ContributeToUbuntu

Introduction

Ubuntu is most of all a community. All of the software, artwork and documentation in Ubuntu has been created, tested, used and discussed openly by people around the world participating in the Open Source community made possible by the Internet. Anyone who uses Ubuntu is part of this global community, and we invite you to help shape Ubuntu to better meet your needs. To make it yours!

Anyone can help shape and improve Ubuntu. This document will introduce you to the most common ways that you can contribute to Ubuntu: by using Ubuntu in your everyday life and recommending it to others, by helping other users, by translating programs or documents to your native language, by testing the software and reporting issues, by creating artwork or writing documentation, by fixing software issues, writing new software or keeping others' software up to date.

Many of these tasks do not require special technical skills - in the Ubuntu community, you don't have to be a programmer to get involved! Have a look at this document and see what catches your interest. If there are tools or means of on-line communication that you are unfamiliar with, you can read more about these in the "Participating in the Ubuntu Community" section.

No matter how you want to contribute, we will welcome new drive and ideas and any contributions to improve Ubuntu and spread Open Source to the world.

Spreading the Word

The easiest way to give back to the Ubuntu community is by sharing Ubuntu with others: Recommend Ubuntu to others, show them how to download and install Ubuntu and the possibilities and qualities of Open Source Software. As the Ubuntu community grows, so does its influence and the more accepted and supported Ubuntu will become! You can spread the word by:

  • Give a talk at your local school, Linux User Group or library on Ubuntu! There are lots of notes from Ubuntu talks given by others in several languages on the wiki.
  • Write a short account of how and why you use Ubuntu by following these guidelines and send it to mystory@ubuntu.com. Your story can then be used to show others how Ubuntu can be used!

  • Join or start a Local Community Team - if you like Ubuntu, it is likely that others around you like it as well! See the "Going Local!" section for details.

Converting Friends

Converting friends to use Free formats, Free software, GNU/Linux, and of course, Ubuntu is something that you should know how to do properly. It is of course a very effective way of getting Ubuntu out to more people but you must be careful of your actions not only to increase your rate of success, but to prevent any problems that could damage your, or Ubuntu's, image.

Marketing

If you want to help promoting and marketing Ubuntu in a more general and coordinated effort, you can join the Ubuntu Marketing Team which coordinates a number projects including the Fridge, the community-driven news hub for all things Ubuntu, and the Ubuntu Weekly News - a weekly update on Ubuntu development.

Contact:

Ubuntu Women

If you are a woman wanting to get involved in the Ubuntu community, or if you're a man interested in increasing the diversity of the Ubuntu community, you can join the Ubuntu-Women team which focuses on:

  • Encouraging women to use Ubuntu and especially to participate in the Ubuntu community.
  • Mentoring women in specific areas (such as technical, documentation, translation and communication) so they have the information and support to get involved.
  • Openly discussing issues facing women and their involvement in Ubuntu (and Linux) and how to address them.

Contact:

Donating

Your support makes all the difference to improving Ubuntu, and helps to keep hungry programmers focused on making sure Ubuntu is the distribution you love to share. We use donated funds to pay developer contracts for feature goals in the next release, or contribute them to the bounty fund. Donations are handled through paypal. You're free to donate any amount you like - just click on the yellow button in this link, or use the paypal donation address: donations at ubuntu.com.

Going Local!

Chances are that you are not the only person in your city, region or country who is using Ubuntu. You can help to make Ubuntu better for people in your area by helping out local Ubuntu users or translating the Ubuntu software and documentation to your local language.

LoCo teams

if you want to meet other Ubuntu users in your area, you should look for a Local Ubuntu Community team (LoCo team for short) to join. There are LoCo teams spread out all over the world, and you can find a list of all of them here. If there isn't a LoCo team near you, you can start a new one! Just follow the instructions on the wiki.

Contact:

  • Read the LoCoTeams wiki page.

  • Join your local LoCo Team mailing list and IRC channel (details can be found on the LoCoTeam List wiki page)

Translation

If your home language is not English but you happen to have really good English skills and are comfortable using software in English, you help to translate the Ubuntu applications and documentation into your native language. To help out you can:

  • Using the web-based Rosetta translation system makes it easy to translate Ubuntu applications into your language. Even if you just translate a few lines you may make all the difference to someone in your own country who is just starting to learn about computers and Free Software.

