perlbug - how to submit bug reports on Perl
perlbug [ -v ] [ -a address ] [ -s subject ]
[ -b body | -f inputfile ] [ -F outputfile ]
[ -r returnaddress ]
[ -e editor ] [ -c adminaddress | -C ]
[ -S ] [ -t ] [ -d ] [ -h ]
perlbug [ -v ] [ -r returnaddress ]
[ -ok | -okay | -nok | -nokay ]
A program to help generate bug reports about perl or
the modules that come with it, and mail them.
If you have found a bug with a non-standard port (one that was not part of
the standard distribution), a binary distribution, or a non-standard module (such as Tk,
CGI, etc), then please see the documentation that came
with that distribution to determine the correct place to report bugs.
perlbug is designed to be used interactively. Normally no arguments will be needed.
Simply run it, and follow the prompts.
If you are unable to run perlbug (most likely because you don't have a working setup to send mail that
perlbug recognizes), you may have to compose your own report, and email it
to email@example.com. You might find the -d option useful to get summary information in that case.
In any case, when reporting a bug, please make sure you have run through
- What version of perl you are running?
perl -v at the command line to find out.
- Are you running the latest released version of perl?
Look at http://www.perl.com/ to find
out. If it is not the latest released version, get that one and see whether
your bug has been fixed. Note that bug reports about old versions of perl,
especially those prior to the 5.0 release, are likely to fall upon deaf
ears. You are on your own if you continue to use perl1 .. perl4.
- Are you sure what you have is a bug?
A significant number of the bug reports we get turn
out to be documented features in perl. Make sure the behavior you are
witnessing doesn't fall under that category, by glancing through the
documentation that comes with perl (we'll admit this is no mean task, given
the sheer volume of it all, but at least have a look at the sections that seem relevant).
Be aware of the familiar traps that perl programmers of various hues fall
into. See the perltrap manpage.
Try to study the problem under the perl debugger, if necessary. See the perldebug manpage.
- Do you have a proper test case?
The easier it is to reproduce your bug, the more likely it will be fixed, because if no one can duplicate the problem, no one can fix it.
A good test case has most of these attributes: fewest possible number of lines; few dependencies on external commands, modules, or libraries; runs on most platforms unimpeded; and is self-documenting.
A good test case is almost always a good candidate to
be on the perl test suite. If you have the time, consider making your test
case so that it will readily fit into the standard test suite.
- Can you describe the bug in plain English?
The easier it is to understand a reproducible bug, the more likely it will
be fixed. Anything you can provide by way of insight into the problem helps
a great deal. In other words, try to analyse the problem to the extent you
feel qualified and report your discoveries.
- Can you fix the bug yourself?
A bug report which includes a patch to fix it will almost definitely be fixed. Use the
diff program to generate your patches (
diff is being maintained by the
GNU folks as part of the diffutils
package, so you should be able to get it from any of the
GNU software repositories). If you do submit a patch,
the cool-dude counter at firstname.lastname@example.org will register you as a
savior of the world. Your patch may be returned with requests for changes,
or requests for more detailed explanations about your fix.
Here are some clues for creating quality patches: Use the -c or
-u switches to the diff program (to create a so-called context or unified
diff). Make sure the patch is not reversed (the first argument to diff is
typically the original file, the second argument your changed file). Make
sure you test your patch by applying it with the
patch program before you send it on its way. Try to follow the same style as the
code you are trying to patch. Make sure your patch really does work (
make test, if the thing you're patching supports it).
- Can you use perlbug to submit the report?
perlbug will, amongst other things, ensure your report includes crucial information
about your version of perl. If
perlbug is unable to mail your report after you have typed it in, you may have to
compose the message yourself, add the output produced by
perlbug -d and email it to email@example.com. If, for some reason, you cannot run
perlbug at all on your system, be sure to include the entire output produced by
perl -V (note the uppercase
Having done your bit, please be prepared to wait, to be told the bug is in
your code, or even to get no reply at all. The perl maintainers are busy
folks, so if your problem is a small one or if it is difficult to
understand or already known, they may not respond with a personal reply. If
it is important to you that your bug be fixed, do monitor the
Changes file in any development releases since the time you submitted the bug, and
encourage the maintainers with kind words (but never any flames!). Feel
free to resend your bug report if the next released version of perl comes
out and your bug is still present.
Address to send the report to. Defaults to `firstname.lastname@example.org'.
Body of the report. If not included on the command line, or in a file with -f, you will get a chance to edit the message.
Don't send copy to administrator.
Address to send copy of report to. Defaults to the address of the local
perl administrator (recorded when perl was built).
Data mode (the default if you redirect or pipe output). This prints out
your configuration data, without mailing anything. You can use this with -v to get more complete data.
Editor to use.
File containing the body of the report. Use this to quickly send a prepared
File to output the results to instead of sending as an email. Useful
particularly when running perlbug on a machine with no direct internet
Prints a brief summary of the options.
Report successful build on this system to perl porters. Forces -S
and -C. Forces and supplies values for -s and -b. Only prompts for a return address if it cannot guess it (for use with
make). Honors return address specified with -r. You can use this with -v to get more complete data. Only makes a report if this system is less than
60 days old.
As -ok except it will report on older systems.
Report unsuccessful build on this system. Forces -C. Forces and supplies a value for -s, then requires you to edit the report and say what went wrong.
Alternatively, a prepared report may be supplied using -f. Only prompts for a return address if it cannot guess it (for use with make). Honors return address specified with -r. You can use this with -v to get more complete data. Only makes a report if this system is less than
60 days old.
As -nok except it will report on older systems.
Your return address. The program will ask you to confirm its default if you
don't use this option.
Send without asking for confirmation.
Subject to include with the message. You will be prompted if you don't
supply one on the command line.
Test mode. The target address defaults to `email@example.com'.
Include verbose configuration data in the report.
Kenneth Albanowski (<firstname.lastname@example.org>),
subsequently doctored by Gurusamy Sarathy (<email@example.com>), Tom Christiansen (<firstname.lastname@example.org>), Nathan Torkington (<email@example.com>), Charles
F. Randall (<firstname.lastname@example.org>), Mike Guy (<email@example.com>), Dominic Dunlop (<firstname.lastname@example.org>) and Hugo van der Sanden (<email@example.com>)
None known (guess what must have been used to report them?)
We are painfully aware that these documents may contain incorrect links and
misformatted HTML. Such bugs lie in the automatic translation process
that automatically created the hundreds and hundreds of separate documents that you find here. Please do
not report link or formatting bugs, because we cannot fix
per-document problems. The only bug reports that will help us are those
that supply working patches to the installhtml or pod2html
programs, or to the Pod::HTML module itself, for which I and the entire
Perl community will shower you with thanks and praises.
If rather than formatting bugs, you encounter substantive content errors in these documents, such as mistakes in
the explanations or code, please use the perlbug utility included
with the Perl distribution.
- --Tom Christiansen, Perl Documentation Compiler and Editor
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