reportbug(1) General Commands Manual reportbug(1)
reportbug - reports a bug to a debbugs server
reportbug [options] <package | pseudo-package | absolute-pathname>
reportbug is primarily designed to report bugs in the Debian distribu-
tion; by default, it creates an email to the Debian bug tracking system
at email@example.com with information about the bug you've found,
and makes a carbon copy of the report for you as well.
Using the --bts option, you can also report bugs to other servers that
use the Debian bug tracking system, debbugs.
You may specify either a package name or a filename; if you use a file-
name, it must either be an absolute filename (so beginning with a /) or
if you want reportbug to search the system for a filename, see the
--filename and --path options below. If installed, also dlocate is used
to identify the filename location and thus the package containing it.
You can also specify a pseudo-package; these are used in the Debian bug
tracking system to track issues that are not related to one specific
package. Run reportbug without any arguments, then enter other at the
package prompt, to see a list of the most commonly-used pseudo-pack-
The program follows the usual GNU command line syntax, with long op-
tions starting with two dashes (`--'). A summary of options are in-
Show summary of options.
Show the version of reportbug and exit.
-A FILENAME, --attach=FILENAME
Attach a file to the bug report; both text and binary files are
acceptable; this option can be specified multiple times to at-
tach several files. This routine will create a MIME attachment
with the file included; in some cases (usually text files), it
is probably better to use -i/--include option. (Please note
that Debian's bug tracking system has limited support for MIME
This option supports also globbing (i.e. names with wildcards,
like file.*) but remember to include them between single quotes
(the previous example becomes: 'file.*') else the shell would
expand it before calling reportbug leading to an error.
Be aware that when using an external MUA to send the message
(such as mutt), the attachment feature is not available and no
file will be attached at all: the MUA feature to attach files
must be used instead (so from within the MUA).
Don't check the Debian bug tracking system to see if this prob-
lem has already been reported; useful for offline use or if
you're really sure it's a bug.
Check the Debian bug tracking system to see if this problem has
already been reported (default).
-B SYSTEM, --bts=SYSTEM
Instead of the Debian bug server (or the bug server specified in
/etc/reportbug.conf, use the server specified by SYSTEM.
Use the specified BODY as the body of the message. The body
text will be wrapped at 70 columns, and the normal reportbug
headers and footers will be added as appropriate. The editor
prompt and any "special" prompting will be bypassed.
The contents of the (assumed to be) text file BODYFILE will be
used as the message body. This file is assumed to be properly
formatted (i.e. reasonable line lengths, etc.). The usual head-
ers and footers will be added, and the editor step and "special"
prompts will be skipped. (BODYFILE may also be a named pipe;
using a device special file may lead to unusual results.)
Omit configuration files from the bug report without asking. By
default, you are asked if you want to include them; in some
cases, doing so may cause sensitive information to be sent via
-C CLASS, --class=CLASS
Specify report class for GNATS BTSes.
Rerun the reportbug first time configuration routine, and write
a new $HOME/.reportbugrc file. This will erase any pre-existing
settings in the file; however, a backup will be written as
Check for newer releases of the package at packages.debian.org
(default). In advanced and expert mode, check incoming.de-
bian.org and http://ftp-master.debian.org/new.html too.
Do not check for newer releases of the package at packages.de-
Include debconf settings in your report.
Do not include debconf settings from your report.
Don't send a real bug report to Debian; send it to yourself in-
stead. This is primarily used for testing by the maintainer.
--test Operate in test mode (maintainer use only).
Save the draft (for example, when exiting and saving the report
without reporting it) into DRAFTPATH directory.
-e EDITOR, --editor=EDITOR
Specify the editor to use, overriding any EDITOR or VISUAL envi-
ronment variable setting.
Set the email address your report should appear to be sent from
(i.e. the address that appears in the From header). This should
be the actual Internet email address on its own (i.e. without a
real name or comment part, like firstname.lastname@example.org). This setting
will override the EMAIL and DEBEMAIL environment variables, but
Specify the Envelope From mail header (also known as Return-
path); by default it's the From address but it can be selected a
different one in case the MTA doesn't canonicalize local users
to public addresses.
