Reporting Bugs in Ubuntu Server Edition

While the Ubuntu Project attempts to release software with as few bugs as possible, they do occur. You can help fix these bugs by reporting ones that you find to the project. The Ubuntu Project uses Launchpad to track its bug reports. In order to file a bug about Ubuntu Server on Launchpad, you will need to create an account.

Reporting Bugs With ubuntu-bug

The preferred way to report a bug is with the ubuntu-bug command. The ubuntu-bug tool gathers information about the system useful to developers in diagnosing the reported problem that will then be included in the bug report filed on Launchpad. Bug reports in Ubuntu need to be filed against a specific software package, thus the name of the package that the bug occurs in needs to be given to ubuntu-bug:

ubuntu-bug PACKAGENAME

For example, to file a bug against the openssh-server package, you would do:

ubuntu-bug openssh-server

You can specify either a binary package or the source package for ubuntu-bug. Again using openssh-server as an example, you could also generate the report against the source package for openssh-server, openssh:

ubuntu-bug openssh

See Package Management for more information about packages in Ubuntu.

The ubuntu-bug command will gather information about the system in question, possibly including information specific to the specified package, and then ask you what you would like to do with collected information:

ubuntu-bug postgresql

*** Collecting problem information

The collected information can be sent to the developers to improve the
application. This might take a few minutes.

*** Send problem report to the developers?

After the problem report has been sent, please fill out the form in the
automatically opened web browser.

What would you like to do? Your options are:
  S: Send report (1.7 KiB)
  V: View report
  K: Keep report file for sending later or copying to somewhere else
  C: Cancel
Please choose (S/V/K/C):

The options available are:

  • Send Report Selecting Send Report submits the collected information to Launchpad as part of the the process of filing a bug report. You will be given the opportunity to describe the situation that led up to the occurrence of the bug.

    *** Uploading problem information
    The collected information is being sent to the bug tracking system.
    This might take a few minutes.
    *** To continue, you must visit the following URL:
    You can launch a browser now, or copy this URL into a browser on another
      1: Launch a browser now
      C: Cancel
    Please choose (1/C):

    If you choose to start a browser, by default the text based web browser w3m will be used to finish filing the bug report. Alternately, you can copy the given URL to a currently running web browser.

  • View Report Selecting View Report causes the collected information to be displayed to the terminal for review.

    Package: postgresql 8.4.2-2
    PackageArchitecture: all
    Tags: lucid
    ProblemType: Bug
    Uname: Linux 2.6.32-16-server x86_64
      adduser 3.112ubuntu1
      base-files 5.0.0ubuntu10
      base-passwd 3.5.22
      coreutils 7.4-2ubuntu2

    After viewing the report, you will be brought back to the same menu asking what you would like to do with the report.

  • Keep Report File Selecting Keep Report File causes the gathered information to be written to a file. This file can then be used to later file a bug report or transferred to a different Ubuntu system for reporting. To submit the report file, simply give it as an argument to the ubuntu-bug command:

    What would you like to do? Your options are:
      S: Send report (1.7 KiB)
      V: View report
      K: Keep report file for sending later or copying to somewhere else
      C: Cancel
    Please choose (S/V/K/C): k
    Problem report file: /tmp/apport.postgresql.v4MQas.apport
    ubuntu-bug /tmp/apport.postgresql.v4MQas.apport
    *** Send problem report to the developers?
  • Cancel Selecting Cancel causes the collected information to be discarded.

Reporting Application Crashes

The software package that provides the ubuntu-bug utility, apport, can be configured to trigger when applications crash. This is disabled by default, as capturing a crash can be resource intensive depending on how much memory the application that crashed was using as apport captures and processes the core dump.

Configuring apport to capture information about crashing applications requires a couple of steps. First, gdb needs to be installed; it is not installed by default in Ubuntu Server Edition.

sudo apt-get install gdb

See Package Management for more information about managing packages in Ubuntu.

Once you have ensured that gdb is installed, open the file /etc/default/apport in your text editor, and change the enabled setting to be 1 like so:

# set this to 0 to disable apport, or to 1 to enable it
# you can temporarily override this with
# sudo service apport start force_start=1

# set maximum core dump file size (default: 209715200 bytes == 200 MB)

Once you have completed editing /etc/default/apport, start the apport service:

sudo start apport

After an application crashes, use the apport-cli command to search for the existing saved crash report information:


*** dash closed unexpectedly on 2010-03-11 at 21:40:59.

If you were not doing anything confidential (entering passwords or other
private information), you can help to improve the application by
the problem.

What would you like to do? Your options are:
  R: Report Problem...
  I: Cancel and ignore future crashes of this program version
  C: Cancel
Please choose (R/I/C):

Selecting Report Problem will walk you through similar steps as when using ubuntu-bug. One important difference is that a crash report will be marked as private when filed on Launchpad, meaning that it will be visible to only a limited set of bug triagers. These triagers will review the gathered data for private information before making the bug report publicly visible.


  • See the Reporting Bugs Ubuntu wiki page.

  • Also, the Apport page has some useful information. Though some of it pertains to using a GUI.