Before starting your edits turn off the cache.
The footer message is really annoying.
There is a footer function in admin to configure but the bug reporting message is coded into the files, not through the admin/backend.
I don’t know why the developers make it so difficult to use. I realise it is a community edition yet should a free product should be an example of what the paid for item can do. It should shine and stand out from the crowd, be a call to upgrade, a beacon for others to set their standards, the start of a new relationship? Not a pain that makes you want to look elsewhere.
However, I found the answer
Mine looks like this:
<div ?php echo $this->getChildHtml() ?>
Turn the cache back on
Why not take this opportunity to change the footer copyright to something of your choice?
This can be found in the system/configuration menu. Select design on the left then fill out the footer parts as required.
NB: I am currently testing the modern theme so to remove the magento bugs message edit the footer file in app\design\frontend\default\modern\template\page\html
Simply remove the whole ‘p class bugs’ line.