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(This chapter is adapted from the analogous one in the GCC manual, written by Richard Stallman.)

Your bug reports are essential in making these programs reliable.

Reporting a bug may help you by bringing a solution to your problem, or it may not. (If it does not, look in the service directory, which is part of the GNU CC and GNU Emacs distributions.) In any case, the principal function of a bug report is to help the entire community by making the next release work better.

Send bug reports for the GNU font utilities, or for their documentation, to the address bug-gnu-utils@prep.ai.mit.edu. We also welcome suggestions for improvements, no matter how small.

In order for a bug report to serve its purpose, you must include the information that makes for fixing the bug, as described below.

Thanks (in advance)!

Bug criteria

If you are not sure whether you have found a bug, here are some guidelines:

Bug reporting

The purpose of a bug report is to enable someone to fix the bug if it is not known. It isn't important what happens if the bug is already known. Therefore, always write your bug reports on the assumption that the bug is not known.

Sometimes people give a few sketchy facts and ask, "Does this ring a bell?" or "Should this be happening?" This cannot help us fix a bug, so it is basically useless. We can only respond by asking for the details below, so we can investigate. You might as well expedite matters by sending them to begin with.

Try to make your bug report self-contained. If we ask you for more information, it is best if you include all the original information in your response, as well as the new information. We might have discarded the previous message, or even if we haven't, it takes us time to search for it. Similarly, if you've reported bugs before, it is still best to send all the information; we can't possibly remember what environment everyone uses!

Necessary information

To enable us to fix a bug, please include all the information below. If the bug was in compilation or installation, as opposed to in actually running one of the programs, the last two items are irrelevant. But in that case, please also make sure it is not a known problem before reporting it. See section Problems.

You should include all of the following in your bug report:

In other words, we need enough information so that we can run the offending program under the debugger, so we can find out what's happening. Without all the command-line arguments, or the input file in question, we cannot do this. Since you must have found the bug by running the program with a particular set of options and on a particular input file, you already have this information; all you need to do is send it!

Unnecessary information

Here are some things that are not necessary to include in a bug report.

Documentation bugs

It is just as important to report bugs in the documentation as in the programs. If you want to do something using these programs, and reading the manual doesn't tell you how, that is probably a bug. In fact, the best way to report it is something like: "I want to do x; I looked in the manual in sections a and b, but they didn't explain it."

If your bug report makes it clear that you've actually made an attempt to find the answers using the manual, we will be much more likely to take action (since we won't have to search the manual ourselves).

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