If you find a bug in NorthStar we want to hear about it. Your bug reports are essential because even though NorthStar is written with the utmost care we cannot guarantee that every part of NorthStar will work in every circumstance on every platform with every database system in the world.
The following suggestions are intended to assist you in submitting bug reports that can be handled in the most efficient fashion. No one is required to follow them but it tends to be to everyone's advantage.
We cannot promise to fix every bug right away, however, if the bug is obvious, affects a lot of users, or is of a very critical nature the chances are good that someone will look into it. You may also be asked to update to a newer version of NorthStar to see if the bug still exists, or we could decide that the bug is simply too hard to fix and there are more important things on the agenda. If you need help immediately, please consider obtaining a commercial support contract.
Before you report a bug to us, please check the documentation to make sure that you can really do whatever it is you are trying. If it is not clear in the documentation whether you can do something or not, please report that too; it is a bug in the documentation. If NorthStar does something different from what the documentation says, it is a bug. This may include things like:
The program terminates with some sort of error message that would point to a problem in the program. (Please don't send bug reports on errors like "disk full". This is something you have to fix yourself.)
The program produces the wrong output for some given input
The program does not accept valid input
The program accepts invalid input without a notice or error message. Keep in mind that your idea of invalid input might be our idea of an extension or compatibility.
One of the most important things to remember about reporting bugs is to state all the facts and only the facts. Remember that even though something may look insignificant to you, it could be the key to solving the problem or helping to do so when a person familiar with the implementation see's it. Most of the time reporting the facts requires nothing more then a cut and paste from the screen, but often important details are left out or are thought to be assumed.
The following items should be contained in every bug report:
The exact sequence of steps required to reproduce the problem. This means don't just send an error message from your webserver logs without telling us what you were trying to do.
The exact error message(s) that you got. This includes error messages shown directly to you by NorthStar and indirect messages that may be in your webserver error log.
A listing of the options in your config file will help solve lot's of problems. Please do not send us your Database passwords, we don't want them.
VERSIONS, VERSIONS, VERSIONS. Please send us versions for everything. We cannot help if you don't include version numbers of the software your running. This includes but is not limited to the version numbers of: NorthStar, Perl, DBI/DBD Drivers, Apache, Operating System, etc. If you are running a version of NorthStar that is older then the current release we will most likely tell you to upgrade. Each new release contains bugfixes, this is why we make new releases ;-)
Report everything the first time, even if your bug report gets lengthy. This will keep us from having to play email tag trying to squeeze out more information.