Like any piece of software, Xubuntu needs people to track bugs and do continuous tests on the development versions. Working with the Xubuntu quality assurance has four aspects:
- Filing bugs
- Triaging bugs filed by others
- Forwarding upstream
- Testing development versions of Xubuntu
Anybody using Xubuntu can file bugs, even with no experience at all. Before submitting a bug, you should look at the existing bug reports and release notes to verify the bug hasn’t been reported already. If the bug has not already been reported, you should file a new bug report. It is sensible to read through the bug reporting guidelines before filing your first bug.
In the most situations, it is easiest to file a bug by opening a new Terminal and type
ubuntu-bug package-name, where package-name is the package you want to file bug against. If you don’t know which package you should file the bug against, refer to the instructions on finding the right package. When filing the bug, it is better to have too much than too little information.
After you’ve filed a bug report, you’ll most likely find that either a developer or a member of the bugsquad will request more detailed information to help the development team in debugging and correcting the issue. Please cooperate with the requests, as the information requested is needed.
Please note that feature request and development ideas do not count as bugs, and thus shouldn’t be filed as bugs.
Triaging bugs means to get bug reports in a state where they are useful for developers. Bug triagers work towards this goal by making sure bug reports have useful titles, descriptions, appropriate logs and more. To get started, read the page on How to triage bugs in the Ubuntu wiki.
After you have made yourself familiar with the aspects of triaging bugs, you can start triaging Xubuntu bugs. When confirming the bugs, the bugs should be marked as triaged and set a priority (importance). Only members of the Ubuntu Bug Control team can do this, so in the beginning, you will need to report triaged bugs for the team in #ubuntu-bugs on Freenode. After you have demonstrated your ability to triage bugs, you will gain more responsibilities by the Bug Control team.
Also, as you gain experience on triaging Xubuntu bugs, you may want to take a look at new bugs that mention Xubuntu. Triaging new bugs is recommended for those who are more familiar with both triaging and Xubuntu generally, since not all of the new bugs mentioning Xubuntu are actually Xubuntu bugs.
Forwarding bugs upstream
Forwarding bugs upstream is an important component of bug triage. While Xubuntu will benefit from the bugs forwarded and fixed upstream, it also helps the bug triagers in the upstream project as well as anybody using the upstream software.
Once it has been determined that a bug is not caused by a change in Xubuntu, bugs will need to be forwarded to their respective upstream projects to be reviewed. For example, all appropriate Xfce bugs should be filed in the Xfce bug tracker. In addition, you should update the original bug to track the new upstream bug you just filed.
The Ubuntu wiki has an extensive page on forwarding bugs upstream along with instructions on how to report bugs in the upstream bug trackers.
Testing development versions and packages
Testing development versions and packages in Xubuntu as well as filing test reports along with bugs you will encounter helps Xubuntu keep up the quality. Anybody with a spare machine, hard drive partition or hardware resources to run virtualized testing environment can help. Note that it is not recommended to install an unreleased version of Xubuntu on production machines!
The Xubuntu testing infrastructure is made up of two key sections:
- Testing trackers, which contain all tests that need to be conducted with instructions and where you will report test results. The two testing trackers Xubuntu are using are the ISO testing tracker and the packages testing tracker.
- Xubuntu Testers team at Launchpad, which you should join once you’ve started helping with testing
In addition, it makes sense to follow the xubuntu-devel mailing list to gather possible further information on new packages, known bugs to-be-fixed et cetera. Information on bugs that need urgent developer attention can be posted on the mailing list too.
While the QA trackers have all the necessary information on how to do testing, for a quick overview, here’s what you need to do after adding yourself to the Xubuntu Testers page and team:
- If you are doing ISO testing, download an ISO; download links can be found in the QA tracker, along with zsync commands and check the ISO integrity against the MD5 checksum found in the tracker
- Report bugs (see above) when you notice them while testing
- Report the tests to the tracker along with the list of bugs you have found
Remember that testing doesn’t help the developers unless the tests are reported!