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52.1 Reading Existing Bug Reports and Known Problems

Before reporting a bug, if at all possible please check to see if it is already known about. Indeed, it may already have been fixed in a later release of Emacs, or in the development version. Here is a list of the main places you can read about known issues:

  • The etc/PROBLEMS file; type C-h C-p to read it. This file contains a list of particularly well-known issues that have been encountered in compiling, installing and running Emacs. Often, there are suggestions for workarounds and solutions.

  • The GNU Bug Tracker at Emacs bugs are filed in the tracker under the ‘emacs’ package. The tracker records information about the status of each bug, the initial bug report, and the follow-up messages by the bug reporter and Emacs developers. You can search for bugs by subject, severity, and other criteria.

    Instead of browsing the bug tracker as a webpage, you can browse it from Emacs using the debbugs package, which can be downloaded via the Package Menu (see Packages). This package provides the command M-x debbugs-gnu to list bugs, and M-x debbugs-gnu-search to search for a specific bug. User tags, applied by the Emacs maintainers, are shown by M-x debbugs-gnu-usertags.

  • The ‘bug-gnu-emacs’ mailing list (also available as the newsgroup ‘gnu.emacs.bug’). You can read the list archives at This list works as a mirror of the Emacs bug reports and follow-up messages which are sent to the bug tracker. It also contains old bug reports from before the bug tracker was introduced (in early 2008).

    If you like, you can subscribe to the list. Be aware that its purpose is to provide the Emacs maintainers with information about bugs and feature requests, so reports may contain fairly large amounts of data; spectators should not complain about this.

  • The ‘emacs-pretest-bug’ mailing list. This list is no longer used, and is mainly of historical interest. At one time, it was used for bug reports in development (i.e., not yet released) versions of Emacs. You can read the archives for 2003 to mid 2007 at Nowadays, it is an alias for ‘bug-gnu-emacs’.

  • The ‘emacs-devel’ mailing list. Sometimes people report bugs to this mailing list. This is not the main purpose of the list, however, and it is much better to send bug reports to the bug list. You should not feel obliged to read this list before reporting a bug.