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B.4.2 Submitting Bug Reports

Before reporting a bug, make sure you have really found a genuine bug.

Here are the steps for submitting a bug report. Following them will make both your life and the lives of the maintainers much easier.

  1. Make sure that what you want to report is appropriate. See Defining What Is and What Is Not A Bug. If it’s not, you are wasting your time and ours.
  2. Verify that you have the latest version of gawk. Many bugs (usually subtle ones) are fixed at each release, and if yours is out-of-date, the problem may already have been solved.
  3. Please see if setting the environment variable LC_ALL to LC_ALL=C causes things to behave as you expect. If so, it’s a locale issue, and may or may not really be a bug.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. Use the gawkbug program to submit the bug report. This program sets up a bug report template and opens it in your editor. You then need to edit it appropriately to include:
    • The program and data file.
    • 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.
    • A fix if you have one.
  7. Do not send screenshots. Instead, use copy/paste to send text, or send files.
  8. Please be sure to send all mail in plain text, not (or not exclusively) in HTML.
  9. All email must be in English. This is the only language understood in common by all the maintainers.

The gawkbug program sends email to “bug dash gawk at gnu dot org”.

The gawk maintainers subscribe to this address, and thus they will receive your bug report. Do not send mail to the maintainers directly; the bug reporting address is preferred because the email list is archived at the GNU Project.

If you are using OpenVMS or the MinGW build of gawk, the gawkbug script won’t be available. Please send the previously listed information directly in an email to the bug list. Please send any test program or data files as attachments, instead of inline in the email, to avoid their being mangled by various mail systems.

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 dash 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.

Please note: We ask that you follow the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines in your correspondence on the list (as well as off of it).


Next: Please Don’t Post Bug Reports to USENET, Previous: Defining What Is and What Is Not A Bug, Up: Reporting Problems and Bugs   [Contents][Index]