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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Debian Bug Tracking System <email@example.com> Subject: none X-Debbugs-Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
- 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.