  • Translate popular wiki pages within the Documentation Wiki.
  • Test that your local language fonts and display works correctly. If they don't, file bug reports on the issues.

Contact:

  • Join your local LoCo Team mailing list and IRC channel (details can be found on the LoCoTeam List wiki page) to get in touch with other users in your region so you can coordinate your translation efforts.

  • Join the Ubuntu-Translators mailing list to stay in touch with other Ubuntu translators.

Helping others with Ubuntu

You can make a major contribution to the Ubuntu project by helping others use Ubuntu. There are four main community support channels where you can help out other Ubuntu users by answering questions and referring them to relevant documentation:

NB: If you prefer to help other Ubuntu users in another language than English, please refer to the LoCoTeam list for info on local language support options where you can help out.

Helping others with Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Xubuntu, or Ubuntu Studio

If you want to help users specifically with issues concerning one of Ubuntu's partner projects such as Kubuntu and Edubuntu, each of these have their own support IRC channels on Freenode, as well as their own mailing lists. All of Ubuntu's partner projects are also supported on the Ubuntu Forums.

Kubuntu

Edubuntu

Xubuntu

Ubuntu Studio

Usability

If you want to improve the usability of Ubuntu, you can try out one of the Ubuntu usability tests on your friends, and record their reactions and impressions of Ubuntu. You can then report these impressions to the Ubuntu Desktop team.

Contact:

Accessibility

If you are interested in making Ubuntu and its partner projects usable by as many people as possible across ages, language and physical abilities, you can help the Ubuntu Accessibility Team with improving the accessibility support on the Ubuntu platform and the software that runs on it.

Contact:

Writing Documentation

If you get stumped by a problem with Ubuntu, chances are good that many other people will be frustrated by it as well. If you are not currently able to write code to fix the problem, you can help everyone else out by writing up your experience and documenting the solution! All documentation and help pages in Ubuntu are written by volunteer community members gathered in the Ubuntu Documentation Team, and you can help out in a number of ways:

  • Check the existing documentation to see if it covers your problem. If it does, you can add to it, edit it or remove errors (such as typos, grammar and spelling, and technical errors), send any suggestions and changes to the Documentation Team mailing list.
  • If no relevant documentation exists, you can add a page in the Documentation Wiki which is a separate community wiki for editing and writing documentation. Rather than answer a question two or more times, write up the answer and make it available to everyone in the wiki.
  • Read through the HOWTOs and other documentation in the Ubuntu Forums and check them for accuracy, and put them in the Documentation Wiki.
  • Join one of the Documentation Team projects and work on directly on maintaining and developing one of the guides for Ubuntu or one of its partner projects. A new version of these guides are released with each new release of Ubuntu, and these are translated through the translation tool Rosetta in the same manner as all other applications in Ubuntu.
  • You can also file bug reports at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-doc/+filebug for inaccuracies in Ubuntu's read-only documentation. Ubuntu-doc is a product at Launchpad. See https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ReportingBugs for help on filing bug reports.

Contact:

Wiki

You can spell-check, edit or write the pages of the Ubuntu wiki. The better and more accessible the information in the wiki is, the easier it will be for people to use. You can find a list of pages in need of editing on the Wiki To Do page. The Wiki is maintained by the Documentation Team, but anyone can edit the pages or contribute new pages. Read the Wiki Guidelines for more information.

Contact:

Creating Artwork

If you have artistic talent, you can help improve the style and feel of the Ubuntu desktop by contributing to the artwork and design of the next release of Ubuntu. All of the splash screens, icons, wallpapers and sounds of Ubuntu are designed, discussed and approved by the Ubuntu Artwork team, and you can help out by examining the current approved Ubuntu artwork projects at https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-art/+specs and create something that will fit with what is being planned with the next release of Ubuntu. If you are interested in creating promotional artwork such as posters and flyers, see 'Marketing' above.

Contact:

Testing and Bug squashing

Ubuntu, like any other software, needs good testers. You can contribute to Ubuntu simply by running the latest version and reporting software issues - we call them bugs - and helping to manage those bugs until they are fixed.

