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Keeping Track

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4.4.1 The categories file

The `categories' file contains a list of problem categories, specific to the database, which GNATS tracks. This file also matches responsible people with these categories. You must edit this file initially, creating valid categories. In most installations, GNATS is configured to create directories on disk for valid categories automatically as needed (see section Overall database configuration). If GNATS isn't set up to do this, you need to run mkcat to create the corresponding subdirectories of the database directory. For instructions on running mkcat, see Adding a problem category.

To create a new category, log in as GNATS, add a line to this file, and run mkcat if applicable. Lines beginning with `#' are ignored.

A line in the `categories' file consists of four fields delimited by colons, as follows:


A unique category name, made up of text characters. This name cannot contain spaces or any of the following characters:

! $ & * ( ) { } [ ] ` ' " ; : < > ~

Ideally, category names should not contain commas or begin with periods. Each line has a corresponding subdirectory in the database directory.

A terse textual description of the category.

The name tag of the party responsible for this category of problems, as listed in the `responsible' file (see section The responsible file).

One or more other parties which should be notified when a Problem Report with this category arrives, such as a project manager, other members of the same project, other interested parties, or even log files. These should be separated with commas.

A good strategy for configuring this file is to have a different category for each product your organization supports or wishes to track information for.

rock:ROCK program:me:myboss,fred
stone:STONE utils:barney:fred
iron:IRON firewall:me:firewall-log

In the above example, the nametags `myboss', `me', `fred', and `barney' must be defined in the `responsible' file (see section The responsible file).

Problem Reports with a category of `rock' are sent to the local mail address (or alias) `me', and also sent to the addresses `myboss' and `fred'. PRs with a category of `stone' are sent to the local addresses `barney' and `fred' only, while PRs with the category `iron' are sent only to `me', and are also filed in firewall-log (in this case, a mail alias should be set up, see section Setting up mail aliases.

If you want to separate PRs in each problem category into specific subsets, say documentation and software bugs, using the `classes' file is recommended. See section The `classes' file.

Only one category must be present for GNATS to function:

pending:Non-categorized PRs:gnats-admin:

The `pending' directory is created automatically when you run mkdb to initialize a new database. (see section Configuring and compiling the software).

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