Reporting Bugs and Requesting Enhancements
Sad to say, no version of GIMP
has yet been absolutely perfect. Even sadder, it is likely that no version
ever will be. In spite of all efforts to make everything work, a program
as complicated as GIMP
is bound to screw things up occasionally, or even crash.
But the fact that bugs are unavoidable does not mean that they should be
passively accepted. If you find a bug in GIMP, the
developers would like to know about it so they can at least try to fix it.
Suppose, then, that you have found a bug, or at least think you have: you
try to do something, and the results are not what you expect. What should
you do? How should you report it?
The procedure for making an enhancement
request–that is, for asking the developers to add a
missing feature–is nearly the same as the procedure for
reporting a bug. The only thing you do differently is to mark the
report as an “enhancement” at the appropriate stage, as
In common with many other free software projects,
GIMP uses a bug-reporting mechanism called
This is a very powerful web-based system, capable of managing thousands
of bug reports without losing track. In fact, GIMP
shares its Bugzilla database with the entire Gnome project. At the time
this is being written, Gnome Bugzilla contains 148632 bug reports–no, make
Making sure it's a Bug
The first thing you should do, before reporting a bug, is to make
an effort to verify that what you are seeing really
is a bug. It is hard to give a method for
doing this that applies to all situations, but reading the
documentation will often be useful, and discussing the question on
IRC or a mailing list may also be quite helpful. If you are
seeing a crash, as opposed to mere
misbehavior, the odds that it is a true bug are pretty high: well
written software programs are not designed to crash under
any circumstances. In any case, if you have
made an conscientious effort to decide whether it is really a bug,
and at the end still aren't sure, then please go ahead and report
it: the worst that can happen is that you will waste a bit of
time for the development team.
Actually there are a few things that are known to cause
crash but have turned out to be too inconvenient to be worth
fixing. One of them is asking GIMP to do
something that requires vast amounts of memory, such as creating an
image one million pixels on a side.
You should also make sure that you are using an up-to-date version
of GIMP: reporting bugs that have already been
fixed is just a waste of everybody's time. (GIMP 1
is no longer maintained, so if you use it and find bugs, either
upgrade to GIMP 2 or live with
them.) Particularly if you are using the development version of
GIMP, make sure that you can see the bug in the
latest release before filing a report.
If after due consideration you still think you have a legitimate
bug report or enhancement request, the next step is to go to
GIMP's bugzilla query page
and try to see whether somebody else has already reported the same
thing. The query page allows you to search the bug database in a
variety of ways. Unfortunately this page is a bit more
complicated to use than it really ought to be, but here is
basically what you should do:
In this page, some items are hyperlinks leading to detailed help.
Set this to “contains any of the words/strings”.
(the adjoining entry area)
Give one or more words that somebody would be likely to use in
writing a one-sentence summary of a bug similar to yours. For
example, if the problem is that zooming too much causes
crash, the word “zoom” would be good.
Set this to “GIMP”
Component:, Version:, Target:
Don't do anything for these.
For now, leave this alone. If your search does not turn up
anything, it might be worth entering your search terms in the
“comment” area here, but this often turns out to
give you either great masses of stuff or nothing.
This field encodes the status of a bug report: whether it is still
open, has been resolved, etc. You want to see all relevant bug
reports, regardless of status, so you should hold down the mouse
and sweep it across all entries. Leaving it alone will not work.
When you have set these things up, click on the “Search”
either the top or bottom; they both do the same thing. The result is
either a list of bug reports–hopefully not too long–or a message saying
“Zarro boogs found”. If you don't find a related bug
report by doing
this, it may be worth trying another search with different terms. If in
spite of your best efforts, you file a bug report and it ends up being
resolved as “Duplicate”, don't be too upset: it has
happened repeatedly to the author of this documentation, who works with
GIMP Bugzilla nearly every day.