Software Testing

All software-specific bugs is the domain of the Ubuntu BugSquad which is the Quality Assurance (QA) team for Ubuntu. Getting involved with the BugSquad is easy:

  • Join the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list to get all of the announcements of when a new development version of Ubuntu is released. The development version of Ubuntu is the one that the developers are currently working on, so it's usually quite unstable and full of bugs.

  • Download and install the latest development version of Ubuntu, and upgrade it regularly. You can download the Ubuntu development version here. Do not use a development release as your main operating system if you feel uncomfortable using an operating system that may break with a new upgrade.

  • You will run into problems when you run a development version of Ubuntu, when you do you should report those problems as bugs in the Ubuntu bug tracker. Unless you let the developers know of the bugs you encounter, they won't be able to fix them as they need information on under which circumstances these bugs occur.
  • When you find a bug, you should report bugs into the Ubuntu Bug tracker. You should check that the bug hasn't already been reported by searching for it. If you find the bug already reported, you can add a comment of your own about it, or change its status to "Confirmed". If the bug hasn't been reported, you can file a new bug report. Read the HelpingWithBugs wiki page to learn more about what information the developers will need to fix the bug.

  • You can make a huge impact by fixing bugs yourself, and thus improve Ubuntu!

Contact:

  • Read the BugSquad wiki page.

  • Join the #ubuntu-bugs IRC channel on irc.freenode.net
  • Check the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list for announcements of Bug days which are special occasions where the BugSquad mount special efforts to teach new contributors how to find, reproduce, confirm and close bugs.

Hardware Testing

All hardware-specific bugs - i.e. bugs that only appear when certain hardware or certain combinations of hardware - belong to the the Ubuntu Testing Teams. With each new Ubuntu development release, it is necessary to test whether all of the Ubuntu system and associated applications still work with all kinds of hardware and peripherals. You can help by testing Ubuntu on your own hardware.

General Testing

The Ubuntu Testing Teams have made a list of things they need to test on every new development release. Run through the list and test each part as they apply to your setup. Note any failures and fill out a report and send it to the Ubuntu-devel mailing list.

Contact:

  • Read the Testing wiki page

  • Join the ubuntu-devel mailing list

  • Join the #ubuntu-devel IRC channel on irc.freenode.net
  • Or join the #kubuntu-devel IRC channel on irc.freenode.net for KDE specific testing.

Laptop Testing

If you have a laptop, you can join the Ubuntu Laptop Testing Team and create a wiki page for your specific laptop at the LaptopTestingTeam page.

Contact:

Server Testing

If you run a server, you can join the Ubuntu Server Testing Team for server-specific testing.

Contact:

PDA Testing

If you have a PDA you would like to use with Ubuntu, you can join the Ubuntu PDA Testing Team for specific testing to improve the Ubuntu PDA support.

Contact:

  • Read the Ubuntu PDA Team wiki page

  • Join the ubuntu-devel mailing list

  • Join the #ubuntu-devel IRC channel on irc.freenode.net.
  • Or join the #kubuntu-devel IRC channel on irc.freenode.net for KDE specific testing.

NB: Please note that none of these channels are support channels per se; please use #ubuntu for that!

Maintaining Ubuntu

If you want to improve the software in Ubuntu, you can help by preparing - we call it packaging - Open Source software for use in Ubuntu and by fixing bugs in the software already included with Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is constantly evolving and improving as the Open Source software it contains continues to be developed. Though many of these improvements are made by Ubuntu developers, most of the improvements are done by developers elsewhere in the Open Source world - these developers are what we call the Upstream for Ubuntu as these improvements flow downstream to Ubuntu.

Most of the Ubuntu development work consists of taking these improvements and integrating them in Ubuntu while ensuring that they do not break any other part of the system. All software in Ubuntu is arranged in software packages called .deb files. Most of these packages are taken from the Debian distribution and merged and stabilized for use with Ubuntu, though others are prepared directly from the upstream source code.

These software packages are sorted into two repositories: Main which contains the core components of Ubuntu maintained by the core Ubuntu developers, and Universe which contains other software from the Open Source world also packaged for Ubuntu. Unless you're already a proficient contributor to one of the core components in Ubuntu, you should begin with the Universe Repository.

Contributing to the Universe Repository (MOTU)

If you know of a cool application, feature or change available elsewhere in the Open Source world that you would like to have in Ubuntu, you can add it yourself by packaging it for Ubuntu.

