Introduction to the bug control and manipulation mailserver

Just as request@bugs.debian.org allows the retrieval of bug data and documentation by email, control@bugs.debian.org allows bug reports to be manipulated in various ways.

The control server works just like the request server, except that it has some additional commands; in fact, it's the same program. The two addresses are only separated to avoid users making mistakes and causing problems while merely trying to request information.

Since the commands specific to the control server actually change the status of a bug, a notification about processing the commands is sent to the maintainer of the package(s) the changed bugs are assigned to. Additionally the mail to the server and the resulting changes are logged in the bug report and thereby available in the WWW pages.

Please see the introduction to the request server available on the World Wide Web, in the file bug-log-mailserver.txt, or by sending help to either mailserver, for details of the basics of operating the mailservers and the common commands available when mailing either address.

The reference card for the mailservers is available via the WWW, in bug-mailserver-refcard.txt or by email using the refcard command.

Commands available at the control mailserver

General Versioning Duplicates Misc.
reassign bugnumber package [ version ]

Records that bug #bugnumber is a bug in package. This can be used to set the package if the user forgot the pseudo-header, or to change an earlier assignment. No notifications are sent to anyone (other than the usual information in the processing transcript).

If you supply a version, the bug tracking system will note that the bug affects that version of the newly-assigned package.

You can assign a bug to two packages at once by separating the package names with a comma. However, you should only do this if the bug can be fixed by a change to either package. If this is not the case, you should clone the bug and reassign the clone to the other package.

reopen bugnumber [ originator-address | = | ! ]

Reopens #bugnumber if it is closed.

By default, or if you specify =, the original submitter is still as the originator of the report, so that they will get the ack when it is closed again.

If you supply an originator-address the originator will be set to the address you supply. If you wish to become the new originator of the reopened report you can use the ! shorthand or specify your own email address.

It is usually a good idea to tell the person who is about to be recorded as the originator that you're reopening the report, so that they will know to expect the ack which they'll get when it is closed again.

If the bug is not closed then reopen won't do anything, not even change the originator. To change the originator of an open bug report, use the submitter command; note that this will inform the original submitter of the change.

If the bug was recorded as being closed in a particular version of a package but recurred in a later version, it is better to use the found command instead.

found bugnumber [ version ]

Record that #bugnumber has been encountered in the given version of the package to which it is assigned. version may be a fully qualified version, of the form sourcepackagename/version.

The bug tracking system uses this information, in conjunction with fixed versions recorded when closing bugs, to display lists of bugs open in various versions of each package. It considers a bug to be open when it has no fixed version, or when it has been found more recently than it has been fixed.

If no version is given, then the list of fixed versions for the bug is cleared. This is identical to the behaviour of reopen. version may be a fully qualified version, of the form sourcepackagename/version.

This command will only cause a bug to be marked as not done if no version is specified, or if the version being marked found is equal to or greater than the highest version marked fixed. (If you are certain that you want the bug marked as not done, use reopen in conjunction with found.)

This command was introduced in preference to reopen because it was difficult to add a version to that command's syntax without suffering ambiguity.

notfound bugnumber version

Remove the record that #bugnumber was encountered in the given version of the package to which it is assigned. version may be a fully qualified version, of the form sourcepackagename/version.

This differs from closing the bug at that version in that the bug is not listed as fixed in that version either; no information about that version will be known. It is intended for fixing mistakes in the record of when a bug was found.

fixed bugnumber version

Indicate that bug #bugnumber was fixed in the given version of the package to which it is assigned. version may be a fully qualified version, of the form sourcepackagename/version.

This does not cause the bug to be marked as closed, it merely adds another version in which the bug was fixed. Use the bugnumber-done address to close a bug and mark it fixed in a particular version.

notfixed bugnumber version

Remove the record that bug #bugnumber has been fixed in the given version. version may be a fully qualified version, of the form sourcepackagename/version.

This command is equivalent to found followed by notfound (the found removes the fixed at a particular version, and notfound removes the found) with the exception that the bug is not reopened if the found version is greater than any existing fixed version. It is intended for fixing mistakes in the record of when a bug was fixed; in most cases, you actually want found, not notfixed.

submitter bugnumber originator-address | !

Changes the originator of #bugnumber to originator-address.

If you wish to become the new originator of the report you can use the ! shorthand or specify your own email address.

While the reopen command changes the originator of other bugs merged with the one being reopened, submitter does not affect merged bugs.

forwarded bugnumber address

Notes that bugnumber has been forwarded to the upstream maintainer at address. This does not actually forward the report. This can be used to change an existing incorrect forwarded-to address, or to record a new one for a bug that wasn't previously noted as having been forwarded. address should generally be a URI, or possibly an email address. Using a URI where possible allows tools to query a remote bug tracking system (such as bugzilla) for a bug's status.

