Debian bug tracking software

The Debian bug tracking system is a set of scripts which maintain a database of problem reports.

Key features:

The scripts have been parameterised so that they can be used for other projects besides Debian; however, for a feel of what the results are like please see my local mirror of the Debian Project bug database, which also contains the system's user documentation.

The system runs on Unix and expects to have its own (possibly `virtual') mail domain, with the MTA for the host system being configured to pass mail for the bug system to it via a pipe command. You will need a fairly complete modern Unix installation to use it; most of the code is written in Perl5. A full list of requirements is in the README.


Available here are:


I have set up two mailinglists debbugs-announce and debbugs-discuss. The announcements list is moderated and will contain only announcements of important bugs, new versions, &c.

To subscribe, go to the list management pages or send mail containing the word subscribe to or


In 1994 the Debian Project needed a system for keeping track of outstanding bugs. There didn't appear to be anything which met our requirements (GNATS, the GNU offering, seemed overly complex in the wrong areas, and had only very rudimentary email support), so I wrote a rudimentary system. Since then the system has grown fairly organically, and now has a fairly rich feature set.

nCipher, my employers since 1997, needed a similar system, and they agreed to have me parameterise (on company time) the system so that it could be used for other projects including their own.

Projects using the system

I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know at if you decide to use this system.


Copyright 1994-1997 Ian Jackson.
Copyright 1997 nCipher Corporation Limited.
Copyright 1995 Steven Brenner (for

The Debian bug tracking system is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program and documentation is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but without any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with the system, or one should be available above; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA, or email

Ian Jackson /; more free software.

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