How To Report Software Bugs in Debian Using Reportbug

Hello, Linux fellas. Today I was trying to install typecatcher on Debian 8 Jessie. I installed it, but it wouldn’t start. Now matter how many times I tried, it just refused to start. So I thought I need to report this bug to Debian. Here’s how to report software bugs in Debian using reportbug.

Report Software Bugs in Debian Using Reportbug

Debian comes installed with a bug reporting tool called reportbug. But it lacks GUI support, so we have to install a package to enable GUI supoort.

apt-get install python-vte

Now you can start using reportbug in GUI mode.

On first run, there’s a wizard guiding you through the bug reporting process step by step. Click Continue.

Reportbug

The second window tells you that your settings will be saved in .reportbugrc file under your home directory and you can always edit this file later on to change your settings.  Click Continue again.

Reportbug

Next it asks you to configure how you want to use this tool. There’re 4 operating mode for reportbug.

  • novice
  • standard
  • advanced
  • expert

For this tutorial, I choose advanced. Don’t be frightened by their fancy names. It’s actually easier than you think.

Reportbug

Then it asks you a question: Will reportbug often have direct Internet access? My computer always have Internet access, so I choose Yes.

Reportbug

Next, enter your real name.

Reportbug

Enter your email address.

Reportbug

After that, it asks you if you have a MTA configured on your computer. I don’t have a MTA on my computer so I answer No. Most people don’t have MTA configured on their computer.

Reportbug

The next window asks you to enter the address of your SMTP host. You can also leave this field blank, your bug reporting email will be relayed through a Debian email relay server.

Reportbug

After that, enter your username on the SMTP host.

Reportbug

Next it asks you if you want to encrypt your email. I want to encrypt my email so I choose Yes and you should encrypt your email as well.

reportbug

Next it asks you to enter a proxy server for sending email. I do not use proxy server to send email so I press Enter to skip this step.

reportbug

And now the configuration is completed.

reportbug

Click Quit button to quit configuration.

Now fire up reportbug GUI again.

reportbug

Enter the name of the package in which you have found a problem.

It will check the version of the package installed on your system and to see if there’re new versions available.

reportbug

It says there’s new version available on Debian stretch and Debian unstable, do you still want to file a report. Because I’m using Debian 8 Jessie, so I choose Yes. I still want to file a report.

Next it checks if there’re exisiting bug reports for the package. In my case there’s no one report a bug against typecatcher before. So now I need to briefly describe the problem. If others have reported the same bug before, you can see in Reportbug and you don’t have to report it again.

reportbug

In the next window, you can choose to send this bug report to your email address. So you can see for yourself how your bug reporting email looks like.

reportbug

Next it asks you to rate the severity of your problem. I choose Important because the package fails to start and it has a major effect on the usability of the package.

reportbug

Next, check if these apply to your report. If no item applies to your report, then don’t choose any item.

reportbug

Now write your bug report.

reportbug

reportbug will automatically detect your system information and insert system info to your bug report. Once you finished writting your bug report, click Continue.

In the next window, you have many options. You can attach a file, re-edit bug report and so on.

reportbug

When you are all set, click Submit the bug report via email.

You will need to enter your SMTP password. If you didn’t configured a SMTP host before, you don’t need to enter SMTP password.

reportbug

Volia! You bug reporting email is sent.

reportbug

You will receive a confirmation email. You can also check your bug report on Debian bug tracking sytem.

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