I've been using reportbug in novice mode on Debian 9 and needed to cancel the report because no editor was installed (on a Docker image).

The last interaction was

Submit this report on postgresql (e to edit) [y|n|a|c|E|i|l|m|p|q|d|t|s|?]? n
Saving a backup of the report at /tmp/reportbug-postgresql-backup-20180226-11446-cwjfs5eu
Bug report written as /tmp/reportbug-postgresql-20180226-11446-mrfjtcvz

Now, I don't seem to find a way to open the draft again based on the output of reportbug --help (draftpath seems to be for storage of new drafts only):

Usage: reportbug [options] 

  --version             show program's version number and exit
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -c, --no-config-files
                        do not include conffiles in report
  -C CLASS, --class=CLASS
                        specify report class for GNATS BTSes
  -d, --debug           send report only to yourself
  --test                operate in test mode (maintainer use only)
  -e EDITOR, --editor=EDITOR
                        specify an editor for your report
  -f SEARCHFOR, --filename=SEARCHFOR
                        report the bug against the package containing the
                        specified file
                        parse information from buildd format: $source_$version
  --path                only search the path with -f
  -g, --gnupg, --gpg    sign report with GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG/gpg)
  -G, --gnus            send the report using Gnus
  --pgp                 sign report with Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)
  -K KEYID, --keyid=KEYID
                        key ID to use for PGP/GnuPG signatures
  -H HEADERS, --header=HEADERS
                        add a custom RFC2822 header to your report
  -P PSEUDOS, --pseudo-header=PSEUDOS
                        add a custom pseudo-header to your report
  --license             show copyright and license information
  -m, --maintonly       send the report to the maintainer only
  -M, --mutt            send the report using mutt
  --mirror=MIRRORS      add a BTS mirror
  -n, --mh, --nmh       send the report using mh/nmh
  -N, --bugnumber       specify a bug number to look for
  --mua=MUA             send the report using the specified mail user agent
  --mta=MTA             send the report using the specified mail transport
  --list-cc=LISTCC      send a copy to the specified address
  -p, --print           output the report to standard output only
  --report-quiet        file report without any mail to the maintainer or
                        tracking lists
  -q, --quiet           reduce the verbosity of the output
  -s SUBJECT, --subject=SUBJECT
                        the subject for your report
  -x, --no-cc           do not send a copy of the report to yourself
  -z, --no-compress     do not strip blank lines and comments from config
  -o OUTFILE, --output=OUTFILE
                        output the report to the specified file (both mail
                        headers and body)
  -O, --offline         disable all external queries
  -i INCLUDE, --include=INCLUDE
                        include the specified file in the report
                        attach the specified file to the report
  -b, --no-query-bts    do not query the BTS for reports
  --query-bts           query the BTS for reports
  -T TAGS, --tag=TAGS   add the specified tag to the report
  --http_proxy=HTTP_PROXY, --proxy=HTTP_PROXY
                        use this proxy for HTTP accesses
  --email=EMAIL         specify originating email address
  --realname=REALNAME   specify real name for your report
  --smtphost=SMTPHOST   specify SMTP server for mailing
  --tls                 use TLS to talk to SMTP servers
  --source, --src       report the bug against the source package
  --smtpuser=SMTPUSER   username to use for SMTP
                        password to use for SMTP
  --replyto=REPLYTO, --reply-to=REPLYTO
                        specify Reply-To address for your report
  --query-source        query on source packages, not binary packages
  --no-query-source     query on binary packages only
  --security-team       send the report only to the security team, if
  --no-security-team    do not send the report only to the security team, if
  --debconf             include debconf settings in your report
  --no-debconf          exclude debconf settings from your report
                        include justification for the severity of your report
  -V PKGVERSION, --package-version=PKGVERSION
                        specify the version number for the package
                        choose which user interface to use
  -Q, --query-only      only query the BTS
  -t TYPE, --type=TYPE  choose the type of report to file
  -B BTS, --bts=BTS     choose BTS to file the report with
  -S SEVERITY, --severity=SEVERITY
                        identify the severity of the report
  --template            output a template report only
  --configure           reconfigure reportbug for this user
  --check-available     check for new releases on various sites
  --no-check-available  do not check for new releases
  --mode=MODE           choose the operating mode for reportbug
  -v, --verify          verify integrity of installed package using debsums
  --no-verify           do not verify package installation
  -k, --kudos           send appreciative email to the maintainer, rather than
                        filing a bug report
  --body=BODY           specify the body for the report as a string
  --body-file=BODYFILE, --bodyfile=BODYFILE
                        use the specified file as the body of the report
  -I, --no-check-installed
                        don't check whether the package is installed
  --check-installed     check whether the specified package is installed when
                        filing a report (default)
  --exit-prompt         prompt before exiting
  --paranoid            show contents of message before sending
  --no-paranoid         don't show contents of message before sending
  --no-bug-script       don't execute the bug script (if present)
                        Save the draft in this directory
  --timeout=TIMEOUT     Specify the network timeout, in seconds [default: 60]
  --no-cc-menu          don't show additional CC menu
  --no-tags-menu        don't show tags menu
                        Specify the program to open the reports mbox.
                        Specify the maximum size in byte for an attachment
                        [default: 10485760].
  --latest-first        Order bugs to show the latest first
                        Specify the Envelope From (Return-path) address used
                        to send the bug report

Specifying the two files in /tmp as filename fails due to

No packages match.
No package specified or we were unable to find it in the apt cache; stopping.

which might be wrong or right depending on what this unexplained argument expects as input.

I'm aware that it's way more easy to create a new report. I'm asking this for reference.

I'm pretty sure I reported this once, but unfortunately was too honest about the integration test coverage and documentation review of reportbug (such problems simply shouldn't happen if you want to improve a FLOSS project), so the maintainer closed all of my otherwise constructive reports. I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned from this, but I'm still not certain which one...

  • The “close” message on your bug report explains why it was closed... Feb 26, 2018 at 5:42
  • @StephenKitt You are right. I confused it with another report which I'm pretty sure was closed for the mentioned reason. Making telepathic assumption about me not checking the reports before isn't cool, though, especially with regards to the bad search function of reportbug - if you generously want to call it that. Feb 26, 2018 at 5:48
  • There’s no telepathy involved AFAICT ;-). You mentioned the existing bug report in your own bug report. Feb 26, 2018 at 6:09
  • @StephenKitt I can understand why the conversion turned out like this and why the report has been closed. However, the maintainer makes it sound like I didn't do checks to avoid duplicates even though I searched intensively and found the referenced bug, then doesn't take the time to understand my report which is about adding an interactive command based on the function of the referenced issue and then (that's unavoidable, but still very annoying) causes me to enter all report details 17 times because he didn't fix a minor issue for 10 years. Feb 26, 2018 at 6:20

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately there is no way to open a draft bug report in reportbug. This has been reported several times, and one of the bug reports gives a solution (assuming your system is configured in such a way that sendmail works): edit the draft in your favourite text editor, then send it using

sendmail -t < bugdraft

That’s not much help on many systems nowadays... Some mail clients can import a message, that’s another possible approach.

  • I'm using postfix instead of exim4 on my main server, but I moved the bug report file from /tmp on the affected system to an NFS share on my server, and was able to send it this way. Sep 27, 2020 at 0:30

In version 7.9.0 (around 22 Dec 2020) the option --resume-saved was added to reportbug.

(seen in https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=725105#14, this bug was linked in the other answer)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .