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Freshmeat: How to Report Bugs Effectively

Feb 28, 2000, 16:44 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Simon Tatham)

"Anybody who has written software for public use will probably have received at least one bad bug report. Reports that say nothing ("It doesn't work!"); reports that make no sense; reports that don't give enough information; reports that give wrong information. Reports of problems that turn out to be user error; reports of problems that turn out to be the fault of somebody else's program; reports of problems that turn out to be network failures."

"There's a reason why technical support is seen as a horrible job to be in, and that reason is bad bug reports. However, not all bug reports are unpleasant: I maintain free software, when I'm not earning my living, and sometimes I receive wonderfully clear, helpful, informative bug reports."

"In this essay I'll try to state clearly what makes a good bug report. Ideally, I would like everybody in the world to read this essay before reporting any bugs to anybody. Certainly I would like everybody who reports bugs to me to have read it."

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