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The recent "kernel bugzilla is FPOS" thread made me think that it might be a
good idea to update REPORTING-BUGS, so that it's more "friendly" to people who
want to report a kernel bug for the first time.

The patch below does that, but it's more a means to spark a discussion than
anything else.

Comments are obviously welcome. :-)


From: Rafael J. Wysocki <>

Update REPORTING-BUGS to reflect the current common practice and to provide
inexperienced bug reporters with some more information.

Signed-off-by: Rafael J. Wysocki <>
REPORTING-BUGS | 160 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++----------------------
1 file changed, 99 insertions(+), 61 deletions(-)

Index: linux-2.6/REPORTING-BUGS
--- linux-2.6.orig/REPORTING-BUGS
+++ linux-2.6/REPORTING-BUGS
@@ -1,64 +1,102 @@
-[Some of this is taken from Frohwalt Egerer's original linux-kernel FAQ]
- What follows is a suggested procedure for reporting Linux bugs. You
-aren't obliged to use the bug reporting format, it is provided as a guide
-to the kind of information that can be useful to developers - no more.
- If the failure includes an "OOPS:" type message in your log or on
-screen please read "Documentation/oops-tracing.txt" before posting your
-bug report. This explains what you should do with the "Oops" information
-to make it useful to the recipient.
- Send the output to the maintainer of the kernel area that seems to
-be involved with the problem. Don't worry too much about getting the
-wrong person. If you are unsure send it to the person responsible for the
-code relevant to what you were doing. If it occurs repeatably try and
-describe how to recreate it. That is worth even more than the oops itself.
-The list of maintainers is in the MAINTAINERS file in this directory.
- If it is a security bug, please copy the Security Contact listed
-in the MAINTAINERS file. They can help coordinate bugfix and disclosure.
-See Documentation/SecurityBugs for more information.
- If you are totally stumped as to whom to send the report, send it to (For more information on the linux-kernel
-mailing list see
-This is a suggested format for a bug report sent to the Linux kernel mailing
-list. Having a standardized bug report form makes it easier for you not to
-overlook things, and easier for the developers to find the pieces of
-information they're really interested in. Don't feel you have to follow it.
- First run the ver_linux script included as scripts/ver_linux, which
-reports the version of some important subsystems. Run this script with
-the command "sh scripts/ver_linux".
-Use that information to fill in all fields of the bug report form, and
-post it to the mailing list with a subject of "PROBLEM: <one line
-summary from [1.]>" for easy identification by the developers.
-[1.] One line summary of the problem:
-[2.] Full description of the problem/report:
-[3.] Keywords (i.e., modules, networking, kernel):
-[4.] Kernel information
-[4.1.] Kernel version (from /proc/version):
-[4.2.] Kernel .config file:
-[5.] Most recent kernel version which did not have the bug:
-[6.] Output of Oops.. message (if applicable) with symbolic information
- resolved (see Documentation/oops-tracing.txt)
-[7.] A small shell script or example program which triggers the
- problem (if possible)
-[8.] Environment
-[8.1.] Software (add the output of the ver_linux script here)
-[8.2.] Processor information (from /proc/cpuinfo):
-[8.3.] Module information (from /proc/modules):
-[8.4.] Loaded driver and hardware information (/proc/ioports, /proc/iomem)
-[8.5.] PCI information ('lspci -vvv' as root)
-[8.6.] SCSI information (from /proc/scsi/scsi)
-[8.7.] Other information that might be relevant to the problem
- (please look in /proc and include all information that you
- think to be relevant):
-[X.] Other notes, patches, fixes, workarounds:
+Reporting Linux kernel bugs