Specify a command to open the bug reports mbox file. You can use
%s to substitute the mbox file to be used, and %% to insert a
literal percent sign. If no %s is specified, the mbox file name
is supplied at the end of the argument list.
Display a prompt before exiting; this is useful if reportbug is
run in a transient terminal (i.e. from its Debian menu entry).
-f FILENAME, --filename=FILENAME
Report a bug in the package containing FILENAME so you don't
have to figure out what package the file belongs to. The path
will be searched for an exact path for FILENAME before attempt-
ing to broaden the search to all files. If dlocate is installed,
FILENAME is actually a regular expression.
This options is a shortcut for buildd admins to report bugs from
buildd log; the option expects a value in the format of
$source_$version where $source is the source package the bug
will be reported against and $version is its version.
--path If the -f/--filename option is also specified, only search the
path for the specified FILENAME. Specifying an absolute path
with the -f/--filename option (i.e. one beginning with a /)
overrides this behavior.
-g, --gnupg, --gpg
Attach a digital signature to the bug report using GnuPG (the
GNU Privacy Guard). (This argument will be ignored if you are
using an MUA to edit and send your report.)
Use the Gnus mail and news reader to send your report, rather
than using the editor.
-H HEADER, --header=HEADER
Add a custom RFC2822 header to your email; for example, to send
a carbon copy of the report to email@example.com
you could use -H 'X-Debbugs-CC: firstname.lastname@example.org'
-i FILE, --include=FILE
Include the specified FILE as part of the body of the message to
be edited. Can be used multiple times to add multiple files;
text-only please! From a suggestion by Michael Alan Dorman in
the bug mailing list. (See also the -A/--attach option.)
Do not check whether the package is installed before filing a
report. This is generally only useful when filing a report on a
package you know is not installed on your system.
Check if the specified package is installed when filing reports.
(This is the default behavior of reportbug.)
-j JUSTIFICATION, --justification=JUSTIFICATION
Bugs in Debian that have serious, grave, or critical severities
must meet certain criteria to be classified as such. This op-
tion allows you to specify the justification for a release-crit-
ical bug, instead of being prompted for it.
Send appreciative email to the recorded maintainer address,
rather than filing a bug report. (You can also send kudos to
email@example.com, for packages in the Debian ar-
chive; however, this option uses the Maintainer address from the
control file, so it works with other package sources too.)
-K KEYID, --keyid=KEYID
Private key to use for PGP/GnuPG signatures. If not specified,
the first key in the secret keyring that matches your email ad-
dress will be used.
Display the bug reports list sorted and with the latest reports
at the top.
Show reportbug's copyright and license information on standard
Send a carbon copy of the report to the specified list after a
report number is assigned; this is the equivalent to the option
-H 'X-Debbugs-CC: ADDRESS'. This option will only work as in-
tended with debbugs systems.
Send a carbon copy of the report to your automatically detected
email address after a report number is assigned. This sets an
X-Debbugs-CC header specifying that address. This option will
only work as intended with debbugs systems. See the documenta-
tion for the --email option and the ENVIRONMENT section for in-
formation on how reportbug detects your email address.
Only send the bug to the package maintainer; the bug tracking
system will not send a copy to the bug report distribution
Specify the maximum size any attachment file can have (this also
include the file for --body-file option). If an attachment file
is too big, there could be problems in delivering the email (and
also to compose it), so we set a limit to attachment size. By
default this is 10 megabytes.
Add a BTS mirror.
Set the operating mode for reportbug. reportbug currently has
four operating modes: novice (the default), standard, advanced,
novice mode is designed to minimize prompting about things that
"ordinary users" would be unlikely to know or care about, shift-
ing the triage burden onto the maintainer. Checking for new
versions is only done for the stable distribution in this mode.
It is currently the default mode.
standard mode includes a relatively large number of prompts and
tries to encourage users to not file frivolous or duplicate bug
advanced mode is like standard mode, but may include shortcuts
suitable for more advanced users of Debian, without being as
close to the metal (and potential flamage) as expert mode.