All of the non-core packages in Ubuntu are in the Universe repository, and are maintained by the Ubuntu developers who humorously call themselves Masters of the Universe - or MOTUs for short.

If you want to get involved with packaging, you can help out the MOTUs as a MOTU hopeful. The MOTUs are community members who have been granted upload rights to the Universe repository by the Technical Board, whereas MOTU Hopefuls are community members (like you) helping out, gathering experience and who one day may gain upload rights themselves.

To get started as a MOTU hopeful you can:

Once you have gained experience with packaging tasks (for example, by playing an active role in the MOTU team), you will be able to move from a universe-only maintainer to an Ubuntu core developer by applying for membership of the core development team.

NB: The MOTUs also maintain many of the packages for Ubuntu's partner projects including Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Xubuntu, so if you want to contribute to one of these specifically, you will need to get involved with the MOTUs.

Contact:

Contributing to the Main Repository

The core components of Ubuntu are maintained by number of specialized teams with their own area of responsibility. If you have a special interest in helping out in one of these areas, you can become involved with that specific team.

No matter what kind of contribution you would like to make to the core components of Ubuntu, we recommend that you join the ubuntu-devel and ubuntu-devel-announce mailing lists. All information about technical development passes through those channels. You should also familiarize yourself with the details of the UbuntuDevelopment wiki page.

Desktop Team

If you are especially interested in the Ubuntu GNOME Desktop, you can get involved with the Desktop Team which works to bring the latest cool GNOME desktop stuff to Ubuntu.

Contact:

Kubuntu Team

If you are especially interested in the Kubuntu KDE Desktop, you can get involved with the Kubuntu Team which works to bring the latest cool KDE desktop stuff to Kubuntu.

Contact:

Edubuntu Team

If you are especially interested in the Edubuntu Desktop, you can get involved with the Edubuntu Team which works to bring the latest educational software into classrooms all over the world.

Contact:

Xubuntu Team

If you are especially interested in the Xubuntu XFCE Desktop, you can get involved with the Xubuntu Team which works to bring the latest cool XFCE desktop stuff to Xubuntu.

Contact:

Ubuntu Studio Team

If you are especially interested in multimedia creation tools in Ubuntu, you can get involved with the Ubuntu Studio Team which aims to build a version of Ubuntu for audio, video, and graphic enthusiasts and professionals.

Contact:

Server Team

If you are especially interested in the Ubuntu Server, you can get involved with the Server Team which works to bring the latest system administration tools and server applications to Ubuntu.

Contact:

Laptop Team

If you are especially interested in improving the Ubuntu laptop experience, you can get involved with the Laptop Team which works to improve support for ever-growing varieties of laptop hardware.

Contact:

Mobile and Embedded Team

If you are interested in working on a version of Ubuntu designed for use on handheld Internet-enabled tablets, you can get involved with the Mobile and Embedded Team.

Contact:

Kernel Team

If you are interested in hacking on the Linux kernel specifically for Ubuntu, you can get involved with the Kernel Team.

Contact:

X Swat Team

If you want to get involved with the Ubuntu version of X.org, a good place to start would be the X Swat Team which maintains X.org in Ubuntu.

Contact:

Writing Code

If you want to program brand-new features specifically for Ubuntu or redesign and develop current ones, there are several ways to get you started:

  • Look through the list of Ubuntu specifications on Launchpad. Pick one that interests you, and hopefully there should be enough information to begin with an implementation.
  • Write and package brand new software for Ubuntu. Contact the MOTUs to get new software into the Ubuntu Universe so that people can try it out and give you feedback. In time it may become part of the Ubuntu Main portfolio of applications that are available to all Ubuntu users by default.

Contact:

NB: If you want to develop a feature specifically for one of Ubuntu's partner projects like Kubuntu or Edubuntu, you should discuss it with the developers involved directly with those distributions:

Giving Ideas and Feedback

If you have ideas and suggestions on new features and improvements that you would like to see and help bring to Ubuntu, you can:

  • Write a specification - a short description what feature or improvement you would like to implement and why and how it should be implemented. All specifications for Ubuntu are tracked in Blueprint, the feature specification tracking part of the Launchpad system. Writing a good specification is an art, the finer points of which are discussed here.

