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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 distribution; by default, it creates an email to the Debian bug tracking system at 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 filename, 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-packages.


The program follows the usual GNU command line syntax, with long options starting with two dashes (` --'). A summary of options are included below.
-h, --help
Show summary of options.
Show the version of reportbug and exit.
Attach a file to the bug report; both text and binary files are acceptable; this option can be specified multiple times to attach 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 attachments.)
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).
-b, --no-query-bts
Don't check the Debian bug tracking system to see if this problem 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).
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.
--body-file=BODYFILE, --bodyfile=BODYFILE
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 headers 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.)
-c, --no-config-files
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 email.
-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 $HOME/.reportbugrc~.
Check for newer releases of the package at (default). In advanced and expert mode, check and too.
Do not check for newer releases of the package at
Include debconf settings in your report.
Do not include debconf settings from your report.
-d, --debug
Don't send a real bug report to Debian; send it to yourself instead. This is primarily used for testing by the maintainer.
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 environment 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 This setting will override the EMAIL and DEBEMAIL environment variables, but not REPORTBUGEMAIL.
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 attempting 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.
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.)
-G, --gnus
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 you could use -H 'X-Debbugs-CC:'
-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.)
-I, --no-check-installed
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.)
Bugs in Debian that have serious, grave, or critical severities must meet certain criteria to be classified as such. This option allows you to specify the justification for a release-critical bug, instead of being prompted for it.
-k, --kudos
Send appreciative email to the recorded maintainer address, rather than filing a bug report. (You can also send kudos to, for packages in the Debian archive; 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 address 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 output.
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 intended with debbugs systems.
-m, --maintonly
Only send the bug to the package maintainer; the bug tracking system will not send a copy to the bug report distribution lists.
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, and expert.
novice mode is designed to minimize prompting about things that "ordinary users" would be unlikely to know or care about, shifting 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 reports.
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 reporting 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 inflation," 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 setting 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 discouraged from using expert mode, as it can lead to flamage from maintainers when used improperly.
-M, --mutt
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 default). 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 send it.
Run reportbug against the specified bug report, useful when following-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 filename.
The output file is a full dump of the email message, so it contains 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.
-O, --offline
Disable all external queries. Currently has the same effect as --no-check-available --no-query-bts.
-p, --print
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 program.
This option only outputs a template for a bug report (but, differently 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 (default).
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.)
--proxy=PROXY, --http_proxy=PROXY
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 example,
Add a custom pseudo-header to your report; for example, to add the mytag usertag for the user to the bug, you could use -P 'User:' -P 'Usertags: mytag'.
-q, --quiet
Suppress diagnostic messages to standard error.
-Q, --query-only
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.
--reply-to=ADDRESS, --replyto=ADDRESS
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 specify 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 specify to not send the report only to the Debian Security Team, as this is not an undisclosed vulnerability.
Specify a severity level, from critical, grave, serious, important, 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.
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/.reportbugrc).
--src, --source
Specify to report the bug against the source package, and not the binary package (default behaviour). In order for this option 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 -T/--tag arguments.
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 template without user's input.
Specify the user interface to use. Valid options are text, urwid, and gtk2; default is taken from the reportbug configuration files.
-v, --verify
Verify the integrity of the package (if installed) using debsums before reporting.
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 system.
-x, --no-cc
Don't send a blind carbon copy (BCC) of the bug report to the submitter (i.e. yourself).
-z, --no-compress
Don't compress configuration files by removing comments and blank lines.


reportbug lynx-ssl
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/.reportbugrc 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.


Editor to use for editing your bug report.
Editor to use for editing the bug report (overridden by VISUAL).
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.
Real name to use; default is taken from /etc/passwd.
Address for Reply-To header in outgoing mail.
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 wishlist).
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 omitting a port other than 80, WILL NOT WORK).


reportbug should probably be compatible with other bug tracking systems, like bugzilla (used by the GNOME and Mozilla projects) and jitterbug (used by Samba, AbiSource and FreeCiv) but it isn't.


reportbug.conf(5), for available tags, querybts(1)


Chris Lawrence <>, Sandro Tosi <>.