(Currently, the only differences from standard mode are that it
assumes familiarity with the "incoming" queue; it allows the re-
porting of bugs on "dependency" packages; and it does not prompt
where to insert the report text in the editor.)
expert mode is designed to minimize prompts that are designed to
discourage frivolous or unnecessary bug reports, "severity in-
flation," and the like. In expert mode, reportbug assumes the
user is thoroughly familiar with Debian policies. In practice,
this means that reporters are no longer required to justify set-
ting a high severity on a bug report, and certain automated
cleanups of the message are bypassed. Individuals who do not
regularly contribute to the Debian project are highly discour-
aged from using expert mode, as it can lead to flamage from
maintainers when used improperly.
Instead of spawning an editor to revise the bug report, use the
mutt mail reader to edit and send it.
Specify an alternate MTA, instead of /usr/sbin/sendmail (the de-
fault). Any smtphost setting will override this one.
Instead of spawning an editor to revise the bug report, use the
specified MUA (mail user agent) to edit and send it. --mutt and
--nmh options are processed.
-n, --mh, --nmh
Instead of spawning an editor to revise the bug report, use the
comp command (part of the nmh and mh mail systems) to edit and
-N BUGNUMBER, --bugnumber BUGNUMBER
Run reportbug against the specified bug report, useful when fol-
lowing-up a bug and its number is already known.
Do not execute the bug script (if present); this option can be
useful together with --template to suppress every interactive
actions, since some bug scripts can ask questions.
Don't display the menu to enter additional addresses (CC).
Don't display the menu to enter additional tags.
-o FILE, --output=FILE
Instead of sending an email, redirect it to the specified file-
The output file is a full dump of the email message, so it con-
tains both headers and mail body. If you want to use it as a
template to create a new bug report, then you have to remove all
the headers (mind the Subject one, though) and start the report
at the Package pseudo-header.
Disable all external queries. Currently has the same effect as
Instead of sending an email, print the bug report to standard
output, so you can redirect it to a file or pipe it to another
This option only outputs a template for a bug report (but, dif-
ferently from --template it's more interactive); you will need
to fill in the long description.
Show the contents of the message before it is sent, including
all headers. Automatically disabled if in template mode.
Don't show the full contents of the message before it is sent
--pgp Attach a digital signature to the bug report using PGP (Pretty
Good Privacy). Please note, however, that the Debian project is
phasing out the use of PGP in favor of GnuPG. (This argument
will be ignored if using an MUA to edit and send your report.)
Specify the WWW proxy server to use to handle the query of the
bug tracking system. You should only need this parameter if you
are behind a firewall. The PROXY argument should be formatted
as a valid HTTP URL, including (if necessary) a port number; for
-P PSEUDO-HEADER, --pseudo-header=PSEUDO-HEADER
Add a custom pseudo-header to your report; for example, to add
the mytag usertag for the user firstname.lastname@example.org to the bug,
you could use -P 'User: email@example.com' -P 'Usertags: my-
Suppress diagnostic messages to standard error.
Do not submit a bug report; just query the BTS. Option ignored
if you specify --no-bts-query.
Query on all binary packages built by the same source, not just
the binary package specified.
Only query on the binary package specified on the command line.
Set the real name (human-readable name) to use for your report.
Register the bug in the bug tracking system, but don't send a
report to the package maintainer or anyone else. Don't do this
unless you're the maintainer of the package in question, or you
really know what you are doing.
Set the Reply-To address header in your report.
-s SUBJECT, --subject=SUBJECT
Set the subject of the bug report (i.e. a brief explanation of
the problem, less than 60 characters). If you do not specify
this switch, you will be prompted for a subject.
If the 'security' tag is set, this option will explicitly spec-
ify to send the report only to the Debian Security Team, as this
is an undisclosed vulnerability.
If the 'security' tag is set, this option will explicitly spec-
ify to not send the report only to the Debian Security Team, as
this is not an undisclosed vulnerability.
-S SEVERITY, --severity=SEVERITY
Specify a severity level, from critical, grave, serious, impor-
tant, normal, minor, and wishlist.