  • Once you have written your specification, you will need to get it approved for inclusion in Ubuntu by the Ubuntu core developers. Specifications are approved at the Ubuntu Developers' Summit which takes place at the beginning of each new development cycle. You will need to add your specification to the Summit listing in Launchpad and show up at the summit and present your specification, lead discussion and submit it for approval. If you can't make it to the summit in person, you can either have another community member present it for you, or try to present through on-line chat or VOIP.
  • Another way to get your feature into Ubuntu is by packaging it for the Universe repositories and thus making it available to other Ubuntu users. This will make it possible for others to try it out before committing to having it as a standard feature of Ubuntu.

Remember that in the open source world, work counts more than talk so try to find friends or link up with people who can help turn your vision into reality.

Ubuntu Membership

Anyone who has made significant contributions to the Ubuntu community can be recognized as an Ubuntu Member by applying for membership to the Community Council. Ubuntu Members play an essential role in Ubuntu governance as they may be called upon to vote on resolutions put to the members by the Community Council and generally confirm its decisions. You also need to become an Ubuntu Member in order to become an Ubuntu Developer or MOTU.

As a Member, you will get an e-mail address @ubuntu.com and the right to carry Ubuntu business cards too (we'll supply the artwork, you print your own cards). Learn more about becoming an Ubuntu Member here.

If your primary contribution to the Ubuntu community is focused on one of Ubuntu's partner projects such as Kubuntu or Edubuntu, you should apply for membership with their separate Community Councils. Being approved as a member of the Ubuntu community through one of the partner Community Councils offers the same privileges as being approved by the Ubuntu Community Council directly. This division of labour between the councils has been set in place to lighten the workload of the Ubuntu Community Council.

Participating in the Ubuntu Community

If you have little experience participating in or contributing to an Open Source community such as Ubuntu, it is easy to feel slightly intimidated by the many different channels of communication and specialized tools that the community members utilize to have discussions and share their work.

Below we will give you a short introduction to all of these, as well as some pointers to which ones might be of interest to you at first.

Community Communication

Like most online communities, Ubuntu exists through textual communication. You can find all the news, discussions, help, brainstorming and general silliness of the Ubuntu community in text in various forms.

General Communication

There are a few central channels of communication that will make it easy for anyone interested to keep up with the happenings in the Ubuntu community.

The ubuntu-announce mailing list : All official release and community announcements are published on this low-traffic mailing list. All users of Ubuntu would do well to subscribe to keep up-to-date with general happenings in the community.

The ubuntu-news mailing list : Every week, community members of the marketing team publish a new edition of the Ubuntu Weekly News (UWN). This contains the latest news on the Ubuntu community and is an easy way to keep up-to-date with the latest in the Ubuntu Community.

The Fridge is the community news web site. It links to the latest news items, articles and community projects on Ubuntu. It also links to each issue of the Ubuntu Weekly News, and contains a calendar of upcoming Ubuntu events.

Planet Ubuntu: In the open source world, a Planet is a collection of blog posts which is gathered and published together into a single combined feed, latest news first. Planet Ubuntu aggregates the blog posts of Ubuntu developers and contributors and provides a window into their work and lives. It is a fascinating way to learn more about how Ubuntu is developed.

The Mailing Lists

Almost all of the more formalized development and team coordination about the shape and direction of Ubuntu takes place on the Ubuntu mailing lists. All lists have archives so that you can easily read up on old discussions. These are available from the each list's individual information page which are linked below.

You can read an introduction to mailing lists if you have little experience with such.

When posting to the mailing lists, please observe the mailing list etiquette.

NB: This is not an exhaustive list of Ubuntu mailing lists - see this list for all the mailing lists of the Ubuntu community.

