How can you help Debian?

If you are considering helping in the development of Debian there are many areas in which both experienced and inexperienced users can assist:

  1. You can simply test the operating system and the programs provided in it and report any not yet known errata or bugs you find using the Bug Tracking System. Try to browse also the bugs associated with packages you use and provide further information, if you can reproduce the issues described in them.
  2. If you are an experienced user you can help other users through the user mailing lists or by using the IRC channel #debian. For more information on support options and available sources read the support pages.
  3. You can help translating applications or Debian-related information (web pages, documentation) to your own language by getting involved in a translation project (discussion is generally handled through the i18n mailing list). You can even start up a new internationalisation group if there is none for your language. For more information read the Internationalisation pages.
  4. You can help maintain applications that are already available in the Debian operating system, specially those you use much and know about, by contributing fixes (patches) or additional information in the Bug Tracking System for those packages. You can also get involved directly in package maintenance by becoming a member of a group maintenance team or get involved with software that is being developed for Debian by joining a software project at Alioth.
  5. You can help writing documentation either by working with the official documentation provided by the Debian Documentation Project or by contributing at the Debian Wiki.
  6. You can help with the development of the public face of Debian and contribute to the website or by helping with the organisation of events worldwide.
  7. You can help porting Debian to some architecture you are experienced with either by starting a new port or contributing to existing ports. For more information see the list of available ports.
  8. You can package applications you have much experience with and consider valuable for Debian and become the maintainer for those packages. For more information read the Debian Developer's Corner.
  9. You can help track, find and fix security issues within the packages in Debian.
  10. You can donate equipment and services to the Debian project so that either its users or developers can benefit from them. We are in constant search for mirrors worldwide our users can rely on and auto-builder systems for our porters.
  11. You can make screenshots of packages and upload them to screenshots.debian.net so that our users can see what software in Debian looks like before using it.
  12. You can tag and categorise packages on the debtags website so that our users can more easily find the software they are looking for.
  13. Help Debian promoting itself by talking about it and demonstrating it to others.

As you can see, there are many ways you can get involved with the project and only few of them require you to be a Debian Developer. Many of the different projects have mechanisms to allow direct access to source code trees to contributors that have shown they are trustworthy and valuable. Typically, people who find that they can get much more involved in Debian will join the project, but this is not always required.