Guidelines for bug reporting

This is meant as a collection for how to make a useful bug report, either as an issue on our GitLab server or as an email to one of our mailing lists. Bug report is meant in a wide sense: the information we request here is often also useful when you just want to ask a question. Also note that these are guidelines: for instance, when you report a problem with the webpage you don’t have to tell us the version of your compiler.

When you are unable to obtain some piece of information requested here, or it would require much work, please tell us so. Often, this already gives us some leads about your original problem, and at other times we may know a better way to obtain that information.

A usual bug report should observe the following points:

  • Keep the discussion on the list
  • Provide a problem description
  • Provide unabbreviated log files
  • Provide the version of your compiler
  • Provide the versions of your Dune modules

This guide may list more points, but generally the above should be a good start.

Keep the discussion on the list

Often other people have problems similar to yours, or other developers on the list may have a better idea of how to solve your problem than the guy you have been communicating with all the time. There are exceptions of course: if we request some data that is either too big or too confidential to send to the list, you can send it privately to whoever requested it, but please send a note to the list that you did so, so the others are not kept totally in the dark.

The same applies to the bug-tracker, of course.

Provide a problem description

“Dune does not compile” does not give us many clues as to what the problem is. We need to know exactly how you tried to compile, that means for instance

  • the command, e.g. dunecontrol --module=dune-foo all or make all, and the directory you were in when you executed the command
  • if you used an options file for dunecontrol, the contents of that file
  • if you just clicked a button in your IDE, what IDE you used and which button it was

We need to know exactly what went wrong:

  • If there was an error message, give us the full error message
  • If there was no error message, tell us so, and also tell us how you noticed that something was wrong

Provide unabbreviated log files

If something went wrong, there is often some output that can help to determine the exact problem. If you run a compilation command like dunecontrol or make, provide us with the complete output of that command. Yes, it is a lot of information, but it often contains some clues that we recognize. It is OK (and often even preferable) to give this logfile as an attachment. If you are nice, you can even compress it, but please use gzip or bzip2, if possible.

If you must, you can remove confidential information from those logfiles, but please replace it by something like “[CENSORED]” and explain what you removed (“I replaced all password by [CENSORED]”) so we know what is missing.

Provide the version of your compiler

If you don’t know which compiler is being used, look at the output that is generated during compilation. It will probably contain lines that have the name of compiler somewhere in the beginning. Common compiler names include:

  • cc
  • gcc
  • c++
  • CC
  • g++
  • icc
  • clang++
  • xlc
  • Any of the above with a version number appended, e.g. g++-4.3
  • Any of the above with a path prepended, e.g. /opt/gcc/bin/g++

Once you have figured out what is probably your compiler, ask it for the exact version: open a terminal and type g++ --version (substitute the name of your compiler for g++). Send us the output of that command.

Provide the versions of your Dune modules

  • If you used some tarball or downloadable distribution package, tell us the complete URL of the package download.

  • If your distribution provided the package via its package management system, tell us which distribution you use, which release of that distribution you use and the package version.

  • If you use Dune modules from Git, tell us from which branch and commit. You can get this information by running git branch and git log -1 | grep '^commit ', respectively.

Please give us the versions of all relevant Dune modules, not just the one where the problem occurred. Please also give us similar information for external libraries you have compiled Dune with, e.g. UG, ALUGrid, Alberta.

CMakeOutput.log and CMakeError.log

One of the steps when the buildsystem is generated is to run CMake in the build directory of each modules directory tree (by default the build directory is called build-cmake). CMake checks the system for the presence or absence of different features and generates all those lines beginning with -- Check for or -- Performing Test in the compilation output. It also writes a logfile CMakeFiles/CMakeOutput.log (and in case of errors CMakeFiles/CMakeError.log) in the build directory.

When there is a problem with CMake, we usually want to see these logfiles in addition to the output generated when compiling. Please observe the point about unabbreviated logfiles.

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