How to write useful bug reports

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How to write useful bug reports

I've been in the computer science field since 1979, when I stumbled across an NCR-33 Korean-war surplus teletype in my high school guidance counsellor's office. It connected to a nearby university, which gave us all the computer time we could eat up running NCR BASIC.

I wrote my first computer program, Fibonacci numbers, shortly thereafter. It had a problem (no stopping condition) and I was introduced to bug reporting about one minute after loading the paper tape, downloading my program, and executing it.

A usable bug report (feature request, suggestion, etc.) will give the following information:

  1. What happened.
  2. Why you think this is wrong.
  3. What you would have liked to happen.
  4. How you caused this wrong action to take place. (Reproducibiity)
  5. Your hardware and software configuration.

Please send one bug per bug report. Your feedback will be put into a bug database, and everything after the first bug will either be overlooked or require that someone read, understand, and carve up your multiple-bug message into small pieces. Do it yourself.

Just for grins I've included a bug report that I recently sent:

Date: Sun, 28 Aug 1994 21:17:59 -0700
From: (Michael 'Mickey' Sattler, San Francisco)
Subject: (MSS-16) HTML.edit: prematurely quits

Hardware: Mac PowerBook 520c, 12mb RAM (max'd to 70mb) Software: MacOS 7.1.1, System Update 3.0, MacTCP 2.0.4, lots of INITs/CDEVs Target: HTML.edit v1.1.1b

Good day. I've just downloaded your program and find that it quits with an error of 1 about one-half second after it comes up. If I do nothing MacOS tells me of the error. If I jump in and grab the import text button I can specify an html file before it goes away.

I've noticed in beta-testing other software tha the changes for the blackbird-class powerbooks was non-trivial if you are making assumptions about the system resoures (specifically WDEF 0) available to you.

Sorry I have nothing better to report. :-( M

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- Michael 'Mickey' Sattler FTP Software, West Coast Operations Don't try to teach a pig to sing; Quality Assurance Manager It's a waste of time & it annoys the pig.

Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!

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