Now that you have decided that your issue merits a problem report, and that it is a FreeBSD problem, it is time to write the actual problem report. Make sure your VISUAL (or EDITOR if VISUAL is not set) environment variable is set to something sensible, and run send-pr(1).
The send-pr(1) program has provisions for attaching files to a problem report. You can attach as many files as you want provided that each has a unique base name (i.e. the name of the file proper, without the path). Just use the -a command-line option to specify the names of the files you wish to attach:
% send-pr -a /var/run/dmesg -a /tmp/errors
Do not worry about binary files, they will be automatically encoded so as not to upset your mail agent.
If you attach a patch, make sure you use the -c or -u option to diff(1) to create a context or unified diff, and make sure to specify the exact CVS revision numbers of the files you modified so the developers who read your report will be able to apply them easily.
You should also take note that unless you explicitly specify otherwise in your PR, any patches you submit will be assumed to be licensed under the same terms as the original file you modified.
The template consists of a list of fields, some of which are pre-filled, and some of which have comments explaining their purpose or listing acceptable values. Do not worry about the comments; they will be removed automatically if you do not modify them or remove them yourself.
At the top of the template, below the SEND-PR: lines, are the email headers. You do not normally need to modify these, unless you are sending the problem report from a machine or account that can send but not receive mail, in which case you will want to set the From: and Reply-To: to your real email address. You may also want to send yourself (or someone else) a carbon copy of the problem report by adding one or more email addresses to the Cc: header.
Next comes a series of single-line fields:
Submitter-Id: Do not change this. The default value of current-users is correct, even if you run FreeBSD-STABLE.
Originator: This is normally prefilled with the gecos field of the currently logged-in user. Please specify your real name, optionally followed by your email address in angle brackets.
Organization: Whatever you feel like. This field is not used for anything significant.
Confidential: This is prefilled to no, changing it makes no sense as there is no such thing as a confidential FreeBSD problem report--the PR database is distributed worldwide by CVSup.
Synopsis: Fill this out with a short and accurate description of the problem. The synopsis is used as the subject of the problem report email, and is used in problem report listings and summaries; problem reports with obscure synopses tend to get ignored.
If your problem report includes a patch, please have the synopsis start with [PATCH].
Severity: One of non-critical, serious or critical. Do not overreact; refrain from labeling your problem critical unless it really is (e.g. root exploit, easily reproducible panic). Developers tend to ignore this and the next field, precisely because problem report submitters tend to overrate their problems.
Priority: One of low, medium or high. See above.
Category: Choose one of the following:
advocacy: problems relating to FreeBSD's public image. Rarely used.
alpha: problems specific to the Alpha platform.
bin: problems with userland programs in the base system.
conf: problems with configuration files, default values etc.
docs: problems with manual pages or on-line documentation.
i386: problems specific to the i386 platform.
ia64: problems specific to the ia64 platform.
java: problems related to Java™.
kern: problems with kernel.
misc: anything that does not fit in any of the other categories.
ports: problems relating to the ports tree.
powerpc: problems specific to the PowerPC platform.
sparc64: problems specific to the SPARC platform.
standards: Standards conformance issues.
www: Changes or enhancements to the FreeBSD website.
Class: Choose one of the following:
sw-bug: software bugs.
doc-bug: errors in documentation.
change-request: requests for additional features or changes in existing features.
update: updates to ports or other contributed software.
maintainer-update: updates to ports for which you are the maintainer.
Release: The version of FreeBSD that you are running. This is filled out automatically by send-pr(1) and need only be changed if you are sending a problem report from a different system than the one that exhibits the problem.
Finally, there is a series of multi-line fields:
Environment: This should describe, as accurately as possible, the environment in which the problem has been observed. This includes the operating system version, the version of the specific program or file that contains the problem, and any other relevant items such as system configuration, other installed software that influences the problem, etc.--quite simply everything a developer needs to know to reconstruct the environment in which the problem occurs.
Description: A complete and accurate description of the problem you are experiencing. Try to avoid speculating about the causes of the problem unless you are certain that you are on the right track, as it may mislead a developer into making incorrect assumptions about the problem.
How-To-Repeat: A summary of the actions you need to take to reproduce the problem.
Fix: Preferably a patch, or at least a workaround (which not only helps other people with the same problem work around it, but may also help a developer understand the cause for the problem), but if you do not have any firm ideas for either, it is better to leave this field blank than to speculate.
Once you are done filling out the template, have saved it, and exit your editor, send-pr(1) will prompt you with s)end, e)dit or a)bort?. You can then hit s to go ahead and submit the problem report, e to restart the editor and make further modifications, or a to abort. If you choose the latter, your problem report will remain on disk ( send-pr(1) will tell you the filename before it terminates), so you can edit it at your leisure, or maybe transfer it to a system with better net connectivity, before sending it with the -f to send-pr(1):
% send-pr -f ~/my-problem-report
This will read the specified file, validate the contents, strip comments and send it off.
This, and other documents, can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/.
For questions about FreeBSD, read the
before contacting <questions@FreeBSD.org>.
For questions about this documentation, e-mail <doc@FreeBSD.org>.
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