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Bug Hunting with Cisco - Help Us Improve Our Software Quality

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Oct 4, 2012 11:14 AM
Oct 4th, 2012

What do you do if you think you're running into a bug? Cisco makes it possible for you to report bugs yourself. Learn how, and find out how your contributions help us improve our software.

Cisco publishes its bugs.  Before opening a TAC Support Case, use Bug Toolkit to search for known bugs that match your problem.  It could be a known issue, and software may already be available from Cisco that has the fix.

Open a TAC Support Case.  This is one of the best ways to raise visibility of a bug within Cisco.  This is even true with known bugs.  Customer found bugs have priority over internally found bugs, and bugs with multiple cases linked to them have even higher priority.  The TAC Engineer who owns your case is responsible for tracking the progress of the bug, down to making sure the software provided actually fixes the problem.

If you have doubts about opening a case for a bug, consider whether other people could potentially encounter the bug you found.

Consider also opening a TAC Support Case if you encountered a problem, upgraded your software, and the problem went away.  We may be able to find the bugid you encountered.  Based on your experience, we may be able to better document the bug so that others can more easily find it.

Make sure your TAC Engineer links your case to the appropriate bug(s) - new or existing.  These linkages are part of our formal bug process and are tracked carefully.  Your case should be linked even if:

- the bug is already linked to another case -- the more cases linked to a bug, the higher its visibility

- the bug is already fixed -- it helps us to better see the impact of the bug to the field

- the bug has a workaround -- will the workaround be acceptable to everyone who encounters this bug?

- the bug status is "Unreproducible" -- maybe even re-open the bug if you can provide details to help us reproduce the problem

- the bug is "internal" -- if you have encountered the problem, then the TAC Engineer can change it to customer found

Use Bug Toolkit to track any bugid given to you or that you find.  Read the "Bug Details" (you may also see this referred to as the "Release-note").  Ask for an explanation from your TAC Engineer if it doesn't sound like your problem.  Feel free to make suggestions for improvements.

In order to fix a bug and/or verify the fix, it often helps for us to be able to reproduce the bug.  Be prepared to provide as much data from the incident as possible!  This can include things like:

- output of "show tech-support"

- logs (on-box and off-box)

- crashinfo(s) and/or core file(s)

- sniffer capture(s)

- topology diagram

- a list of things (config, hardware, software, topology, network traffic) which changed at or near the time of the incident

- list of any previous cases with a similar problem that did not result in a bug report being filed

Not all recreates are successful.  The more relevant data you can provide, the easier it will be for TAC to narrow down the affected feature, the conditions necessary for the bug to occur, and the trigger, which helps in reproducing the bug and fixing the bug more quickly.

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Posted October 4, 2012 at 11:14 AM
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