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8. Reporting Bugs

Your bug reports play an essential role in making GCC reliable.

When you encounter a problem, the first thing to do is to see if it is already known. See section 7. Known Causes of Trouble with GCC. If it isn't known, then you should report the problem.

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; see 9. How To Get Help with GCC.) In any case, the principal function of a bug report is to help the entire community by making the next version of GCC work better. Bug reports are your contribution to the maintenance of GCC.

Since the maintainers are very overloaded, we cannot respond to every bug report. However, if the bug has not been fixed, we are likely to send you a patch and ask you to tell us whether it works.

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

8.1 Have You Found a Bug?  Have you really found a bug?
8.2 Where to Report Bugs  Where to send your bug report.
8.3 How to Report Bugs  How to report a bug effectively.
8.4 Sending Patches for GCC  How to send a patch for GCC.
7. Known Causes of Trouble with GCC  Known problems.
9. How To Get Help with GCC  Where to ask for help.

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8.1 Have You Found a Bug?

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

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8.2 Where to Report Bugs

Send bug reports for the GNU Compiler Collection to `gcc-bugs@gcc.gnu.org'. In accordance with the GNU-wide convention, in which bug reports for tool "foo" are sent to `bug-foo@gnu.org', the address `bug-gcc@gnu.org' may also be used; it will forward to the address given above.

Please read `<URL:http://www.gnu.org/software/gcc/bugs.html>' for bug reporting instructions before you post a bug report.

Often people think of posting bug reports to the newsgroup instead of mailing them. This appears to work, but it has one problem which can be crucial: a newsgroup posting does not contain a mail path back to the sender. Thus, if maintainers need more information, they may be unable to reach you. For this reason, you should always send bug reports by mail to the proper mailing list.

As a last resort, send bug reports on paper to:

GNU Compiler Bugs
Free Software Foundation
59 Temple Place - Suite 330
Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA

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8.3 How to Report Bugs

You may find additional and/or more up-to-date instructions at `<URL:http://www.gnu.org/software/gcc/bugs.html>'.

The fundamental principle of reporting bugs usefully is this: report all the facts. If you are not sure whether to state a fact or leave it out, state it!

Often people omit facts because they think they know what causes the problem and they conclude that some details don't matter. Thus, you might assume that the name of the variable you use in an example does not matter. Well, probably it doesn't, but one cannot be sure. Perhaps the bug is a stray memory reference which happens to fetch from the location where that name is stored in memory; perhaps, if the name were different, the contents of that location would fool the compiler into doing the right thing despite the bug. Play it safe and give a specific, complete example. That is the easiest thing for you to do, and the most helpful.

Keep in mind that the purpose of a bug report is to enable someone to fix the bug if it is not known. It isn't very 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?" This cannot help us fix a bug, so it is basically useless. We respond by asking for enough details to enable us to investigate. You might as well expedite matters by sending them to begin with.

Try to make your bug report self-contained. If we have to ask you for more information, it is best if you include all the previous information in your response, as well as the information that was missing.

Please report each bug in a separate message. This makes it easier for us to track which bugs have been fixed and to forward your bugs reports to the appropriate maintainer.

To enable someone to investigate the bug, you should include all these things:

Here are some things that are not necessary:

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8.4 Sending Patches for GCC

If you would like to write bug fixes or improvements for the GNU C compiler, that is very helpful. Send suggested fixes to the patches mailing list, gcc-patches@gcc.gnu.org.

Please follow these guidelines so we can study your patches efficiently. If you don't follow these guidelines, your information might still be useful, but using it will take extra work. Maintaining GNU C is a lot of work in the best of circumstances, and we can't keep up unless you do your best to help.

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