December 19th, 2007 by lucas
Debian could use more manpower, but is it actually easy for new contributors who would like to help to do useful things, and get the impression that they actually improved Debian?
There are several problems here:
- Find bugs that are not too hard to fix. I don’t know about your packages, but in mine, there are some bugs that are easy to fix, and it’s just a matter of finding the time. If someone provided a patch, I would be very happy and apply it or provide feedback as fast as possible.
- Find packages with active maintainers. It is no secret that if you choose the wrong package, your patch could very well sleep on the BTS for years.
- Find bugs that actually matter. It’s not strictly a requirement. But fixing bugs in packages that should probably be removed from Debian instead is not really rewarding.
I think that other projects are better than us at providing directions to newcomers. Gnome has the whole Gnome Love thing, for example.
I’m thinking about building lists of “interesting” bugs. That would include RC bugs without patches, of course, but could also include a list of bugs based on an usertag that would mean “This bug is suitable for new contributors (it’s not too hard, and you could learn things fixing it). If you want to work on this bug, I’ll provide help and feedback and integrate your patch ASAP.”
(This is very different from the “help” tag, which usually means “I couldn’t fix this, it’s too hard, I need help.“. It’s a bad idea to direct newcomers to bugs that are too hard for the package’s maintainer!)
Additionally, a nice feature would be to be able to filter the list of bugs with the packages that the user has installed.
- What do you think?
- As someone willing to contribute to Debian, do you often find it hard to find stuff you could do?
- As a maintainer, do you have a lot of bugs that could use such a tag? Would you use it?
Comments are open, please us them ;)