Revision 30 as of 2006-05-04 00:30:17

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The proper source package

Assigning bugs to packages helps direct bug reports to the developer(s) most likely to be able to help. By ensuring that this information is accurate, you can increase the chances of the bug being fixed promptly. Often, it is unclear which package contains the bug, and in these cases it is appropriate to file the bug in Ubuntu. If a bug is assigned to a package which is clearly not correct, and you don't know the correct package, change it to Ubuntu. Some hints on finding the right package can be found in ["Bugs/FindRightPackage"].

The correct package for bugs in the Linux kernel is linux, regardless of which particular package is in use (there are many packages which contain Linux kernels).

Confirming problems

If a bug is marked as Unconfirmed, it is helpful for you to try to reproduce the problem, and record the results in Malone. If you are able to confirm the problem, you may change the status to Confirmed. If you are unable to confirm the problem, that is also useful information which should be recorded in a comment.

Forwarding bugs upstream

You can forward bugs to the authors of the software (upstream), if

  • you made sure that the bug doesn't occur because of Ubuntu related changes,
  • the change is too hard to be fixed by yourself or anyone else in the team.

If you do this, be sure to

  • include all the necessary information, such as
    • how to reproduce the bug
    • which version is used (which version of dependent libraries, if the bug indicates problems there)
    • who reported it
    • where the whole conversation can be found
  • create a bug watch in Malone for this

How to Deal with Feature Requests

If you feel that the bug reported is a feature request disguised as a bug report, please introduce the reporter gently to the Specification Process we have. Be sure to mention the following specification resources; FeatureSpecifications, SpecSpec, ["SpecTemplate"] and

How to deal with Support Requests

If you feel that the bug reported is a support request disguised as a bug report, please introduce the reporter gently to the Support Tracker we have. Be sure to mention

How to deal with suggestions for changing defaults

If you feel that the bug reported is a suggestions for changing defaults disguised as a bug report, please kindly reroute the discussion to an appropriate mailing list or a discussion forum. If this has already been discussed and rejected, explain the reasons to the user and direct them to the corresponding discussion for further suggestions/comments.

Finding Duplicates

Finding duplicates of bugs is a very valuable contribution in the Bug community. Users sometimes don't know how to check if the same bug has already been filed, and sometimes they don't care. Weeding out simple ME TOO messages and aggregating information in one place is crucial to the process of fixing a bug.

There are quite a few measures you can take to assist with this aspect, one way is to search for bugs filed for the same component, also try to rephrase your search, and concentrate on actions and words that describe the items involved to reproduce this crash.


If you can't find it in the list of open bugs, you could try to find it in the list of closed ones. Don't feel discouraged, if you don't find duplicates fast in the beginning, after some time you will get to know the usual suspects, and learn how to more easily identify them.

Note: If you encounter a bug that has a terrible / unintelligible title, rephrase it, so people find it more easily.

Reminder of the Code of Conduct

Note that the Code of Conduct applies to conversations in bug reports too. So if you observe people being disrespectful, please direct them to

Managing Status

As a reporter you usually don't have to take care of statuses. As a bug triager or developer it's an important tool to categorize bugs and have a good overview over the state of packages and software.

Here's a brief list and explanation of the various statuses:

  • Unconfirmed:

    • Bugs start with this status,
    • Bugs marked Unconfirmed sometimes lack information, are not ready and are not confirmed yet, most of them are Untriaged at all

  • Needs Info:

    • If you have to ask the reporter questions, please set this bug Needs Info

    • a regular task for Needs Info bugs is to ask back, if there are no answers and after a reasonable stage, close them saying "If you have more information on this bug, please reopen."

  • Rejected:

    • Bugs marked as Rejected are closed

    • Be sure to triple-check a bug before you reject it.
  • Confirmed:

    • Confirmed bugs require confirmation from someone other than the original reporter

    • This helps ensure that the bug is applicable to Ubuntu in general, and not a problem with the reporter's system, therefore...
    • Please don't confirm your own bugs!
  • In Progress:

    • If you start working on a bug, set it to In Progress so people know what's going on

  • Fix Committed:

    • Means for upstream projects, that the fix is in CVS/SVN/bzr or commited to some place
    • Means for package maintainers, that the changes are pending and to be uploaded soon (it's what PENDINGUPLOAD was in Bugzilla)
  • Fix Released:

    • Means for upstream projects, that a release tarball was announced and is publically available
    • Means for package maintainers, that a fix was uploaded
      • Alease don't be hesitant to add a changelog as a comment, so people know what to look out for

Managing Severity

Ubuntu uses the following guidelines for assigning severity:

  • Wishlist: a request to add a new feature to one of the programs in Ubuntu

    • These aren't really bugs, but ideas for new features which do not yet exist
    • If it is non-trivial to implement, it should rather be written as a feature specification, see FeatureSpecifications

  • Minor: Bugs which affect functionality, but to a lesser extent than most bugs, for example:

    • Can be easily worked around
    • Only affects unusual configurations
  • Normal: A functionality bug of the standard variety. Most bugs are of "Normal" severity, for example:

    • Has moderate impact on a core application
    • Has a severe impact on a non-core application
    • A problem with a non-essential hardware component (network card, camera, webcam, music player, sound card, power management feature, etc.)
  • Major: A bug which fulfills one of the following criteria:

    • Has a severe impact on a small portion of Ubuntu users (estimated)
    • Makes a default Ubuntu installation generally unusable for some users
      • For example, if the system fails to boot, or X fails to start, on a certain make/model of computer
      • A problem with an essential hardware component (disk controller, video card, keyboard, mouse)
    • Has a moderate impact on a large portion of Ubuntu users (estimated)
  • Critical: A bug which has a severe impact on a large portion of Ubuntu users


Don't change this field unless specifically instructed by a developer. In particular, do NOT use this field to record the release of Ubuntu in which the bug was observed: that is not its purpose! It is used by the release team when there is a reason to address the bug in a specific milestone release.

Old Bugs

In many cases bugs reported in earlier versions are still open in our BTS. They may have been fixed upstream without it being noted in Malone or the design may have changed so that the issue is no longer relevant. If the bug does not represent a security issue or is otherwise critical, it is very unlikely that the fix will be back-ported to older versions of Ubuntu. When it is fixed in the development branch it is therefore most appropriate to mark it 'Fix Released'. This helps clear the BTS for old cruft.

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