Reporting Debian bugs without a working MTA

Posted by tong on Mon 22 Jan 2007 at 06:07

Debian makes heavy use of it's bug-tracking system for allowing users to inform developers which problem need fixing. However, it normally requires you to have a working MTA that connects to the Internet. This article shows that you can still report bugs even if you don't have a working MTA for any reason.

The following is a step by step example showing how I sent a bug report via my yahoo mail web interface.

First we need to identify the severity for reportbug, from the available severities list.

When reporting bugs, I found that the best way is to use "reportbug --template" to create a template with all the relevant information being automatically gathered:

$ reportbug --template --bts debian -S normal xsel
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
 From: Tong Sun <my.email@example.com>

 To: Debian Bug Tracking System <submit@bugs.debian.org>
 Subject: none
X-Debbugs-Cc: my.email@noexist.com

 Package: xsel
 Version: 0.9.6-1.1
 Severity: normal



-- System Information:
Debian Release: testing/unstable
  APT prefers testing
  APT policy: (600, 'testing'), (50, 'unstable')
 Architecture: i386 (i686)
 Kernel: Linux 2.6.17-grml
 Locale: LANG=C, LC_CTYPE=C

Versions of packages xsel depends on:
ii  libc6                        2.3.6.ds1-4 GNU C Library: Shared libraries
ii  libice6                      1:1.0.1-2   X11 Inter-Client Exchange library
ii  libsm6                       1:1.0.1-2   X11 Session Management library
ii  libx11-6                     2:1.0.0-9   X11 client-side library
ii  libxext6                     1:1.0.1-2   X11 miscellaneous extension librar

-- no debconf information

Notes:

  • This might be still useful even if you are not reporting bugs, but just want to know which packages (and their versions) the package depends on.
  • The default severity level without the "--template" switch is "normal", with the switch it is "wishlist", so I set severity level via "-S" switch first.
  • The "--bts debian" switch is not necessary unless you are using Debian derived distros which have their own bug-tracking system (e.g. grml). I use it here to illustrate how to bypass such system and report bugs directly to the Debian bug-tracking system.
  • The next step is to fill in the actual bug report and sent it (via yahoo mail web interface). I chose the subject as "xsel does not get selections from emacs", and put the following into my (yahoo) email message body:

     Package: xsel
     Version: 0.9.6-1.1
     Severity: normal
    
    Hi,
    
    the xsel cannot get selections from emacs:
    
     $ xprop -root CUT_BUFFER0
     CUT_BUFFER0(STRING) = "text from emacs"
    
     $ xsel | wc
           0       0       0
    
     $ wish
     % selection get -selection PRIMARY -type STRING
     text from emacs
     %
    
    I.e., all others tools can see/get the selections from emacs while xsel
    can't.
    
    I really hope that it can be fixed.
    
    thanks a lot.
    
    -- System Information:
    Debian Release: testing/unstable
      APT prefers testing
      APT policy: (600, 'testing'), (50, 'unstable')
     Architecture: i386 (i686)
     Kernel: Linux 2.6.17-grml
     Locale: LANG=C, LC_CTYPE=C
    
    Versions of packages xsel depends on:
    ii  libc6                        2.3.6.ds1-4 GNU C Library: Shared libraries
    ii  libice6                      1:1.0.1-2   X11 Inter-Client Exchange library
    ii  libsm6                       1:1.0.1-2   X11 Session Management library
    ii  libx11-6                     2:1.0.0-9   X11 client-side library
    ii  libxext6                     1:1.0.1-2   X11 miscellaneous extension librar
    
    -- no debconf information
    

    About 20~30 minutes after I sent it, I received the bug report acknowledgment in my email, with a bug number specific for my bug report.

    That's it. You don't need a working MTA to report bugs.

    To make the story full, you can send the bug report using the automatic bug report tool if you have a working MTA.

    The reportbug program can ease filing bugs by guiding you through the bug reporting process step by step. The querybts tool, available from the same package as reportbug, provides a convenient text-based interface to the bug tracking system.

    Emacs users can also use the debian-bug command provided by the debian-el package. When called with "M-x debian-bug", it will ask for all necessary information in a similar fashion as reportbug.

 

 


Posted by cef (59.167.xx.xx) on Mon 22 Jan 2007 at 08:54
What about:

reportbug -o bugout.txt

Then pasting the content of bugout.txt into the email client of your choice?

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (83.17.xx.xx) on Mon 22 Jan 2007 at 09:12
Reportbug don't actually need working MTA (at least local one).
You can configure it to use smtphost bugs.debian.org

While configuring (reportbug --configure) answer yes to internet access query, then "No" about working MTA and finally leave empty SMTP host.

Sadly, some networks blocks outgoing traffic to remote port 25 and bugs.debian.org do not listen on submission (tcp/587) port.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by tong (69.63.xx.xx) on Sat 27 Jan 2007 at 21:09
[ View Weblogs ]
@cef, "What about... pasting into the email client of your choice", and then what? This article talks about reporting Debian bugs without a working MTA, apparently you do...

@Anonymous (83.17.xx.xx): Sadly, some networks blocks outgoing traffic to remote port 25

That's the very reason that I don't have a working MTA previously (before I've configured my smarthost).

and bugs.debian.org do not listen on submission (tcp/587) port.

no wonder! I tested that before, otherwise, there won't be such article.

Currently more and more ISPs are blocking the 25 port... this article will help those who want to report bugs but don't want to bother configuring smarthost

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (203.15.xx.xx) on Mon 29 Jan 2007 at 00:36
@tong @cef, "What about... pasting into the email client of your choice", and then what? This article talks about reporting Debian bugs without a working MTA, apparently you do...

From the article:
The next step is to fill in the actual bug report and sent it (via yahoo mail web interface).

In reality this means you have an MTA/email client. Admittedly, it's NOT your MTA, and it's web based, but that doesn't stop you pasting the content of the text file created by reportbug into, say, yahoo or gmail's web interface.

The best bit about doing it that way is that apart from the output being a file, the process for creating a bug report is almost exactly the same as if you did have an MTA on your machine.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by tong (63.243.xx.xx) on Tue 30 Jan 2007 at 16:44
[ View Weblogs ]
the process for creating a bug report is almost exactly the same as if you did have an MTA on your machine.

Oh, didn't know that. Thanks for the comment.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (66.249.xx.xx) on Sun 23 Feb 2014 at 06:25
Can you send bug reports via Yahoo Mail, using SMTP? Some people told me it could but they seem to be flat out lying.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

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