There are plenty ways to help GNOME become better and grow. By contributing in code, donating some money, filing bugs and by just using it and gossip about.
I consider filing bugs is the very best way to help GNOME and it will only steal some moments from your time, anytime you have some spare time.
GNOME has Limited Sources
This is just a myth. All projects have limited sources. From Apple to Google. It is just like money, they never are enough. GNOME started just with 2 people, Linux started with 1 person, Android started with 4 people. GNOME has many and good developers, and the numbers are relevant to their user base. There aren’t projects with one developer and one billion users, neither projects with one billion developers and one user. Grow community will grow contributors, so simple.
What GNOME is really missing is a bigger testing cycle in each release. New features ends around 30 days before the stable release. That means just 3-4 weeks for testing and closing bugs in the hundreds of new features that every release brings.
The issue with bugs in GNOME
Hello, GNOME OS? Where should we file bugs when there isn’t an actual distro? GNOME bugs are scattered around. You can find GNOME bugs in Ubuntu’s bug tracking system or OpenSUSE or Arch Linux forums, or wherever else. This is fault of GNOME release procedure. Hopefully that will change in the short future with the introduction of GNOME daily builds. But still daily builds is not the perfect solution.
GNOME (and specially GNOME Shell) has different kind of bugs depending on distro. For example, Ubuntu with GNOME Shell 3.6 has different behavior than Fedora with GNOME 3.6. How we can distinguish if a bug is actually a GNOME bug or a distro bug?
We can’t, or if you want the most people cannot. There are two solutions. Either use a distro like Fedora which is a more “naked” or “pure” GNOME implementation or for every bug you find in GNOME no matter the distro, spam (in a good way) the GNOME bugzilla. Personally, I support the second way.
Ubuntu Users: I am not familiar with Canonical’s bug track system, so I attach Jani Uusitalo comment here:
At least for Ubuntu users, I recommend filing those bugs on Launchpad. The package maintainers are usually able to tell pretty quickly if the issue is an upstream one, in which case you then file it upstream (in Gnome’s bugzilla) and link the two reports (there’s built-in functionality in LP precisely for this purpose). When the distributor’s tracker is your first port of call, you won’t (usually) be bothering upstream unnecessarily with distro-specific issues.
In fact, I sometimes file bugs on LP even when I know the issue is an upstream one, and then just link the reports right away. This way other Ubuntu users, who can’t tell the difference and would file the bug on Launchpad anyway, are saved the trouble.
Notice that Ubuntu in 13.04 will use some components of old GNOME (3.6) and not 3.8.
File a bug
To file a bug you need to have at least the latest stable release. This is currently GNOME 3.6. The very best way to submit bugs is to have GNOME from sources with JHBuild. Changes in the next GNOME are massive, but if you can’t have a JHBuild installation, current version will do.
The only thing you need to do is a GNOME Bugzilla account, and you are ready to submit your very first bug! It will be also a good idea if you would registered in the corresponding mailing lists.
Common Sense Notes
The following guidelines are obvious, but I am just attaching them in any case ;)
- Making sure the bug has not already been reported before
- Making sure the bug has enough information for the developers and makes sense
- Making sure you reproduce the bug as much as clear as possible
- Making sure the bug is filed in the correct place
- Making sure the bug has sensible “Severity” and “Priority” fields
- Making sure the bug is versioned correctly
GNOME Bugzilla Quick FAQ
1. I am not sure if the bug is duplicated
Submit it! It is better for GNOME to have a duplicated bug rather a missing one.
2. I don’t have deep knowledge to add many information about the bug
Just describe what you see. People there will guide you how to make some further testing if necessary. You don’t need to know more than what you see to submit a bug.
3. Can I request a new feature?
Bugzilla is not the best place for asking about new features or complaining about existing ones. If you want to propose a new feature use the Mailing Lists instead. However you can ask for various enchantments.
4. I submitted a bug, but I got no response
Your bug has been seen by GNOME developers. Depending the severity, it might takes some time to get a reply back.
5. My bug has been marked as “WONT FIXED”
There is always a reason behind a “Won’t Fixed”. Right or wrong, you can’t but respect it. If you want to discus further a “won’t fixed” bug, use Mailing Lists.
6. My bug has been reviewed but none has step on it
Happy Hacking ;)
Don’t underestimate the power of Gossip. Socials or Gossials?
Best way to contribute in GNOME is by using it and spread the word ;)