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The Emacs Bug Tracker can be found at
* Quick-start guide
This is 95% of all you will ever need to know.
** How do I report a bug?
Use M-x report-emacs-bug, or send mail to
If you want to Cc someone, use an "X-Debbugs-CC" header (or
pseudo-header, see below) instead.
** How do I comment on a bug?
Reply to a mail on the bug-gnu-emacs list in the normal way.
Or send a mail to
If the bug is old and closed, you may have to unarchive it first.
Send a mail to with
unarchive 123
on the first line of the body.
** How do I close a bug?
Send a mail to In the body, explain
why the bug is being closed.
** How do I set bug meta-data?
By mailing commands to Place commands at the
start of the message body, one per line.
severity 123 serious|important|normal|minor|wishlist
tags 123 moreinfo|unreproducible|wontfix|patch
* More detailed information
For a list of all bugs, see
This is a static page, updated once a day. There is also a dynamic
list, generated on request. This accepts various options, eg to see
the most recent bugs:
Or follow the links on the front page .
** How do I report a bug in Emacs now?
The same way as you always did. Send mail to,
or use M-x report-emacs-bug.
The only differences are:
i) Your report will be assigned a number and generate an automatic reply.
ii) Optionally, you can set some database parameters when you first
report a bug (see "Setting bug parameters" below).
iii) If you want to CC: someone, use X-Debbugs-CC: (note this only
applies to _new_ reports, not followups).
Once your report is filed and assigned a number, it is sent out to the
bug mailing list. In some cases, it may be appropriate to just file a
bug, without sending out a copy. To do this, send mail to
** How do I reply to an existing bug report?
Reply to, replacing 123 with the number
of the bug you are interested in. NB this only sends mail to the
bug-list, it does NOT send a CC to the original bug submitter.
So you need to explicitly CC him/her (and anyone else you like).
(This works the same way as all the Emacs mailing lists. We generally
don't assume anyone who posts to a list is subscribed to it, so we
cc everyone on replies.)
(Many people think the submitter SHOULD be automatically subscribed
to subsequent discussion, but this does not seem to be implemented.
See also )
Do NOT send a separate copy to the bug list address, since this may
generate a new report. The only time to send mail to the bug list
address is to create a new report.
Gnus users can add the following to message-dont-reply-to-names;
similarly with Rmail and rmail-dont-reply-to-names:
The "" entry is there because it appears in the
"Resent-To" header. For a long time Rmail erroneously included such
headers in replies. If you correspond with an Rmail user on a bug,
these addresses may end up in the Cc. Mailing to them does nothing
but create duplicates and errors. (It is possible, but unlikely, that
you might want to have a dialog with the owner address, outside of
normal bug reporting.)
** When reporting a new bug, to send a Cc to another address
(e.g., do NOT just use a Cc: header.
Instead, use "X-Debbugs-CC:". This ensures the Cc address will get a
mail with the bug report number in. If you do not do this, each reply
in the subsequent discussion might end up creating a new bug.
This is annoying. (So annoying that a form of message-id tracking has
been implemented to hopefully stop this happening, but it is still
better to use X-Debbugs-CC.)
Like any X-Debbugs- header, this one can also be specified in the
pseudo-header (see below), if your mail client does not let you add
"X-" headers.
If a new report contains X-Debbugs-CC in the input, this is
converted to a real Cc header in the output. (See Bug#1780,5384)
It is also merged into the Resent-CC header (see below).
** How does Debbugs send out mails?
The mails are sent out to the bug list by being resent. The From:
header is unchanged. In new reports only (at present), the To:
address is altered as follows. Any "bug-gnu-emacs",
"emacs-pretest-bug", or "submit@debbugs" address is replaced by
123@debbugs in the mail that gets sent out. (This also applies to any
Cc: header, though you should be using X-Debbugs-CC instead in new
reports). The original header is stored as X-Debbugs-Original-To, if
it was changed. Any X-Debbugs-CC is merged into the Cc.
Mails arriving at the bug list have the following Resent-* headers:
Resent-From: person who submitted the bug
Resent-CC: maintainer email address, plus any X-Debbugs-CC: entries
The "maintainer email address" is "" in most cases.
** To not get acknowledgment mail from the tracker,
add an "X-Debbugs-No-Ack:" header (with any value). If you use Gnus,
you can add an element to gnus-posting-styles to do this automatically, eg:
("X-Debbugs-No-Ack" "yes"))
(adjust the regexp according to the name you use for the bug lists)
** To record a bug in the tracker without sending mail to the bug list.
This can be useful to make a note of something discussed on
emacs-devel that needs fixing. In other words, this can be the
equivalent of adding something to FOR-RELEASE.
