Version 9 (modified by simonmar, 6 years ago) (diff)


How to contribute a bug fix to GHC

Please help us fix bugs in GHC! GHC is so large, and is used in such diverse ways by so many people, that we really need your help in fixing bugs, especially those that show up in specialised situations.

There are two ways to help: the Quick Fix and the True Way.

The Quick Fix

Some bugs are easy to fix: improvements to documentation, misleading comments, poorly-worded error messages, or egregious little bugs. In these cases, please just

  • Fix the code
  • Use darcs send, or just mail a patch to cvs-ghc@…. Make sure you include in the patch description a summary of what the problem is, and the nature of your fix.

This route is easy for you, but more work for us; we have to test your fix. But it's a low-overhead route for easy fixes.

The True Way

Many bugs require a bit more work. Here's how to go about helping with a non-trivial bug.

  1. Make sure the bug is in Trac. Usually it is (that's why you are working on it), but if it's a bug you have found yourself, add it to Trac before you start work.

  2. Take ownership of the bug in Trac, by using the "Action" chunk at the bottom of the Trac bug display (you need to be logged in to see it), and putting your name in the "reassign to" box. This makes sure that two people don't work on the same bug. If you later decide you can't do it after all, remove your name.

  3. Add a test case in the regression-test suite that shows up the bug.
    • Name the test after the bug number - this is helpful for finding the bug again in the future.
    • Put the name of the test in the "Test Case" field of the Trac report.

  4. Fix the bug!
    • If your proposed fix has non-local consequences, please consult us (on cvs-ghc@…) before investing too much of your time.
    • Please follow our coding conventions
    • Comment your fix in the source code, and include a reference to the bug ticket number, e.g. "#1466" (this helps when grepping for the fix later). It is often helpful to give a small example code fragment that demonstrates the need for your fix. This isn't always relevant; sometimes you are fixing a plain error, but often it's more subtle than that.

  5. Record a patch that embodies your fix. Please follow our convention for naming patches: WorkingConventions/Darcs.

  6. Test your patch using the validation script, before you submit it. (If you have write permission to the repository, then you must validate before pushing the patch.)

  7. Submit your patch. If you don't have commit permission for the repository,
    • Use 'darcs send -o filename' to create a patch bundle
    • Attach the patch bundle to the Trac bug report
    • Add a comment to the Trac bug report to say what you've done
    • Change the owner of the bug to the GHC support engineer (currently 'igloo') This shifts responsibility to the GHC team to review and commit your patch.

If you do have commit permission, then commit, update the Trac report, and close the bug.

Then have a beer on us. We are truly grateful.