An Easy Way To Find Opportunities For Contributions To Debian Packages

how-can-i-help - Contributions To Debian

Howdy developers! Today, I’ve got a cool tip for you. For those who wanted to contribute to Debian, there is a program called “how-can-i-help”. As the name says, whenever you install or upgrade a package with apt, how-can-i-help lists some beginner level bugs or packages that need help or maintainers. You can pick any one or all of them and help to improve or fix the bugs.

Currently, how-can-i-help program lists the following opportunities for contribution:

  • Packages where help is needed, including orphaned ones (from WNPP. It stands for Work-Needing and Prospective Packages)
  • Bugs suitable for new contributors (tagged ‘newcomer’)
  • Bugs affecting Debian infrastructure (tagged ‘newcomer’)
  • Packages removed from Debian ‘testing’
  • Packages going to be removed from Debian ‘testing’

how-can-i-help – List opportunities for contributions to Debian Packages

how-can-i-help package is available in the official repositories, so you can install using APT as shown below.

sudo apt-get install how-can-i-help

That’s it. It will display the opportunities for contribution to the locally installed DEB packages after every APT transactions (like install packages, upgrade).

Now install a package, for instance lynx.

sudo apt-get install lynx

As you in the above screenshot, after installing the lynx package, how-can-i-help program displays the list of opportunities for contribution to lynx package. So, you can decide how can you help to contribute to lynx package. Just open the URLs given in the output and see what you can do.

To find new opportunities for contribution to all available Debian packages, run:

how-can-i-help -a

You will see a complete list of opportunities to all available DEB packages in the result.

Or, you can list only specific types of opportunities. The allowed types are:

  • wnpp
  • newcomer
  • no-testing
  • testing-autorm
  • rfs
  • O
  • RFA
  • RFH
  • ITA
  • pseudo-package

For instance, to list opportunities suitable for newcomers, you can do:

how-can-i-help -s newcomer

To show opportunities that were already shown before, run:

how-can-i-help -o

The above command will also include the new opportunities too. For more details, refer the help section:

how-can-i-help -h

And, that’s all for now folks. Hope this helps. More good stuffs to come. Stay tuned!



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