Example usage:

      forwarded 12345 http://bugz.illa.foo/cgi/54321
    
notforwarded bugnumber

Forgets any idea that bugnumber has been forwarded to any upstream maintainer. If the bug was not recorded as having been forwarded then this will do nothing.

retitle bugnumber new-title

Changes the title of a bug report to that specified (the default is the Subject mail header from the original report). Will also change the titles of all bug reports which this bug is merged with.

severity bugnumber severity

Set the severity level for bug report #bugnumber to severity. No notification is sent to the user who reported the bug.

Severities are critical, grave, serious, important, normal, minor, wishlist.

For their meanings please consult the general developers' documentation for the bug system.

affects bugnumber [ + | - | = ] package [ package ... ]

Indicates that a bug affects another package. In the case where bugnumber causes breakage in package even though the bug is actually present in the package to which it is assigned, this causes the bug to be listed by default in the package list of package. This should generally be used where the bug is severe enough to cause multiple reports from users to be assigned to the wrong package. = sets the affects to the list of packages given, and is the default action if no packages are given; - removes the given packages from the affects list; + adds the given packages to the affects list, and is the default if packages are given.

summary bugnumber [message number | summary text]

Selects a message to use as a summary of a bug. The first non-pseudoheader/non-control paragraph of that message is parsed and set as the summary of the bug which is displayed on the top of the bug report page. This is useful in cases where the original report doesn't correctly describe the problem or the bug has many messages which make it difficult to identify the actual problem.

If message number is not given, clears the summary. message number is the message number as listed in the bugreport cgi script output; if a message number of 0 is given, the current message is used (that is, the message which was sent to control@bugs.debian.org which contains the summary control command).

If message number is not numerical and not the empty string, it is assumed to be the text to set the summary to.

outlook bugnumber [message number | outlook text]

Selects a message to use as the outlook for fixing a bug (or the current status of fixing a bug). The first non-pseudoheader/non-control paragraph of that message is parsed and set as the outlook of the bug which is displayed on the top of the bug report page. This is useful to coordinate with others who are working on fixing this bug (for example, in an bug squashing party).

If message number is not given, clears the outlook. message number is the message number as listed in the bugreport cgi script output; if a message number of 0 is given, the current message is used (that is, the message which was sent to control@bugs.debian.org which contains the outlook control command).

If message number is not numerical and not the empty string, it is assumed to be the text to set the outlook to.

clone bugnumber NewID [ new IDs ... ]

The clone control command allows you to duplicate a bug report. It is useful in the case where a single report actually indicates that multiple distinct bugs have occurred. New IDs are negative numbers, separated by spaces, which may be used in subsequent control commands to refer to the newly duplicated bugs. A new report is generated for each new ID.

Example usage:

          clone 12345 -1 -2
          reassign -1 foo
          retitle -1 foo: foo sucks
          reassign -2 bar
          retitle -2 bar: bar sucks when used with foo
          severity -2 wishlist
          clone 123456 -3
          reassign -3 foo
          retitle -3 foo: foo sucks
          merge -1 -3
    
merge bugnumber bugnumber ...

Merges two or more bug reports. When reports are merged opening, closing, marking or unmarking as forwarded and reassigning any of the bugs to a new package will have an identical effect on all of the merged reports.

Before bugs can be merged they must be in exactly the same state: either all open or all closed, with the same forwarded-to upstream author address or all not marked as forwarded, all assigned to the same package or package(s) (an exact string comparison is done on the package to which the bug is assigned), and all of the same severity. If they don't start out in the same state you should use reassign, reopen and so forth to make sure that they are before using merge. Titles are not required to match, and will not be affected by the merge. Tags are not required to match, either, they will be joined.

If any of the bugs listed in a merge command is already merged with another bug then all the reports merged with any of the ones listed will all be merged together. Merger is like equality: it is reflexive, transitive and symmetric.

Merging reports causes a note to appear on each report's logs; on the WWW pages this is includes links to the other bugs.

Merged reports are all expired simultaneously, and only when all of the reports each separately meet the criteria for expiry.

forcemerge bugnumber bugnumber ...

Forcibly merges two or more bug reports. The settings of the first bug listed which must be equal in a normal merge are assigned to the bugs listed next. To avoid typos erroneously merging bugs, bugs must be in the same package. See the text above for a description of what merging means.

