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31.2 How to Report Bugs

A number of companies and individuals offer support for gnu products. If you obtained gdb from a support organization, we recommend you contact that organization first.

You can find contact information for many support companies and individuals in the file etc/SERVICE in the gnu Emacs distribution.

In any event, we also recommend that you submit bug reports for gdb. The preferred method is to submit them directly using gdb's Bugs web page. Alternatively, the e-mail gateway can be used.

Do not send bug reports to ‘info-gdb’, or to ‘help-gdb’, or to any newsgroups. Most users of gdb do not want to receive bug reports. Those that do have arranged to receive ‘bug-gdb’.

The mailing list ‘bug-gdb’ has a newsgroup ‘gnu.gdb.bug’ which serves as a repeater. The mailing list and the newsgroup carry exactly the same messages. Often people think of posting bug reports to the newsgroup instead of mailing them. This appears to work, but it has one problem which can be crucial: a newsgroup posting often lacks a mail path back to the sender. Thus, if we need to ask for more information, we may be unable to reach you. For this reason, it is better to send bug reports to the mailing list.

The fundamental principle of reporting bugs usefully is this: report all the facts. If you are not sure whether to state a fact or leave it out, state it!

Often people omit facts because they think they know what causes the problem and assume that some details do not matter. Thus, you might assume that the name of the variable you use in an example does not matter. Well, probably it does not, but one cannot be sure. Perhaps the bug is a stray memory reference which happens to fetch from the location where that name is stored in memory; perhaps, if the name were different, the contents of that location would fool the debugger into doing the right thing despite the bug. Play it safe and give a specific, complete example. That is the easiest thing for you to do, and the most helpful.

Keep in mind that the purpose of a bug report is to enable us to fix the bug. It may be that the bug has been reported previously, but neither you nor we can know that unless your bug report is complete and self-contained.

Sometimes people give a few sketchy facts and ask, “Does this ring a bell?” Those bug reports are useless, and we urge everyone to refuse to respond to them except to chide the sender to report bugs properly.

To enable us to fix the bug, you should include all these things:

Here are some things that are not necessary: