Version and Components. By doing so, you reach the developer/maintainer of the affected software package, which helps resolve the bugs faster. If you assign it to the wrong component, it can be reassigned to the correct one, so never skip filing a bug report just because you couldn't figure out which component to assign it to.
See BugZappers/CorrectComponent for details on how to determine the correct component if you aren't sure.
After Your Bug is Filed
- Developers do not normally acknowledge bug reports or offer comments unless they have substantial feedback or require more information from you. It does not mean that your bug reports have not been valuable. Keep them coming!
- After reporting a bug, you might get feedback from other users, or the developer may change the status and/or resolution of the bug report. For an explanation:
- If you file a bug against a version of Fedora and it is not fixed or otherwise resolved before the version reaches its End of Life (EOL), someone will need to test a more recent version of Fedora to see if the bug persists, and update the Version field if so. Otherwise, your bug will be closed. You will get an e-mail notification if this is the case. Many bugs are fixed or made obsolete when software is incorporated into new versions of Fedora from upstream programmers. Older bugs remain in the system for future reference, but re-testing will keep the bug open and "on the radar" for Fedora developers. See BugZappers/HouseKeeping for more process information.
If you need a command-line or programmatic interface to Bugzilla, try: "yum install python-bugzilla" and see the included documentation. This provides the command "bugzilla".
Things Every Bug Should Have
- Version number: The exact version number of the problem RPM (or a list of suspicous RPMs). The number in the Version selector field is the version of the Fedora distribution as a whole (9, 10, Rawhide); the RPM version number for a specific component within the distribution will change as updates are released.
- Clear description: Reporting as much as possible about what was happening at the time of the incident, or exact steps about how to reproduce the bug. Explanation of how what happened differs from what should happen, if it's not obvious.
- Diagnostic info: Any relevant warnings printed on screen, excerpt from system logs around the time of the problem, any troubleshooting dumps available.
- Context: For example, if this is a window manager problem, is it happening under GNOME or KDE? If this is a network problem, what does the network setup look like? If an application is being run in an unusual way (emulation, remotely), this should be mentioned. What related items on the system have been customized? Use your good judgment and common sense.
Additional information may be requested out of course, depending on the type of bug and affected component. See "Tips by Type of Bug" below.
Tips by Type of Bug
- When filing an enhancement request in Bugzilla, add the keyword Future
Feature to the report. Make sure you supply enough information and rationale for your enhancement requests to be considered.
- The Fedora Project has the objective to be a platform built exclusively from free and open-source software. Suggestions to include support for proprietary or other legally encumbered software is not constructive. See the ForbiddenItems page for details about this.
- If you want to make a new feature happen on your own create a wiki page for your feature and get it accepted. See more on the Feature Process at Features/Policy.
- Requests for new packages to be added to Fedora should not be added to Bugzilla. Please add them to the wiki instead, on the Package maintainers wishlist.
We pay special attention to security-sensitive bugs. Read the Security Bugs page to understand the special process.
If you encounter a problem where SELinux is denying permission or access inappropriately, include the full text of the AVC message which is logged. This will be in /var/log/audit/audit.log if auditd is running, or otherwise in /var/log/messages.
Problems involving SELinux should generally be filed against selinux-policy or selinux-policy-targeted, not the component that is triggering the error.
If you have experienced a program crash, it will almost certainly be necessary to include a stack trace with your bug report. Crashes are often difficult to reproduce and even more difficult to fix, so the more information you can provide, the better. You will probably need to install -debuginfo RPMs so your stack trace will have useful debugging symbols. See the following pages for more information:
In system-config-printer ("System -> Administration -> Printing" on the Gnome menu), select "Help -> Troubleshoot" from the menu. If the troubleshooting wizard doesn't solve your problem, attach to your bug report the troubleshoot.txt file that results from the end of the process (if you can get that far).
If you are reporting bugs with the Fedora Anaconda installer refer to Anaconda/BugReporting for details.
See the Tools/Virtualization/BugReporting page from tips on reporting virt bugs.
Information on debugging Xorg in Fedora is available from the Xorg/Debugging page.
OOo is quite big, and it links to and uses a lot of stuff, and so brings up a lot of problems that are not always OOo bugs, so...
- A crash on startup might be a crash in some OpenGL lib, not OOo itself.
- Get the test source at  .
gcc testgl.c -o testgl -lX11 -lGLto compile it.
- If it also crashes, your bug is probably not an OOo bug.
- Check that similar applications don't behave the same way, e.g. if Firefox/gedit/glxgears do the same thing as OOo, then it's unlikely to be an OOo bug.
- If the crash dialog appears, paste the stacktrace it gives you into your bug report.
- Mention if you are using KDE or GNOME, as it often matters. If you have non-Fedora-supplied KDE theme engines installed, try one of the supported ones.
- If there is an error/warning message, say what the message is.
- If it happens with a particular document, attach the document. If you can, trim the document down to the smallest test case that reproduces the problem. "Scroll to page 912 and the graphic is misplaced" is much less appealing than having a one-page example.
- If you think there is something wrong with what is being displayed, attach a screenshot. I might not understand your description.
Example: "formula font is wrong"
Is it the font used in the text area for editing the formula, or is it the font used to display the formula? Did you mean the math editor, or did you actually mean formulas in calc? A screenshot would solve these kinds of questions.
- Try not to tag things onto bugs with "and this unrelated thing doesn't work" or "yeah that fixed it, but something different is still not the way I want it" -- mutating bugs are really difficult to deal with. There's no problem with opening multiple bugs, and it's easier to merge bugs together if they turn out to be the same thing than to unmunge them into separate bugs.
- If you know you have something unusual about your setup, mention it.
- ".doc documents created with msword running under wine don't open in OOo" as opposed to just saying ".doc files don't open in OOo"
- "Saving to a samba share doesn't work" versus "saving doesn't work"
- If you can, install the debuginfo and try:
$> gdb /usr/lib/openoffice.org/program/soffice.bin (gdb) run -writer (gdb) bt
Paste the backtrace in your bug report.
-writer should be changed accordingly:
-calc -impress -math -draw)
- It's nice when someone finds that a bug was resolved in an update and mentions it in an old, unclosed bug, but it is not so useful when someone adds an unprompted note to say that the problem is still there.
- "This is unacceptable" is not good motivational practice.
Graphical User Interfaces
If you are having trouble with a graphical user interface (GUI), it is often helpful to include a screenshot showing the bug in action. This helps developers find the exact place in the code which is causing the bug, and helps communicate what is going wrong when it is difficult to reproduce (for example, machine-specific layout problems).
- To take a screenshot, hit the "Print Screen" button on your keyboard, or in from the GNOME menu select: Applications -> Accessories -> Take Screenshot
- To get video of your screen (a "screencast"), you can use Istanbul. "yum install istanbul" on the command line, then run "istanbul". It will also appear on the GNOME menu under: Applications -> Sound & Video -> Istanbul Desktop Session Recorder
- The Fedora Bug Triaging team is actively soliciting new volunteers. If you are interested, Please see the BugZappers page.
- Quality Assurance also welcomes new volunteers; see QA.