Ubuntu, like many other Linux distributions, is a community-developed operating system. In addition to getting involved and submitting patches, there are a variety of ways you can provide useful feedback and suggest features to Ubuntu.
From voting on and suggesting the features you’d like to see to submitting data about your hardware support and reporting bugs – both in stable releases of Ubuntu and in development releases – Ubuntu offers several ways to submit feedback.
Vote On & Suggest Features
Use the Ubuntu Brainstorm website to submit feature ideas, vote on other submitted feature ideas, and discuss them. As the Ubuntu Brainstorm website says, “Ubuntu Brainstorm is read regularly by Ubuntu developers and contributors.” If you have programming ability, you can pick a feature and contact the relevant Ubuntu team to get started.
Test Your Hardware
Use the System Testing tool included with Ubuntu to test whether your hardware is working properly – you can open it from the Dash.
After testing whether your hardware is working properly, you can send a report to Ubuntu Friendly, Ubuntu’s hardware database. This will provide information to Ubuntu on what hardware is working properly and what hardware isn’t.
If you encounter a bug in Ubuntu, help Ubuntu’s developers fix it by reporting it. You can report the bug to Ubuntu’s bug tracker page on Launchpad. When reporting a bug, follow proper practices for bug reporting – don’t report feature requests and don’t report duplicate bugs. The Reporting Bugs page on the official Ubuntu wiki offers good instructions for reporting bugs and creating good bug reports.
You can report a bug using the Apport tool, which also appears automatically when a program crashes on your computer. Use the Apport tool that appears to submit crash reports that can help Ubuntu’s developers fix the problem you’re experiencing.
When reporting a bug, bear in mind that it may be a good idea to report it to the “upstream” developers rather than Ubuntu itself. For example, if you encounter a bug in Firefox – particularly one that also appears in Firefox on Windows – you should probably report it to Mozilla’s bug tracker rather than Ubuntu’s.
Test Development Releases
The stable Ubuntu releases are ideally pretty bug-free. If you want to help find bugs before they reach the stable version of Ubuntu, you can grab the latest development release of Ubuntu from the Ubuntu Testing page. Consult the linked wiki pages for more information on how to test development releases and provide feedback.
Development releases of Ubuntu aren’t the only thing that needs testing. If you want to get involved, check out the Testing Activities page on Ubuntu’s wiki. In addition to testing development releases, you can test stable release updates and become part of the first line of defense against buggy updates being pushed out to a stable version of Ubuntu – check out the page for other types of testing you can participate in.
Do you have any other ideas on how to provide feedback or help out? Leave a comment and let us know!
Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.
- Published 07/9/12