Note that this makes it possible to close bugs by merging; you are responsible for notifying submitters with an appropriate close message if you do this.

unmerge bugnumber

Disconnects a bug report from any other reports with which it may have been merged. If the report listed is merged with several others then they are all left merged with each other; only their associations with the bug explicitly named are removed.

If many bug reports are merged and you wish to split them into two separate groups of merged reports you must unmerge each report in one of the new groups separately and then merge them into the required new group.

You can only unmerge one report with each unmerge command; if you want to disconnect more than one bug simply include several unmerge commands in your message.

tags bugnumber [ + | - | = ] tag [ tag ... ] [ + | - | = tag ... ] ]

Sets tags for the bug report #bugnumber. No notification is sent to the user who reported the bug. Setting the action to + means to add each tag following, - means to remove each tag following, and = means to set the following tags to the list provided. Intervening +, -, or = change the action for the tags following. The default action is adding.

Example usage:

          # same as 'tags 123456 + patch'
          tags 123456 patch

          # same as 'tags 123456 + help security'
          tags 123456 help security

          # add 'fixed' and 'pending' tags
          tags 123456 + fixed pending

          # remove 'unreproducible' tag
          tags 123456 - unreproducible

          # set tags to exactly 'moreinfo' and 'unreproducible'
          tags 123456 = moreinfo unreproducible
	  
	  # remove the moreinfo tag and add a patch tag
	  tags 123456 - moreinfo + patch
    

Available tags currently include patch, wontfix, moreinfo, unreproducible, help, pending, security, upstream, confirmed, fixed, fixed-upstream, fixed-in-experimental, d-i, ipv6, lfs, l10n, potato, woody, sarge, sarge-ignore, etch, etch-ignore, lenny, lenny-ignore, squeeze, squeeze-ignore, wheezy, wheezy-ignore, jessie, jessie-ignore, sid, experimental.

For their meanings please consult the general developers' documentation for the bug system.

block bugnumber by bug ...
Note that the fix for the first bug is blocked by the other listed bugs.
unblock bugnumber by bug ...
Note that the fix for the first bug is no longer blocked by the other listed bugs.
close bugnumber [ fixed-version ] (deprecated)

Close bug report #bugnumber.

A notification is sent to the user who reported the bug, but (in contrast to mailing bugnumber-done@bugs.debian.org) the text of the mail which caused the bug to be closed is not included in that notification. The maintainer who closes a report needs to ensure, probably by sending a separate message, that the user who reported the bug knows why it is being closed. The use of this command is therefore deprecated. See the developer's information about how to close a bug properly.

If you supply a fixed-version, the bug tracking system will note that the bug was fixed in that version of the package.

package [ packagename ... ]

Limits the following commands so that they will only apply to bugs filed against the listed packages. You can list one or more packages. If you don't list any packages, the following commands will apply to all bugs. You're encouraged to use this as a safety feature in case you accidentally use the wrong bug numbers.

Example usage:

          package foo
          reassign 123456 bar 1.0-1

          package bar
          retitle 123456 bar: bar sucks
          severity 123456 normal

          package
          severity 234567 wishlist
    
owner bugnumber address | !

Sets address to be the owner of #bugnumber. The owner of a bug claims responsibility for fixing it. This is useful to share out work in cases where a package has a team of maintainers.

If you wish to become the owner of the bug yourself, you can use the ! shorthand or specify your own email address.

noowner bugnumber
Forgets any idea that the bug has an owner other than the usual maintainer. If the bug had no owner recorded then this will do nothing.
archive bugnumber
Archives a bug that had been archived at some point in the past but is currently not archived if the bug fulfills the requirements for archival, ignoring time.
unarchive bugnumber
Unarchives a bug that was previously archived. Unarchival should generally be coupled with reopen and found/fixed as appropriate. Bugs that have been unarchived can be archived using archive assuming the non-time based archival requirements are met. You should not be using unarchive to make trivial changes to archived bugs, such as changing the submitter; its primary purpose is to allow for the reopening of bugs which have been archived without the intervention of BTS administrators.
#...
One-line comment. The # must be at the start of the line. The text of comments will be included in the acknowledgement sent to the sender and to affected maintainers, so you can use this to document the reasons for your commands.
quit
stop
thank
thanks
thankyou
thank you
--
On a line by itself, in any case, possibly followed by whitespace, tells the control server to stop processing the message; the remainder of the message can include explanations, signatures or anything else, none of it will be detected by the control server.

Other BTS pages:


Debian BTS administrators <owner@bugs.debian.org>

Debian bug tracking system
Copyright © 1999 Darren O. Benham, 1997, 2003 nCipher Corporation Ltd, 1994-1997 Ian Jackson.