Day eight – Launchpad Bugs by email

Happy new year and welcome to the eighth day of Launchpad! Today we’re looking at one of the ways you can use Launchpad without having to fire up a web browser: Launchpad Bugs’ email interface.

Unless you’re totally new to Launchpad Bugs, you’ve already seen one side of the bug tracker’s email interface each time you get a notification about a bug. Before you can start filing bugs and manipulating existing reports by email, you’ll need to register your GPG key with Launchpad. Every email you send to the bug tracker must be from an address registered in Launchpad account and signed using a key that Launchpad knows about.

Okay, so let’s get going. First off, let’s report a new bug by sending an email like this:

Subject: Foobar does X when it should do Y

Every time I try to do X in Foobar I find it actually does Y.

affects foobar

It’s pretty obvious what’s going on here: the subject in your new bug report’s summary and the body is the body of your bug report. Ah, but what’s that at end of the body?

affects foobar

Launchpad gives you several commands that you can use in the body of the email. They’ll only work, though, if you put a space at the start of the line and you can only use one command per line. In this case, affects foobar tells Launchpad that the bug you’re reporting is to do with the project foobar. If you’re reporting a bug about a distro package — let’s imagine the foobar project has a package in Ubuntu — you’d use the distro name, followed by a forward slash and then the package name:

affects ubuntu/foobar

So, what about existing bug reports? If you’re dealing with one bug at a time, you can either reply to the bug mail Launchpad sends you or send a new mail to Let’s say that your bug report was assigned number 1234 and you want to add a comment:

Subject: Here's a screen shot file

I've attached a screen shot, if that helps.

The subject is the comment’s summary and the body is the comment itself. The comment says that you’ve attached a screen shot: yep, simply attach a file to your email and Launchpad will attach it to the comment.

There’s much more you can do with the email interface. In fact, pretty much anything you can to do a bug report using Launchpad’s web interface you can also do by email. Changing a bug’s status? Simple, add the line:

status fixreleased

What about assigning a bug to someone?

assignee matthew.revell

Mark a bug as a duplicate of bug 42:

duplicate 42

Target it to a milestone:

milestone 1.2

There’s more: check out our help guide for full details.

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