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    How Can the Average User Help Debian?
    Contributed by Anonymous on Friday, January 11 @ 13:15:43 GMT

    Ask Debianplanet
    I have been using linux now for about 4 years and Debian for about 2 of those. Ever since I first started with Debian, I have been hooked, but lately I have felt like I was sort of a leech. Each day I check my email and see posts in debian-devel, debian-kde, etc, and see so many people helping out with the distribution in various ways, and I often wonder to myself how I could possibly help out? I have a bit of programming experience, but nothing compared to what developers know. I don't have much money so a financial contribution is out of the question. But, I still feel the need to give back to the distribution and community that has given me free software for the last 4 years. Is there anything that a user like me would be able to do to contribute in some useful way to the development of Debian?

    DanielS: The single most useful thing users can do is to help fix bugs by sending in patches to the BTS and just communicating with maintainers, etc, to see what can be done.

    Joy: check this page for an overview.

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  • "How Can the Average User Help Debian?" | Login/Create Account | 33 comments

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    Re: How Can the Average User Help Debian? (Score: 1, Informative)
    by Anonymous on Friday, January 11 @ 14:35:46 GMT

    A useful thing to do (if it hasn't been done already) would be a web page listing jobs that require help. Then maintainers/documenters/whatever can list information on their requirements, and those willing to help and able to do so can sign up. It would be useful to categorise the jobs by skills required, so those with no programming experience can skip coding jobs for example.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: How Can the Average User Help Debian? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, January 11 @ 15:51:00 GMT

    ...and if you can't write patches, then at least file bug reports about things that don't work right. I can't count the number of times that I've read people telling other *users* that about bugs in my program -- when they hadn't even bothered to tell me about it!


    [ Reply ]

    Re: How Can the Average User Help Debian? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, January 11 @ 16:29:28 GMT

    I feel that I am an average user and I feel the same sensation/feeling to contribute to the Debian project somehow: I realized that there a way to do it, even if it won't be tremendously helpfull, I consider it the beginning!!!

    I downloaded from the official site a lot of HOWTOs in the SGML format, Imean the ones I feel to be pretty confortable to TRANSLATE in my own Country language and so I am starting to help the Italian Linux Community. I thing that it is a really pleasure to help the people who have contributed to my growth!!!

    Thankx guys


    [ Reply ]

    Re: How Can the Average User Help Debian? (Score: 1, Informative)
    by Anonymous on Friday, January 11 @ 17:02:30 GMT

    Are you interested in "joining" the Debian community or just giving a helping hand now and then?

    If you are giving thought to joining, but think that "programming" is a major part of it, then allow me to prove you wrong. 😉

    Debian can always use new Developers. And as a developer I don't mean a code junkie, but anyone who helps the "development" of Debian as a whole. Package and Doc maintaining is probably the easiest thing to do (in most cases). And don't think you need to handle 30 or more packages just to be a package maintainer. I'm an AM and from time to time I look at the database to see how people I've interviewed are doing and if they've improved any, (not necessary to do but I like knowing) and alot of times I notice these people are still only maintaining one package, the one they used during their NM process. This is not a bad thing though, any/all help is more than welcome, but this is just to illustrate a point. You don't haveto get involved head-over-heels to help out. Alot of times it's the little things that count. and as mentioned above, file bug reports. Personally I don't mind getting bug reports on my packages, even if the person sent a follow up email to it once every day. As long as the report is descriptive and helpful, any DD you send it to will be glad to recieve it.

    -Brandon L. Griffith


    [ Reply ]

    Re: How Can the Average User Help Debian? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, January 11 @ 17:32:15 GMT

    My first question is:

    Can you write?

    The reason I ask this is that there are so many HOWTOs or FAQs that need to be updated it is sick. As long as you are literate and can take a point-form list and turn it into readable and followable instructions, then you should be fine for stuff like that.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: How Can the Average User Help Debian? (Score: 1)
    by tourettes on Friday, January 11 @ 21:05:58 GMT
    (User Info)

    I didn't realize that I wasn't logged in at the time when i sent this in, however, thank you all for the advice and ideas, I will seek out several sites and see where i can help out and file more bug reports when I come accross things. Thank you all.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: How Can the Average User Help Debian? (Score: 1)
    by MrCooper on Saturday, January 12 @ 11:53:51 GMT
    (User Info)

    I think helping others on mailing lists is also an important contribution to the community.

    [ Reply ]

    Aesthetics! (Score: 1)
    by Dwonis (dlitz at dlitz dot net) on Saturday, January 12 @ 17:56:52 GMT
    (User Info)

    Help with the aesthetics of Debian! Ever noticed how, despite its instability, Windows always "feels" better to use? That's because Microsoft spends tons of money on aesthetics.

    Make as many aesthetically-pleasing sounds, music, and artwork as you can!

    [ Reply ]

    Re: How Can the Average User Help Debian? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, January 12 @ 23:49:03 GMT

    Debian has set up a non-profit organization (Software for the Public Interest) that you can donate to. This can be done as a donation through the United Way; you can direct your contribution to go to the SPI, or the Debian Project proper. I've done this for the past three years and this will be the 2nd year I will have given over $1000 to them. Remember, this is tax deductible (and every little bit helps this time of year).

    For more information, check out the link below:

    [ Reply ]

    Re: How Can the Average User Help Debian? (Score: 1)
    by shark on Sunday, January 13 @ 07:50:47 GMT
    (User Info)

    One simple (but indirect) way of helping Debian (and all Free software, for that matter) would be to try to convert a few close friends to Debian (or GNU/Linux in general).

    If you convert two other people to Debian, then there will be three "Average Users" using Debian, and thus three users who can work on bug reports, aesthetics, etc, instead of just you.

    Oh by the way, I said "close friends" up there, meaning physically close, so that you can help them get over any stumbling blocks as "newbies". 😉

    [ Reply ]

    Financial overview for Debian? (Score: 1)
    by Pflipp on Sunday, January 13 @ 12:22:25 GMT
    (User Info)


    I've often been very reluctant to donate to a project, or support it by ordering a T-shirt or so. I've never been able to do that in practice, because in 99% of the cases this is a credit card thing (and in 1% it is an international money transfer thing) and I have No Such Thing (and no need for it).

    Which really made me wonder where we've left the bigger Open Source projects, financially, after "the internet bubble burst". Let's face it, Debian uses a lot of resources (bandwith, Web servers, mirrors etc.), a lot of which are not free by default. But, especially compared to other (propietary) "companies" of the same weight, Debian is really lacking any incoming financial stream. There is no revenue to be made, other than donations. I guess the same is valid for the FSF.

    This is all very OK as long as this works, but having never donated myself, I just could imagine that projects like Debian and FSF may have more financial problems than we hear about. So is there at least some overview that would prove my fears wrong?


    [ Reply ]

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