Submitting a Bug Report to FreeBSD

Written By: Jake Bauer | Posted: 2020-05-09 | Last Updated: 2020-05-09

Today I installed and started using a FreeBSD system for the first time. I had previously run through the installation and played around with it in a virtual machine, but this time the plan is to keep it on the system for at least a little while.

On every system I own, I install either Vim or NeoVim depending on what is available. On FreeBSD, when I went to pkg install vim, it reported that it would use an extra 709MiB of space and would pull in a bunch of X and wayland libraries! I then checked pkg install neovim and it reported that it would only use an extra 29MiB of space. Being the FreeBSD newb that I am, I went ahead and installed the neovim package and then posted about my experience on Mastodon.

Within a couple hours, it was pointed out to me that there is actually a vim-console package which doesn’t include the graphical libraries and is packaged specifically for use in the console only. In hindsight, this makes perfect sense, but coming from Linux where Vim is usually packaged as vim for the console version and vim-gtk for the graphical version, this didn’t even cross my mind. Especially since neovim behaved as I expected it to.

After some further discussion, it was suggested by @Evilham that I submit a bug report about the difference in naming convention between the vim and neovim packages. I thought this was a great idea and is exactly the right thing to do when an issue such as this is identified. I created my account on bugs.freebsd.org and reported the bug.

It was, overall, a really painless process. Many people dislike when they have to create an account for each project just to report bugs but, with a password manager like KeepassXC, it’s really easy to create and then store a lot of these accounts. Reporting the bug was also super intuitive with the quick links available on the front page of their Bugzilla instance. Plus, the suggestion from @Evilham of what to write made me more confident that I was giving a quality bug report.

Will this be the start of my becoming a FreeBSD contributor?

This is my fifteenth post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at https://100daystooffload.com.