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Re: new developer needs help getting started

On Thu, Dec 08, 2005 at 05:07:38PM -0500, Martin Stiaszny wrote:
> Hi. I am software developer by profession, but have never participated
> in open source development before.  I think now is the time for me to
> finally give back a little bit. 
> Specifically, xterm's scroll bars do not display properly on newer
> installs, but I suspect the problem may be in the shared libraries.  I
> would like to take a run at the problem but don't know where or how to
> start.
This is probably the wrong list; -mentors is for creation of Debian
packages.  The xterm package already exists, there is nothing to do
except fix the bug (which almost certainly won't affect the

xterm is written by Thomas Dickey, so the Thing To Do, in this case,
is probably to check for bugs, file a new one if it isn't already
known, and wait for his response; usually it is something of the form
"I fixed this 3 weeks ago in version 210, and you'll just have to wait
for the fix to be propogated into Debian sid/testing/stable".

But there is lots of debugging to be done:)

> Can someone point me to the right list
Subscribe to your own taste:


> /repository/
I'm aware of the following SCM hosts available for Debian projects:


Most packages are not handled by Debian SCM, but by an individual
maintainer.  The .diff.gz are available from packages.qa.d.o, below,
or from the ftp site, below.

> bug database/


> FAQ/etc.
I frequent the following pages:

  http://ftp.debian.org/ packages, package lists, contents lists,
                         suite definition lists
  http://debian.org/devel policy, maintguide, devref

> and basically bring me up to speed on the organizatonal structure
> and etiquette?
There's probably no easier way in than to submerse yourself in it..
subscribe to lists, read bugs, fix them, etc.  Lots of people are on
IRC, though I personally can't stand it..

As corny and geeky as it sounds, Debian is a group of people
"organized by consensus" [0] with the common goal of creating a
technically superior operating system.  If my experience is any
indication, it is easy to contribute if you have the time.  Package
maintainers are essentially always willing to make a change for the
better, even if the burden is on you to show that it is a positive
change  (possibly modulo stale bugs).  It is inspiring how well it all
works out; if somebody notices something wrong, they file a bug.  If,
while investigating that something, they find another bug, they clone
the bug.  And if the bugs bug them enough, then they spend as much
time as they have trying to help get them fixed.  If they don't have
enough time or experience, they send their results to the bug log and
try to help..

Happy hacking.

Clear skies,

[0] http://www.stud.ntnu.no/~shane/dokumentasjon/commandline.html

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