gnats - Problem Report Management System
GNATS is a bug-tracking tool designed for use at a central support
site. Software users who experience problems use tools provided with
GNATS to submit Problem Reports to the the maintainers of that
software; GNATS partially automates the tracking of these problems by:
· organizing problem reports into a database and notifying
responsible parties of suspected bugs;
· allowing support personnel and their managers to edit, query and
report on accumulated bugs; and
· providing a reliable archive of problems with a given program
and a history of the life of the program by preserving its
reported problems and their subsequent solutions.
GNATS offers many of the same features offered by more generic
databases. You can query and edit existing problem reports (PRs) as
well as obtain reports on groups of PRs. The database itself is simply
an ordered repository for problem reports; each PR receives a unique,
incremental PR number which identifies it throughout its lifetime.
Many of the primary functions available with GNATS are accessible from
within GNU Emacs.
PROBLEM REPORT STATES
PRs go through several states in their lifetimes. The set of states is
The default set of states are:
open the initial state of every PR; this means the PR
has been filed and the person or group responsible
for it has been notified of the suspected problem
analyzed the problem has been examined and work toward a
solution has begun
feedback a solution has been found and tested at the support
site, and sent to the party who reported the
problem; that party is testing the solution
closed the solution has been confirmed by the party which
In some cases, it may be necessary to suspend work on a bug; in this
case, its state changes to suspended rather than closed.
Incoming PRs are assigned an incremental serial number and filed
according to category. An index is kept concurrently to accelerate
searches of the database.
All GNATS administration and database files are located in
subdirectories of a directory associated with each database. Databases
are named, and the association between database names and directories
is described by the databases file, which is found on this system in
Problem Reports are segregated into subdirectories within the database
directory by category. For example, problems submitted with a category
of gcc will be filed in the database subdirectory gcc.
GNATS administration files are kept in the database subdirectory gnats-
addresses contains mappings between submitter IDs and
corresponding e-mail addresses
categories table of valid categories and parties responsible for
classes table of valid classes of Problem Reports
current keeps track of incremental PR numbers assigned
dbconfig describes the structure of the database, and various
lists host names and access levels of hosts authorized
to access the database
lists user names, passwords and access levels of users
authorized to access the database
index database index
locks directory containing lock files
responsible table of responsible parties and their email addresses
states table of valid states of Problem Reports
submitters database of sites which submit PRs
Administrative programs and programs internal to GNATS are kept in the
directory /usr/libexec/gnats while those meant for public use are
installed in /usr/bin.
/usr/libexec/gnats contains the programs:
mkdb used by the GNATS administrator to create a new database
mkcat used by the GNATS administrator to create new categories
rmcat used by the GNATS administrator to remove outdated
gen-index used by the GNATS administrator to generate a new
version of the index
queue-pr mail control program which accepts incoming messages and
periodically submits them to the database via cron by
feeding them through the program file-pr(8)
pr-edit program which is mainly responsible for editing existing
PRs and filing new ones; it is used by
edit-pr and file-pr
file-pr script which uses pr-edit to file new PRs
at-pr automatically notifies responsible parties if a PR is
not analyzed within a requisite period defined in the
delete-pr used to delete closed PRs
/usr/bin contains the programs
query-pr used to query the database
edit-pr used to edit individual PRs
send-pr used to submit problems to GNATS
Documentation exists for all programs associated with GNATS.
Keeping Track: Managing Messages With GNATS (also installed as the GNU
Info file gnats.info)
databases(5), dbconfig(5), delete-pr(8), edit-pr(1) file-pr(8), gen-
index(8), gnats(7), gnatsd(8), mkcat(8), mkdb(8), pr-edit(8), query-
pr(1), queue-pr(8), send-pr(1).
GNATS was greatly inspired by the BSD sendbug(1) and bugfiler(8)
programs. It was originally written in C++, Elisp, shell script, and
awk. It presently consists of utilities written in C, shell script,
GNATS was originally written by Heinz G. Seidl (Cygnus Support).
Subsequent iterations were developed by Brendan Kehoe (Cygnus Support)
and Jason Merrill (Cygnus Support), with help from Tim Wicinski.
Documentation was initially developed by Jeffrey Osier (Cygnus Support)
and Brendan Kehoe (Cygnus Support).
Version 4.x was a substantial rewrite done by Bob Manson (Juniper
Networks), Milan Zamazal and Yngve Svendsen (Clustra Systems / Sun
Copyright (c) 1992, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2003, Free Software Foundation
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