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Contributing to FreeBSD
Abstract
This article describes the different ways in which an individual or organization may contribute to the FreeBSD Project.
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So you want to contribute to FreeBSD? That is great! FreeBSD _relies_ on the contributions of its user base to survive. Your contributions are not only appreciated, they are vital to FreeBSD's continued growth.
A large and growing number of international contributors, of greatly varying ages and areas of technical expertise, develop FreeBSD. There is always more work to be done than there are people available to do it, and more help is always appreciated.
As a volunteer, what you do is limited only by what you want to do. However, we do ask that you are aware of what other members of the FreeBSD community will expect of you. You may want to take this into account before deciding to volunteer.
The FreeBSD project is responsible for an entire operating system environment, rather than just a kernel or a few scattered utilities. As such, our [.filename]#TODO# lists span a very wide range of tasks: from documentation, beta testing and presentation, to the system installer and highly specialized types of kernel development. People of any skill level, in almost any area, can almost certainly help the project.
Commercial entities engaged in FreeBSD-related enterprises are also encouraged to contact us. Do you need a special extension to make your product work? You will find us receptive to your requests, given that they are not too outlandish. Are you working on a value-added product? Please let us know! We may be able to work cooperatively on some aspect of it. The free software world is challenging many existing assumptions about how software is developed, sold, and maintained, and we urge you to at least give it a second look.
What Is Needed
The following list of tasks and sub-projects represents something of an amalgam of various [.filename]#TODO# lists and user requests.
Ongoing Non-Programmer Tasks
Many people who are involved in FreeBSD are not programmers. The Project includes documentation writers, Web designers, and support people. All that these people need to contribute is an investment of time and a willingness to learn.
Read through the FAQ and Handbook periodically. If anything is poorly explained, ambiguous, out of date or incorrect, let us know. Even better, send us a fix (Docbook is not difficult to learn, but there is no objection to ASCII submissions).
Help translate FreeBSD documentation into your native language. If documentation already exists for your language, you can help translate additional documents or verify that the translations are up-to-date and correct. First take a look at the link:{fdp-primer}#translations[Translations FAQ] in the FreeBSD Documentation Project Primer. You are not committing yourself to translating every single FreeBSD document by doing this - as a volunteer, you can do as much or as little translation as you desire. Once someone begins translating, others almost always join the effort. If you only have the time or energy to translate one part of the documentation, please translate the installation instructions.
Read the {freebsd-questions} occasionally (or even regularly). It can be very satisfying to share your expertise and help people solve their problems; sometimes you may even learn something new yourself! These forums can also be a source of ideas for things to improve upon.
Ongoing Programmer Tasks
Most of the tasks listed here may require a considerable investment of time, an in-depth knowledge of the FreeBSD kernel, or both. However, there are also many useful tasks which are suitable for "weekend hackers".
If you run FreeBSD-CURRENT and have a good Internet connection, there is a machine `current.FreeBSD.org` which builds a full release once a day-every now and again, try to install the latest release from it and report any failures in the process.
Read the {freebsd-bugs}. There may be a problem you can comment constructively on or with patches you can test. Or you could even try to fix one of the problems yourself.