+What follows is a recommended procedure for reporting bug in the Linux kernel.
+Still, you are not obliged to use the suggested bug reporting format, it is
+provided as a guide to the kind of information that can be useful to developers.
+In general, the kernel developers' preferred way of reporting bugs is email,
+because it allows them to react quickly to the problems that are easy to fix.
+Still, later on, if the reported problem turns out to be difficult, you may be
+asked to open an entry in the kernel Bugzilla at .
+Usually, this requires you to do some more work than just sending an email
+message with a bug report, but it often is necessary to collect all information
+related to the reported bug in one place, so that it is easily accessible at
+any time later.
+Email messages containing bug reports should generally be sent to the
+Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) <> and to the
+mailing list dedicated to the affected subsystem. You may send a bug report to
+three mailing lists simultaneously, if you think that it is necessry.
+[However, if you send them to more than three lists at a time, people will
+likely get angry with you.]
+It also is a good idea to notify the maintainer of the affected subsystem and
+the maintainer of the tree in which the bug is present by adding their email
+addresses to the Cc list of the bug report message. The email addresses of
+maintainers of the majority of kernel subsystems can be found in the MAINTAINERS
+file, but you should not worry too much about getting a wrong person.
+If you know which patch has caused the problem to appear, you should also add
+the email address of its author to the Cc list of your bug report (this address
+is usually present in the 'From:' field of the patch header). Additionally,
+it is recommended to notify all of the people involved in the process of
+merging the patch (you can find their addresses in the 'Signed-off-by:' and
+'Acked-by:' or 'Reviewed-by:' fields of the patch header). This way you can
+increase the probability that someone "in the know" will notice the report and
+respond to it quickly. Apart from this, you should make it clear that your
+message contains a bug report, for example by adding the word "BUG" in front
+of the message's subject line. If the bug is a regression (ie. one of the
+previous kernel versions worked correctly), please put the word "REGRESSION" in
+there instead.
+Unfortunately, sometimes bug reports are not responded to even if they contain
+all of the right email addresses etc. If that happens to your bug report, you
+should first check if it has not been intercepted by a spam filter. This is
+easy if you have sent the report to a mailing list, since in that case it only
+is necessary to look into the list's archives to see if the message is there.
+If it turns out that the report has reached the list and no one is responding to
+it, the developers might have overlooked it or they may be too busy to take care
+of it right now. In that case you should wait for some time (usually, a couple
+of days) and send it once again (if you resend the report, you may add the word
+"resend" to the message's subject to indicate that this is not the first time).
+If that does not help and there still is no response, it is best to open a new
+entry in the Bugzilla at . If you have already done
+that, send messages to the appropriate lists and people periodically to remind
+of the issue.
+As far as the contents of bug reports are concerned, you should generally avoid
+putting irrelevant information into them. Of course, that may be difficult,
+because you may not know which information is relevant in given particular case.
+Still, you can always safely assume that if more information is needed, you will
+be asked to provide it.
+First of all, you need to say what the bug is, which kernel version it is
+present in and how to reproduce it. You also need to describe the symptoms and
+include all of the corresponding kernel messages, if you can collect them. In
+particular, if the failure includes an "Oops:" type message in your log or on
+screen please read "Documentation/oops-tracing.txt" before posting your bug
+report. This explains what you should do with the "Oops" information to make it
+useful to the recipient.
+Generally, the following things are appreciated in a bug report:
+* One line summary of the reported problem
+* Description of the problem
+* Version of the kernel in which the problem appears
+* The last known version of the kernel in which the problem does not appear (if
+ applicable)
+* Architecture of the system on which the problem is observed (that may
+ include some more detailed hardware information if the problem seems to be
+ hardware-related)
+* Steps to reproduce the problem
+* Kernel messages related to the problem (if available)
+* Concise description of software environment in which the problem appears (as
+ per the output of scripts/ver_linux)
+Additionally, if you know which patch has introduced the problem, the name of it
+or the corresponding git commit name should be included in the report. [Please
+read Documentation/BUG-HUNTING to learn how you can find the "guilty" patch.]
+The version of the kernel can be read from the output of scripts/ver_linux or
+directly from /proc/version . Still, if you use git to download the kernel
+sources, you can obtain more precise version information by running
+'git describe' from within the root of the kernel source directory.
+After reporting a bug you may be provided with a patch to test. In that case
+you ought to test it and report back to the developer who have sent it to you
+whether or not it fixes the bug. If it does not fix the bug, you will likely
+receive more patches to test. In any case, please be patient and work with the
+developers until the issue is resolved.

Thank you
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