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How to get your bugs solved in Debian+KDE

Imagine you have found a bug in your Debian running KDE, a nasty one, and you want to get it resolved. What you should do?

This is centered on KDE and Debian but most of it is useful in general.

First Case: You have a problem and you have no idea whether it is a bug or not. Even worse, you don't know which package to report it to.

This happens more often than you might believe; it even happens to experienced people. Your first step should be to checking user forums and mailing lists [0] to see if someone else has encountered the same issue. You might find that your problem is already known (and maybe easy to solve).

In the case that you do not find your problem there, then you can ask for help and post a mail or message explaining your problem. Pick one mailing list or forum board, the one you think is more appropriate, then post your issue there. The most detailed you are about your problem, the bigger is the likelihood of you obtaining help.

It could happen that:

  • you are told how to solve your problem. yay \o/
  • your problem is not a real bug in Debian/KDE and you learn why.
  • your problem is not solved, but you are at least pointed to the software that is causing it.
  • you do not get any answer.

If you do not get any answer it might be that nobody got into the same problem and they do not how to help you. But it is also possible you were not clear about your problem. Also, you need to be patient; it is unlikely someone will answer your question 2 minutes after you posted it.

If you find out more about your problem, it is a good idea to send another email or post updating your first message. If after 5-7 days you do not get any answer, you can try asking for help in another forum or mailing list.

If you are given pointers to what software is causing the problem you can go to the second case.

Mailing lists:


Second case: You know where the problem is. Where you should report your bug?

First, you should check in both the Debian and the KDE bug tracking systems [1] to see if the bug is already reported. If that is the case, and you are able to give more information about it, update the bug report.

If the bug is not reported, then report it in the KDE bug tracking system if you think it is a problem in the application or in the Debian BTS if it is a packaging problem. If you're not sure what kind of bug it is, you can go to the first case (in the beginning of this post) and ask in the users forums and mailing lists [0].

However, you won't always get it right, and in some cases you will be pointed to the other bug tracking system. Do not take it personally; KDE developers can not help you with packaging problems and Debian packagers can't always help you with the application bugs.

It might be that your problem is solved in the development version, so if possible check what is going on in the development version before report.

When reporting the problem, give all the details you can about your problem. If you can detail the steps to reproduce the bug, even better. Also, if you are asked for more information, reply the best you can. Somebody is trying to help you. Be nice !:)

Also, remember to be patient when reporting bugs or being asked for more information: both KDE and Debian are big projects with a lot of traffic on their respective bug reporting systems (esp. KDE), so sometimes there is not a quick reply from the developers.


In Debian, a lot of people report upstream issues in the bug tracking system and they think it is good and what they have to do. The truth is that in a very few cases, such as security bugs or data loss bugs, this is a good idea. But most of the time it is not useful to report problems to the people who can not solve them. Do not expect Debian/KDE maintainers to forward your problem upstream (a problem which they may well not be able to reproduce), then back to you when upstream ask for more information, then back with the information to upstream... it is time consuming and we have big (wo)manpower problems.

In any case, if you think the bug is very important and should be in the Debian BTS, you can report it in Debian as well as reporting it to KDE. Make sure you mention the KDE bug in the Debian bug.

Third case: your problem is not a bug, just a feature request.

Until now, I have talked about bugs, when you find something that is clearly not working right in your system. But what about when you want to ask for a new feature in a piece of software?

In very few cases this belongs in a Debian wish list. Most feature requests apply upstream and you should tell the about your idea. If you do not tell them, it is unlikely they will implement it. Still, after reporting, you should accept it if upstream thinks it is not a good idea or it is not interested enough to implement it.

Post updated on the 30th September, thanks to Rupert Swarbrick for grammar fixes.


In short: what is It is an unofficial news website where you can read and submit news about what is going on in the Debian project.

I have always missed having something similar to "KDE Dot News" in Debian. I refer to KDE's news place because it is the project I more closely follow after Debian, but there are similar news websites for other projects such as Ubuntu's Fridge.
The Debian project has but this is just a HTML version of the announce mailing lists.

