Appendix E. Bugs and Bug Fixes

There are no perfect programs. GNU Emacs is very thoroughly debugged, but it is certainly possible to find things that don’t work correctly. While writing this book, the authors managed to make Emacs “dump core” at least once; and--time for a confession—like most users, we never reported the problem: we went on with our work.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is very responsive to problem reports. However, they need to be real problem reports; simple differences of opinion about how something should work are not bugs. If you think that a certain command should work differently, remember that Emacs has been around for a long time and has many users; it can’t be changed to satisfy a single user. In the GNU Emacs Manual, the FSF publishes some excellent guidelines for reporting bugs, which we’ll summarize very quickly:

  • You most certainly have a bug if you run into some kind of system error (Emacs dumps core, terminates with a segmentation fault, or does something else antisocial).

  • When reporting bugs, be as specific as possible. A few commands will help you report exactly what was happening when things went awry. C-h l (for view-lossage) reports the last 100 or so keystrokes you made; ESC : (open-dribble-file <">filename<">) saves every keystroke you type in the specified filename; and ESC : (open-termscript <">filename <">) saves every key you type and every character sent to the screen in the specified filename.

  • The FSF discourages you from trying to ...

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