Announcements and news

List

Description

ubuntu-announce

All official release and community announcements are posted on this low-traffic mailing list.

ubuntu-devel-announce

All developer-related announcements and information - including announcements of new development releases and development team meetings

ubuntu-security-announce

Announcements of security updates to Ubuntu releases. If you are an administrator for multiple machines it is strongly recommended that you subscribe to this list to be notified of critical updates that may affect your system security.

ubuntu-news

Weekly news bulletins on the Ubuntu community for both users and developers

Support

ubuntu-users

Ubuntu Help and User Discussions - high traffic!

kubuntu-users

Kubuntu Help and User Discussions

edubuntu-users

Edubuntu Users Help and Discussion

xubuntu-users

Xubuntu Help and User Discussions

Ubuntu Development

ubuntu-devel

Ubuntu Developer Discussion mailing list is for highly-technical discussions and implementation details regarding current development on Ubuntu.

kernel-team

Kernel team discussions

laptop-devel

laptop-specific development

ubuntu-desktop

GNOME Desktop Team co-ordination and discussion

kubuntu-devel

Kubuntu Developer Discussion

edubuntu-devel

Edubuntu development discussion

xubuntu-devel

Xubuntu Development Discussion

Ubuntu-motu

mailing list for the Masters Of The Universe package maintainers

-changes

archive upload notification list - one for each release, sorted by codename. Find them all here.

Ubuntu-DCT

Mailing list for the Debian Collaboration Team

ubuntu-mobile

Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded project

Ubuntu Testing and Quality Assurance

Ubuntu-bugsquad

Ubuntu Bugsquad mailing list. Currently most bug discussion takes place in the #ubuntu-bugs IRC channel

laptop-testing-team

Ubuntu laptop testing discussion and announcements

Other Ubuntu teams

ubuntu-marketing

Discussion on the community-based marketing of Ubuntu

ubuntu-doc

Documentation team coordination and discussion

ubuntu-art

Discussion on Ubuntu artwork

ubuntu-accessibility

Discussion and development of Ubuntu accessibility

ubuntu-translators

Discussion about translating Ubuntu

ubuntu-women

Discussion for the Ubuntu Women team, including initiatives to improve the diversity of the Ubuntu community

A list of all the Local Community teams can be found here

Community lists

sounder

Ubuntu community discussion, usually on-topic when off-topic on the other mailing lists. Sounder is the correct term for a pack of warthogs - a reference to an early nickname for the Ubuntu developers.

IRC channels

The more informal day-to-day chat, discussion and short-term coordination takes place on the community IRC channels on irc.freenode.net. Most of the main channels are logged, so that it is easy to look up a previous discussion for reference.

If you are completely new to IRC, you can learn more about IRC, and learn how to set it up in Ubuntu.

Please be sure to follow the IRC guidelines when participating on the Ubuntu IRC channels.

NB: This is not an exhaustive list of Ubuntu IRC channels - see this wiki page for all the IRC channels of the Ubuntu community.

Meeting channel:

#ubuntu-meeting

All team and council meetings are held here and scheduled on the Events calendar on the Fridge.

Support channels:

#ubuntu

Ubuntu help channel

#ubuntu+1

Help channel for development versions

#kubuntu

Kubuntu help channel

#edubuntu

main Edubuntu channel - including support

#xubuntu

main Xubuntu channel - including support

School channels:

#ubuntu-classroom

Channel hosting bi-weekly tutorials for new Ubuntu users

Development channels:

#ubuntu-devel

Main Ubuntu development coordination and discussion channel

#ubuntu-desktop

The Ubuntu GNOME desktop team coordination and discussion

#kubuntu-devel

Kubuntu development coordination and discussion

#ubuntu-kernel

Ubuntu kernel team coordination and discussion

#ubuntu-motu

Coordination of the Ubuntu MOTU package maintainers team

#ubuntu-mobile

Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded project

Ubuntu Testing and Quality Assurance

#ubuntu-bugs

Channel for Bugdays

#ubuntu-laptop

Ubuntu laptop testing and development

#ubuntu-server

Ubuntu server testing and development

Other Team channels:

#ubuntu-doc

Ubuntu documentation team discussion and coordination

#ubuntu-marketing

Ubuntu Marketing Team discussion and coordination

#ubuntu-fridge

The Ubuntu Fridge community news site discussion and coordination

#ubuntu-women

Discussion channel for the Ubuntu women team

#ubuntu-accessibility

Coordination for the Accessibility Team

#ubuntu-locoteams

Coordination of all local community teams

#ubuntu-translators

Coordination and discussions about Ubuntu translations

#edubuntu-doc

Edubuntu documentation team discussion

Web Forums

The Ubuntu Web Forums were initiated independently by Ubuntu enthusiasts within a week of the first Ubuntu release. Since then, the forums have become a central part of the Ubuntu community. The web forums provide an excellent place for to get support and discuss the future of Ubuntu without subscribing to high-traffic mailing lists and cluttering your inbox. Unfortunately, very few of the core Ubuntu developers read the forums regularly, so if you want to get in touch with them, your best bet would be to contact them on IRC or on the mailing lists, rather than in the forums.

