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B.4 Reporting Problems and Bugs

There is nothing more dangerous than a bored archaeologist.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

If you have problems with gawk or think that you have found a bug, report it to the developers; we cannot promise to do anything, but we might well want to fix it.

Before reporting a bug, make sure you have really found a genuine bug. Carefully reread the documentation and see if it says you can do what you’re trying to do. If it’s not clear whether you should be able to do something or not, report that too; it’s a bug in the documentation!

Before reporting a bug or trying to fix it yourself, try to isolate it to the smallest possible awk program and input data file that reproduce the problem. Then send us the program and data file, some idea of what kind of Unix system you’re using, the compiler you used to compile gawk, and the exact results gawk gave you. Also say what you expected to occur; this helps us decide whether the problem is really in the documentation.

Make sure to include the version number of gawk you are using. You can get this information with the command ‘gawk --version’.

Once you have a precise problem description, send email to “bug-gawk at gnu dot org”.

The gawk maintainers subscribe to this address, and thus they will receive your bug report. Although you can send mail to the maintainers directly, the bug reporting address is preferred because the email list is archived at the GNU Project. All email must be in English. This is the only language understood in common by all the maintainers.

CAUTION: Do not try to report bugs in gawk by posting to the Usenet/Internet newsgroup comp.lang.awk. The gawk developers do occasionally read this newsgroup, but there is no guarantee that we will see your posting. The steps described here are the only officially recognized way for reporting bugs. Really.

NOTE: Many distributions of GNU/Linux and the various BSD-based operating systems have their own bug reporting systems. If you report a bug using your distribution’s bug reporting system, you should also send a copy to “bug-gawk at gnu dot org”.

This is for two reasons. First, although some distributions forward bug reports “upstream” to the GNU mailing list, many don’t, so there is a good chance that the gawk maintainers won’t even see the bug report! Second, mail to the GNU list is archived, and having everything at the GNU Project keeps things self-contained and not dependent on other organizations.

Non-bug suggestions are always welcome as well. If you have questions about things that are unclear in the documentation or are just obscure features, ask on the bug list; we will try to help you out if we can.

If you find bugs in one of the non-Unix ports of gawk, send an email to the bug list, with a copy to the person who maintains that port. The maintainers are named in the following list, as well as in the README file in the gawk distribution. Information in the README file should be considered authoritative if it conflicts with this Web page.

The people maintaining the various gawk ports are:

Unix and POSIX systemsArnold Robbins, “arnold at skeeve dot com”
MS-DOS with DJGPPScott Deifik, “scottd dot mail at sbcglobal dot net”
MS-Windows with MinGWEli Zaretskii, “eliz at gnu dot org”
OS/2Andreas Buening, “andreas dot buening at nexgo dot de”
VMSJohn Malmberg, “wb8tyw at”
z/OS (OS/390)Dave Pitts, “dpitts at cozx dot com”

If your bug is also reproducible under Unix, send a copy of your report to the “bug-gawk at gnu dot org” email list as well.

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