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I use Linux and other open source software in my home. As I'm not a professional coder, I usually report bugs to developers as my skills are not enough to solve problems on my own.

What kind of things you want me to check before I send a bug report? I mean, once I thought I found a bug in Gedit and I couldn't find similar bug in Bugzilla. But after I sent the report, some developer said that the bug is already in Bugzilla as the bug was in GTK+, not in Gedit. Sometimes it might be hard for an amateur to guess whether some previously known bug would solve the issue I found.

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Realize that now, having added the bug report and having it closed as a duplicate of a bug, someone else coming through at a later time will find the duplicate bug report that you filed (and not need to file another one). – user40980 Oct 19 '12 at 19:48
up vote 15 down vote accepted

There is nothing wrong with submitting duplicate bug reports. If your search for similar bugs did not turn up a duplicate, sending a bug report is the best thing you can do. The worst thing that could happen is that the developers working on the product closes your report as a duplicate. This is much better than letting a genuine problem go unnoticed.

You are also right about not trying to investigate problems outside your area of expertise in too much depth: in my experience, user's assessments of what's going on and how to fix it are mostly wrong and rarely helpful (see #4 in Jeff's post).

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+1 for "mostly wrong and rarely helpful". Amen, brother. I tell my customers, "Bring me problems, not solutions." – Peter Rowell Oct 19 '12 at 20:02
I think, particularly in open source, you will occasionally come across developers who treat duplicate bug reports with contempt. They might just be having a bad day, or they might be too focused on their own concerns (e.g., a massive existing todo list) to recognise the value of bug reports, or they might be overestimating how easy it is to find the existing report (perhaps because they already know what search terms to use). Whatever the reason, don't let them make you feel bad -- reporting the bug is still the right thing to do. – John Bartholomew Oct 19 '12 at 20:58

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