[headers end]
Package: emacs
Version: 23.0.60
Severity: minor
Remember to fix FOO, as discussed on emacs-devel at http://... .
** Not interested in tracker control messages (tags being set, etc)?
Discard mails matching:
^X-GNU-PR-Message: (transcript|closed)
** Not receiving messages in response to your control commands?
The messages debbugs sends out in response to control-server commands
always have headers To: your@email, and Cc:
(the latter is an alias for the emacs-bug-tracker mailing list).
These are also the addresses to which a copy of the response is sent.
(In general, there need not be any relation between the To: and Cc:
headers visible in a message and where debbugs actually sends it.)
If you used an X-Debbugs-No-Ack header, however, a copy is _not_ sent
to you, but the To: header is unchanged. If you are subscribed to the
emacs-bug-tracker mailing list and have duplicate suppression turned
on, the presence of your address in the To: header will cause Mailman
to not send you a list copy, because it thinks you have received a
direct copy. If you used X-Debbugs-No-Ack, this is not the case, and
you won't get any copy at all. If this bothers you, don't use both
X-Debbugs-No-Ack and Mailman duplicate suppression for the
emacs-bug-tracker mailing list, just pick one or the other.
** How to avoid multiple copies of mails.
If you reply to reports in the normal way, this should work fine.
Basically, reply only to the numbered bug address (and any individual
people's addresses). Do not send mail direct to bug-gnu-emacs or
emacs-pretest-bug unless you are reporting a new bug.
** To close bug #123 (for example), send mail
with a brief explanation in the body as to why the bug was closed.
There is no need to cc the address without the "-done" part or the
submitter; they get copies anyway so this will just result in more
duplicate mail.
** Details of closing a bug.
(For information only)
Sending a mail to 123-done does the following:
1) Mark the bug as closed in the database.
2) Send a mail to the original submitter telling them that their bug
has been closed. This mail has a header:
X-GNU-PR-Message: they-closed 123
3) Send a mail to you and to the emacs-bug-tracker list confirming
that the bug has been closed. This mail has a header:
X-GNU-PR-Message: closed 123
4) Send a copy of your mail to the bug-gnu-emacs list in exactly the
same way as if you had sent mail to "123" (sans -done). This mail has
X-GNU-PR-Message: cc-closed 123
Mail-Followup-To:, person-who-closed
(This is Emacs-specific. Normally the bug list gets the same mail as in 3).
** Setting bug parameters.
There are two ways to set the parameters of bugs in the database
(tags, severity level, etc). When you report a new bug, you can
provide a "pseudo-header" at the start of the report, eg:
Package: emacs
Version: 23.0.60
Severity: minor
This can also include tags, or any X-Debbugs- setting.
Some things (e.g. submitter) don't seem to work here.
Otherwise, send mail to the control server,
At the start of the message body, supply the desired commands, one per
command bug-number [arguments]
quit|stop|thank|thanks|thankyou|thank you
The control server ignores anything after the last line above. So you
can place control commands at the beginning of a reply to a bug
report, and Bcc: the control server (note the commands have no effect
if you just send them to the bug-report number). Bcc: is better than Cc:
in case people use Reply-to-All in response.
Some useful control commands:
*** To reopen a closed bug:
reopen 123
*** Bugs can be tagged in various ways (eg wontfix, patch, etc).
The available tags are:
patch wontfix moreinfo unreproducible fixed notabug
The list of tags can be prefixed with +, - or =, meaning to add (the
default), remove, or reset the tags. E.g.:
tags 123 + wontfix
** URL shortcuts
123 # given bug number
123;mbox=yes # mbox version of given bug
package # bugs in given package
severity:severity # all bugs of given severity
tag:tag # all bugs with given tag
** Usertags
See <>
"Usertags" are very similar to tags: a set of labels that can be added
to a bug. There are two differences between normal tags and user tags:
1) Anyone can define any valid usertag they like. In contrast, only a
limited, predefined set of normal tags are available (see above).
2) A usertag is associated with a specific user. This is normally
an email address (with an "@" sign and least 4 characters after the "@"),
but on, the definition is less strict - anything with
5 or more alphanumeric characters will work. For personal tags,
using an email address is still recommended. Please only use the
"emacs" user, or other short users, for "official" tags.
You set usertags in the same way as tags, by talking to the control server.
One difference is that you can also specify the associated user.
If you don't explicitly specify a user, then it will use the email
address from which you send the control message.
*** Setting usertags
a) In a control message:
user emacs # or
usertags 1234 any-tag-you-like
This will add a usertag "any-tag-you-like" to bug 1234. The tag will
be associated with the user "emacs". If you omit the first line,
the tag will be associated with your email address.
The syntax of the usertags command is the same as that of tags (eg wrt
the optional [=+-] argument).
b) In an initial submission, in the pseudo-header:
User: emacs
Usertags: a-new-tag
Again, the "User" is optional.
*** Searching by usertags
The search interface is not as advanced as for normal tags. You need
to construct the relevant url yourself rather than just typing in a
search box. The only piece you really need to add is the "users"
portion, the rest has the same syntax as normal.
**** To browse bugs by usertag:
**** To find all bugs usertagged by a given email address:
(Supposedly, the "users" field can be a comma-separated list of more
than one email address, but it does not seem to work for me.)
**** To find bugs tagged with a specific usertag:
This works just like a normal tags search, but with the addition of a
"users" field. Eg:;tag=calendar
*** To merge bugs:
Eg when bad replies create a bunch of new bugs for the same report.
Bugs must all be in the same state (e.g. same package(s) and severity
-- see `reassign' and `severity' below), but need not have the same
tags (tags are merged). E.g.:
merge 123 124 125 ...
Note that merging does not affect titles. In particular, a "retitle"
of merged bugs only affects individual bugs, not all of them.
*** Forcing a merge:
Like `merge', but bugs need not be in the same state. The packages
must still match though (see `reassign' below). The first one listed
is the master. E.g.:
forcemerge 123 124 125 ...
Note: you cannot merge with an archived bug - you must unarchive it first.
*** To unmerge bugs:
To disconnect a bug from all bugs it is merged with:
unmerge 123
This command accepts only one bug number.
*** To clone bugs:
Useful when one report refers to more than one bug.
clone 123 -1 [-2 ...]
retitle -1 second bug
retitle -2 third bug
The negative numbers provide a way to refer to the cloned bugs (which
will be assigned proper numbers).
NB you cannot clone a merged bug. You'd think that trying to do so
would just give you an unmerged copy of the specified bug number, but no:
You must unmerge, clone, then re-merge.
*** To set severity:
severity 123 critical|grave|serious|important|normal|minor|wishlist
See for the meanings.
*** To set the owner of a bug:
owner 123 A Hacker <>
The shorthand `!' means your own address.
*** To remove the owner of a bug:
noowner 123
*** To mark a bug as fixed in a particular version:
fixed 123 23.0.60
*** To remove a "fixed" mark:
notfixed 123 23.0.60
*** To make a bug as present in a particular version:
found 123 23.2
NB if there is no specified "fixed" version, or if there is one and it
is earlier than the found version, this reopens a closed bug.
The leading "23.1;" that M-x report-emacs-bug adds to bug subjects
automatically sets a found version (if none is explicitly specified).
*** To assign or reassign a bug to a package or list of packages:
reassign 1234 emacs
Note that reassigning clears the list of found versions, even if the
new packages includes the original one.
** To remove spam from the tracker, move it to the `spam' pseudo-package:
reassign 123 spam
(Should not be necessary any more, now that the input is moderated.)
** To change the title of a bug:
retitle 123 Some New Title
** To change the submitter address:
submitter 123
Note that it does not seem to work to specify "Submitter:" in the
pseudo-header when first reporting a bug.
** How does archiving work?
You can still send mail to a bug after it is closed. After 28 days with
no activity, the bug is archived, at which point no more changes can
be made. If you try to send mail to the bug after that (or merge with
it), it will be rejected. To make any changes, you must unarchive it first:
unarchive 123
The bug will be re-archived after the next 28 day period of no activity.
** The web-page with the list of bugs is slow to load
It's a function of the number of displayed bugs. You can speed things
up by only looking at the newest 100 bugs:;package=emacs
Or use the static index:
** What are those "mbox folder" links on the bug report pages?
"mbox folder" = messages as they arrived at the tracker
"status mbox" = as above, but with a fake message at the start
summarizing the bug status
"maintainer mbox" = messages as sent out from the tracker to the
maintainers (ie, bug-gnu-emacs). These have some changed headers
(Resent-*, Subject, etc).
** What do the pkgreport.cgi sort options mean?
"normal" = by open/closed status, then severity, then tag, then bug number
"oldview" = as above, but without the tag part
"age" = as normal, but sort in decreasing order of last modification
time, rather than by increasing bug number
"raw" = ?
** Change log issues
*** When you fix a bug, it can be helpful to put the bug number in the
change log entry, for example:
* foo.el (foofunc): Fix the `foo' case. (Bug#123)
Then the relevant bug can be found for easy reference. If it's an
obvious fix (e.g. a typo), there's no need to clutter the log with the
bug number.