When posting on the Ubuntu Web Forums, please observe the forum guidelines.

A complete list of the Ubuntu Web Forums and subforums can be found on the Web Forums front page. There is also a list of Web Forums for speakers of other languages than English.

Developer Summits

At the beginning of each new Ubuntu development cycle, the goals and features to be implemented in that cycle are discussed and shaped at the bi-annual Ubuntu Developer Summits where all the core developers are present and all other community members are invited to participate. These summits typically take a full working week and most often take place at hotels with good conference rooms near international airports for easy access. It is at these summits that new feature ideas can be discussed and agreed upon. You can read more about the Summit Process.

Community Tools

Along with the community communication channels and summits, there are some central web-based tools which are used by the Ubuntu community to organize the documentation, meeting agendas, bugs, translations and specifications.

The Ubuntu Wikis

A wiki is a series of webpages that anybody can edit and where changes can be revised and undone if necessary. You may have heard of the Wikipedia on-line encyclopedia which is also a wiki, albeit a very big one. Ubuntu has two separate wikis with different functions. Both of them are open for anyone to edit and improve, but you'll need to log in first so that other people can see who edited what.

The Documentation Wiki

If you come across a solution to your support problem, you can help make it easier for others to find the same answer. The documentation that ships with Ubuntu is all written and maintained by the Ubuntu Community. You can contribute to the documentation in the Documentation Wiki.

The Community Wiki

The Ubuntu Community Wiki contains all other community documents apart from the Help Documents. Here you will find minutes from community meetings, detailed specifications, details on Ubuntu Summits and conferences, various policy documents and personal pages. You can explore the Wiki and learn a lot about the Ubuntu community in that way.

Launchpad

Launchpad is a web platform containing a new system of online infrastructure for Open Source Software development. It is developed and maintained by Canonical Ltd, the company that also sponsors Ubuntu development. Launchpad seeks to integrate many of the online services needed for Open Source project development and to make it easy for different Open Source projects to collaborate and share bug reports,patches and translations. It is also meant to make it easy to coordinate Open Source volunteers in teams and projects. Many of the Ubuntu teams will ask you to register in Launchpad in order to contribute to the team.

The Ubuntu Bug Tracker: Malone

Whenever you come across something that doesn't work right in a computer program, it is most likely a bug - a problem or error in the programming code. You can report bugs to make the developers aware of them so that they can fix them. You should be prepared to communicate with them, since they will often need additional information. Ubuntu uses a bug tracking system called Malone which is integrated with the Launchpad system. Be sure to check whether the bug you have encountered is already known before you file a new bug report. Every bug report helps to improve Ubuntu!

The Ubuntu Translation Tool: Rosetta

All of the text in all of the applications in Ubuntu should be translated into any of the hundreds of active languages in the world. Rosetta is an easy-to-use web interface integrated in the Launchpad system that allows translation of many software projects and documentation. You can begin translating Ubuntu to your native language right away!

The Ubuntu Specification Tracker: Blueprint

Blueprint is the feature development tracker in Launchpad. It allows the Ubuntu developers to keep track of all the specifications that are to be implemented in the next version of Ubuntu. All community members can write new specification that they would like to have implemented - though they should be prepared to discuss them with the developers and be willing to help out as needed.

The Ubuntu Revision Control System: Bazaar

Many of the software packages in Ubuntu are maintained in a decentralized revision control system called Bazaar which is another vital part of the Launchpad system. A Revision Control System allows the management of multiple revisions of the same software so that several people can collaborate and coordinate changes by incrementing each revision with a revision number associated with the developer who made the change. While most Revision Control Systems are centralized around one server containing the whole revision system, Bazaar is decentralized which offers a number of advantages over traditional systems. You can read more about the differences.

ContributeToUbuntu (last edited 2013-11-03 18:38:53 by bwhite82)