For a long time, debian-devel-announce and debian-announce were enough but they are reserved to the very important stuff (at least they are supposed to) that is mandatory for developers to know. With the project growing over the years, every day we generate interesting bits about our project that are nice to know, but it is not always so important that it justifies an email to announce. This information usually ends split between:

  • personal blogs aggregated onto Planet. (Not everybody follows Debian Planet.)
  • several Debian mailing lists. (No-one is able to follow all the mails in all the mailing lists.)
  • changelog files of packages. (Nobody reads debian-devel-changes to know about uploads of major new version of software.)
  • IRC. (Not everybody is in IRC, and even people are unlikely to read everything.)

Several solutions were tried to solve this problem:

  • Debian Weekly News and Debian Project News. These keep a format that require too much work to maintain and they are currently not being published (although there is some work going on to rectify this). In addition, as they take some time in being published they often carried news items that are more than one week old, and thus did not qualify as "news" anymore.
  • This was an very interesting step in the right direction IMHO, but it was 90% aggregated content from other sources and submitting contributions was not easy.
  • Great idea but microblogging has some limitations: maximum length of the messages, no comment system, only DDs with their key at hand can send messages, ugly short URLs, ...
  • Developers news in debian-devel-announce. Similar to Debian Weekly News, to make it worthwhile, you have to wait until you can aggregate few news items together which can result in the oldest news is not being really "new" anymore.

Finally, you have other different websites that are merely content aggregation from several sources, such as

What I was missing is a place to that allow people submit content easily (email, quick web form, and if you are really interested, publishing rights!), with short news (several lines, but not long but not so short as Twitter) and links to the interesting stuff for the rest of the project.

Examples of content I would like to have in

  • Small updates about uploads of an important version of new software, for example: KDE 4.3 has been uploaded to unstable or you have Python 3000 in experimental if you want to play with it. Obviously, and upload of KDE 4.3.1 or Python 3.0.1 are not interesting news.
  • Summaries of Debian Meetings. From time to time Debian teams meet and take decisions, some send an email to debian-devel-announce, some don't. In any case, it would be interesting for all the project to know about them and their most important results. And of course, thanks to the sponsors.
  • Also, having a place to to publish interesting stuff such as DebConf videos or schedules. Yes, there is a DebConf blog, but as personal anecdote, when I wanted to make the schedule public it did not look easy to me find out how to publish stuff there and I decide to write about it on my own blog instead...
  • News about Debian running in new and exotic hardware.
  • Very short articles about companies and institutions using Debian.
  • Links to the most interesting posts of Debian contributors in Planet about Debian infrastructure improvements. Or, if it is the case, to a mail in the web archives.
  • ... I am sure there are more examples, but this is what I can think of now :)

I will keep publishing/linking to the interesting stuff I see on Planet and on mailing lists but I do not read everything. If you have any interesting news you want to publish, please submit it. In the future, it would be nice to reach approximately 50% selected content from other sources (eg. personal posts from Planet) and 50% generated content.

If you have any comments, want to be an editor or want to help with the site design/theme (it can be highly improved), please drop me an email.

DebConf provisional schedule draft and holidays

Good news, the DebConf provisional schedule is finally available. If you see any problem, please, let us to know at

If you are interested in Debian and Free Software and close to Cáceres, you are very welcome to come to the Debian Open Day on 24th July. The schedule for the Open Day is still not closed but you can see some of the planned talks already.

They were 2 long days trying to put it all together. What I was planning to do last weekend was mostly planning my holidays through Iceland, but ended doing this instead. Funnily, what Andreas Tille was mostly planning to do in the weekend was the DebConf scheduling, but he spend some hours in the saturday writing a mail about Iceland that has almost become my planning for the holidays :)
He documented his mail with some of his great pictures. If you were amazed by earlier pictures of Iceland in Planet Debian, check Andreas' !

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