Similarly, when you close a bug, it can be helpful to include the
relevant change log entry in the message to the bug tracker, so people
can see exactly what the fix was.
*** bug-reference-mode
Activate `bug-reference-mode' in ChangeLogs to get clickable links to
the bug web-pages.
*** Debian stuff
** Gnus-specific voodoo
*** Put point on a bug-number and try: M-x gnus-read-ephemeral-emacs-bug-group
*** If the above is not available:
(add-hook 'gnus-article-mode-hook
(lambda ()
(setq bug-reference-url-format "")
(bug-reference-mode 1)))
and you can click on the bug number in the subject header.
* Technical Notes
The following are technical notes on how it works. These are just for
reference, you don't need to read these as a user of the system.
Getting mail from the Emacs bug list into the tracker requires the
assistance of sysadmin at The test tracker set-up was, I
think, [ #359140]:
** The setup was handled in [ #510605].
There are two pieces (replace AT with @ in the following):
i) fencepost has an /etc/aliases entry:
emacs-pretest-bug: submit AT
ii) An exim router:
driver = redirect
senders = !Debian-debbugs AT
local_parts = bug-gnu-emacs
domains =
data = submit AT
This says, for mail arriving at bug-gnu-emacs, only allow it through
to the list if it was sent from Otherwise, send
it to the submit address at the bug-tracker.
FIXME There's probably an issue with the mail-news gateway here that
still needs to be addressed (bug#936).
** fencepost's /etc/exim4/local_domains configuration needs a line
! adding [ #503532]. Otherwise people on
fencepost can't report bugs, since * addresses are assumed to
be handled locally on fencepost, unless otherwise specified.
** All mail arriving at is first run through SpamAssassin.
Obvious spam is rejected, the rest is sent on to the moderated list
debbugs-submit. Approved mail is passed on to the tracker.
(Note this means that messages may appear out of sequence in the
tracker, since mail from whitelisted senders goes straight through.)
NOTE: An alternative to this would be to use listhelper AT
as a moderator address. Eg the emacs-bug-tracker list uses this.
It does basic spam processing on the moderator requests and
automatically rejects the obviously bogus ones. Someone still has to
accept the good ones though. The advantage of this would not be having
to run and tune our own spam filter. See
An "X-Debbugs-Envelope-To" header is used to keep track of where the
mail was actually bound for:
** Mailing list recipient/sender filters.
The following mailman filters are useful to stop messages being
needlessly held for moderation:
*** debbugs-submit
bug-emacs and bug-gnumacs are lesser-used aliases from fencepost's
/etc/aliases file.
*** emacs-bug-tracker
sender: bug-gnu-emacs AT
recipient: emacs-bug-tracker AT debbugs\.gnu\.org
The latter is because that is the address that debbugs actually sends to.
An /etc/aliases entry redirects it to the real emacs-bug-tracker address.
** Recovering from moderation mistakes
All discarded messages are stored in /var/lib/mailman/spam.
If a non-spam message accidentally gets discarded, just do:
/usr/lib/debbugs/receive < /var/lib/mailman/spam/not-really-spam.msg
chown Debian-debbugs:Debian-debbugs /var/lib/debbugs/spool/incoming/*
... check it works ...
mv /var/lib/mailman/spam/not-really-spam.msg /var/lib/mailman/not-spam/
Also check that the sender was not added to the auto-discard/reject list
in the debbugs-submit Mailman interface.
If you don't have the actual mail, just the mailman moderation mail
version of it, you need to extract the original mail, and add the
following headers:
1) The leading envelope From line.
2) Message-ID (get it from /var/log/mailman/vette).
3) X-Debbugs-Envelope-To: xxx
For a new report, xxx = submit; for a control message, xxx = control;
for a reply to bug#123, xxx = 123
Then pipe it to receive as above.
** Administrivia
The debbugs-submit list should have the administrivia option off,
else it can by mistake filter out requests to subscribe to bugs.
But, this feature doesn't work anyway (see bug#5439).
** How to test changes
Add an entry to /etc/debbugs/Maintainers like:
Then if you do all your testing with 'Package: mytest', the resulting
mails should only go to your email address.
** Adding new tags
Add them to @gTags in /etc/debbugs/config.
I think you also have to add them to 'tags' and 'tags_single_letter'
in /usr/share/perl5/Debbugs/
And update /var/www/Developer.html with a description of what the tag means.
And the "valid tags" list in /var/www/index.html.
** Backups
The FSF sysadmins handle multi-generational backups of the filesystem
on But if you really want to have your own backup of
the bug database, you can use rsync (this requires login access to
rsync -azvv -e ssh DEST
Note that this occupies well over 1G of disk space.
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