Thursday, January 2, 2014

LibreOffice 4.2: Better Windows bug reports

If you are not a programmer, and still want to help LibreOffice, there are many ways; one of them is submitting good bug reports. And a good bug report means a report with as much information as possible - one that contains the exact version, file(s) that caused the issue, description of the steps that lead to the problem.

In case LibreOffice crashes for you (sorry for that! - we are trying hard to avoid such situations, but it still may happen), and you are on Windows, description of the problem used to be all you were able to do - but now you can do more: you can attach a backtrace, and help the developers tremendously.

What is a backtrace? It is a log describing where exactly the program failed. It used to be very hard to get one on Windows, as you had to build your own LibreOffice.

Now it is much easier - you can provide such backtraces either using the official builds starting with LibreOffice 4.2.0rc1, or using the daily builds, without the need to build anything - you can just connect to a so called symbols server, and that's it.

Official releases

Just install LibreOffice 4.2.0rc1 (or later when available), and follow the information on the How to get a backtrace wiki page, it will lead you through the process. Thank you +Christian Lohmaier so much for setting that up!

Daily builds

I have updated my tinderbox to produce daily builds that are ready for debugging too. If you see a crash, it is worth checking if it happens in the most recent daily builds too - so installing this will allow you to check it, and directly provide a backtrace too.

Please try it out - I am looking forward to seeing backtraces in the your bugreports. In case you have trouble with the How to get a backtrace description, or the process itself, please let me know - or improve the page yourself; it is wiki, after all :-)

Oh, and all this wouldn't be possible without Luboš Luňák, +Fridrich Strba and others who have helped to connect various pieces together - thank you!