Use the mail transport agent (MTA) at HOST to send your report,
instead of your local /usr/sbin/sendmail program. This should
generally be your ISP's outgoing mail server; you can also use
'localhost' if you have a working mail server running on your
machine. If the PORT is omitted, the standard port for SMTP,
port 25, is used.
Specify the network timeout, the number of seconds to wait for a
resource to respond. If nothing is specified, a default timeout
of 1 minute is selected.
In case of a network error, there are chances it's due to a too
low timeout: try passing the --timeout option with a higher
value than default.
--tls If using SMTP, use Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption to
secure the connection to the mail server. Some SMTP servers may
require this option.
If using SMTP, use the specified USERNAME for authentication.
If using SMTP, use the specified PASSWORD for authentication.
If the password isn't specified on the command line or in the
configuration file, a prompt will be displayed asking for it.
Use of this option is insecure on multiuser systems. Instead,
you should set this option in $HOME/.reportbugrc and ensure it
is only readable by your user (e.g. with chmod 600 $HOME/.re-
Specify to report the bug against the source package, and not
the binary package (default behaviour). In order for this op-
tion to work, you have to populate the relevant 'deb-src' lines
in /etc/apt/sources.list so that apt cache will know about
source packages too.
-t TYPE, --type=TYPE
Specify the type of report to be submitted; currently accepts
either gnats or debbugs.
-T TAG, --tag=TAG
Specify a tag to be filed on this report, for example
--tag=patch. Multiple tags can be specified using multiple
Alternatively, you can specify the 'tag' none to bypass the tags
prompt without specifying any tags; this will also ignore any
tags specified on the command line.
Output a template report to standard output. Differently from
-p/--print, it tries to be not interactive, and presents a tem-
plate without user's input.
-u INTERFACE, --interface=INTERFACE, --ui=INTERFACE
Specify the user interface to use. Valid options are text, ur-
wid, and gtk; default is taken from the reportbug configuration
Verify the integrity of the package (if installed) using debsums
Do not verify the integrity of the package with debsums.
-V VERSION, --package-version=VERSION
Specify the version of the package the problem was found in.
This is probably most useful if you are reporting a bug in a
package that is not installable or installed on a different sys-
Don't send a blind carbon copy (BCC) of the bug report to the
submitter (i.e. yourself).
Don't compress configuration files by removing comments and
Report a bug in the lynx-ssl package.
reportbug --path --filename=ls
Report a bug in the installed package that includes a program in
your path called ls.
From version 0.22 on, reportbug has supported a simple run control file
syntax. Commands are read from /etc/reportbug.conf and $HOME/.report-
bugrc with commands in the latter overriding those in the former.
Commands are not case sensitive, and currently take 0 or 1 argument;
arguments containing whitespace must be enclosed in quotes.
Any line starting with # is taken to be a comment and will be ignored.
Generally, options corresponding to the long options for reportbug are
supported, without leading -- sequences. See reportbug.conf(5) for all
acceptable options and detailed information.
VISUAL Editor to use for editing your bug report.
EDITOR Editor to use for editing the bug report (overridden by VISUAL).
REPORTBUGEMAIL, DEBEMAIL, EMAIL
Email address to use as your from address (in this order). If no
environment variable exists, the default is taken from your user
name and /etc/mailname.
DEBFULLNAME, DEBNAME, NAME
Real name to use; default is taken from /etc/passwd.
Address for Reply-To header in outgoing mail.
MAILCC Use the specified CC address on your email. Note you can also
use the -H option for this (and for Bcc's too).
Use the specified BCC address, instead of your email address.
(CC and BCC based on suggestions from Herbert Thielen in the bug
Provides the address of a proxy server to handle the BTS query.
This should be a valid http URL for a proxy server, including
any required port number (simply specifying a hostname, or omit-
ting a port other than 80, WILL NOT WORK).
reportbug should probably be compatible with other bug tracking sys-
tems, like bugzilla (used by the GNOME and Mozilla projects) and jit-
terbug (used by Samba, AbiSource and FreeCiv) but it isn't.
reportbug.conf(5), http://www.debian.org/Bugs/Developer#tags for avail-
able tags, querybts(1)
Chris Lawrence <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Sandro Tosi <email@example.com>.