BugZoo is a decentralised platform for distributing, reproducing, and interacting with historical software bugs. BugZoo is designed to support both software engineering researchers as well as developers of tools for program testing, analysis and repair.

Under the hood, BugZoo uses Docker containers to provide a controlled, sterile environment for safely interacting with historical software bugs. BugZoo provides several advantages over the use of monolithic virtual machines (e.g., ManyBugs VM):

  • By using containerisation instead of virtualisation, BugZoo can ensure reproducibility with minimal sacrifice to performance, allowing you to run bigger experiments faster.

  • Since containers can be spawned in under a second, a safe, idempotent execution environment can be realistically provided for every test suite evaluation.

  • Each historical bug is provided as its own minimal Docker container image. There are no assumptions that bug containers should be capable of running other software, such as a testing or repair tool that is being evaluated as part of an experiment. BugZoo avoids the inevitable “DLL hell” that arises from attempting to mix bugs and tools by transforming tools into portable binaries and mounting them in the execution environment at run-time.

  • Thanks to their minimal nature and Docker’s layer-based image caching, prebuilt datasets of historical bugs can be downloaded quickly and easily.


  • A simple but powerful command-line interface for building, downloading and interacting with historical bugs.

  • A Python interface for complex, structured interactions with historical bugs: execute specific tests, compute line coverage, apply patches, compile with certain flags, and more.

  • A powerful underlying RESTful API that can be used to add BugZoo bindings to your own favourite language.

  • A decentralised architecture that lets you share your tools and datasets of historical bugs on the BugZoo platform without giving up ownership or control. Adding BugZoo support to your dataset of tool is as simple as adding a .bugzoo.yml file to your project.


If you use BugZoo in your research work, we would highly appreciate it if you cited the following paper:

  author = {Timperley, Christopher and Stepney, Susan and {Le Goues}, Claire}
  title = {{Poster: BugZoo – A Platform for Studying Software Bugs}},
  booktitle = {{International Conference on Software Engineering}},
  series = {{ICSE '18}},
  year = {2018}
  note = {{To appear}}


To use BugZoo, you will need Python ≥ 3.5 installed, along with Docker; we also suggest that you install pipenv to simplify installation and to isolate your BugZoo installation from any other Python packages on your system.

After ensuring that the requirements above are installed on your machine, you may install BugZoo using pipenv (preferred) or pip3:

$ pipenv install bugzoo

Getting Started

Since BugZoo is a decentralised platform for sharing and interacting with historical bugs (and not itself a dataset of bugs), you’ll need to add several bugs and tools to your installation. Bugs and tools are usually provided to BugZoo by remote, public Git repositories. Adding a source of bugs or tools to your installation can be done via the bugzoo source add [name] [url] command:

` $ bugzoo source add manybugs https://github.com/squaresLab/ManyBugs `

Note that sources do not necessarily have to be remote, public Git repositories: they can also be provided by local directories.

$ git clone https://github.com/squaresLab/ManyBugs path/to/manybugs
$ bugzoo source add another-manybugs path/to/manybugs

The bugzoo source list command can be used to provide a list of registered sources:

$ bugzoo source list

Source    Type    URL                                         Location                                                        Version
--------  ------  ------------------------------------------  --------------------------------------------------------------  ---------
robust    Local   -                                           /home/chris/bugs/robust                                         -
genprog   Remote  https://github.com/squaresLab/genprog-code  /home/chris/.bugzoo/sources/github_com_squaresLab_genprog-code  b4de21d7
manybugs  Remote  https://github.com/squaresLab/ManyBugs      /home/chris/.bugzoo/sources/github_com_squaresLab_ManyBugs      ad83bd9a

And bugzoo bug list and bugzoo tool list can be used to produce a list of all bugs and tools that are provided by your registered sources:

$ bugzoo bug list

Bug                                             Program     Dataset    Source    Installed?
----------------------------------------------  ----------  ---------  --------  ------------
manybugs:gmp:13420-13421                        gmp         manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:gmp:14166-14167                        gmp         manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:gzip:2009-08-16-3fe0caeada-39a362ae9d  gzip        manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:gzip:2009-09-26-a1d3d4019d-f17cbd13a1  gzip        manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:gzip:2009-10-09-1a085b1446-118a107f2d  gzip        manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:gzip:2010-01-30-fc00329e3d-1204630c96  gzip        manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:gzip:2010-02-19-3eb6091d69-884ef6d16c  gzip        manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:libtiff:2005-12-14-6746b87-0d3d51d     libtiff     manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:libtiff:2005-12-21-3b848a7-3edb9cd     libtiff     manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:libtiff:2005-12-27-6f76e76-5dac30f     libtiff     manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:libtiff:2006-02-23-b2ce5d8-207c78a     libtiff     manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:libtiff:2006-02-27-6074705-e6d0c32     libtiff     manybugs   manybugs  No
manybugs:libtiff:2006-03-03-a72cf60-0a36d7f     libtiff     manybugs   manybugs  No

To interact with a particular bug or tool, you’ll need to install it on your machine. There are two ways to do this: (1) you can build the Docker image for the bug or tool locally (via bugzoo bug build and bugzoo tool build), or alternatively, you can download a prebuilt image (via bugzoo bug download or bugzoo tool download).

$ bugzoo bug build manybugs:libtiff:2005-12-14-6746b87-0d3d51d


Below is a list of publications that have used BugZoo. If you don’t see your publication listed, please submit a pull request to add it to the list.