How to Join the Ubuntu Community
We all know Ubuntu is a free Linux-based operating system, but not everyone knows Ubuntu is community-developed. The majority of Ubuntu contributors are not Canonical employees. Instead, they are enthusiasts and other interested parties who devote their time to the Ubuntu project. Want to get involved? Here’s how.
Much of the work of these dedicated individuals is in packaging and maintaining the software on offer in the Ubuntu repositories and managing the nearly 50,000 open bugs. They carry out all of this behind-the-scenes admin work to make Ubuntu better. When you use Synaptic or apt-get to install a piece of software, little thought is given to the process involved in getting that software to you. You click it, it installs, you run it without problem.
But remember this: An Ubuntu contributor somewhere compiled that software package for you and tested it to make sure it worked.
Join the Effort
How can you start contributing to Ubuntu?
First, get yourself a Launchpad account. Launchpad is the platform that hosts all of the community aspects of Ubuntu and is your portal to joining the Ubuntu community. Once you have your launchpad account, you can start submitting bug reports for any issues you come across in Ubuntu.
If you are having a specific issue, chances are you are not the only one, so search the open bugs to see if it has already been reported. If it has, you will probably find a fix or if there is no fix yet, work together with other Ubuntu users to resolve the issue. Look through bugs that haven’t been touched and contribute by making sure bugs are properly reported and contain the required information so that a technically-minded individual can offer a solution.
If you are that technically-minded individual, offer bug reporters some possible solutions to try. Join a team that interests you and start helping them out by packaging software.
If you are not technically-minded, it doesn’t matter. You can still contribute to Ubuntu with desktop themes or artwork. Help improve the documentation or translate Ubuntu to another language.
The more people who contribute to the Ubuntu community, the better Ubuntu will become. Without community contributions Ubuntu can not continue to be the success that it is.
I ask anyone who hasn’t already done so to get involved, become part of the Ubuntu community and help shape the future of your favourite OS.
Contributing blogger Guy Thouret is a software engineer for a wireless energy management system company. He has used various GNU/Linux distributions since 2002.
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