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Part of being a maintainer is providing support — not for the software in general — but for the port and any FreeBSD-specific quirks and problems. Users may contact you with questions, suggestions, problems and patches. Most of the time their correspondence will be specific to FreeBSD.
Occasionally you may have to invoke your skills in diplomacy, and kindly point users seeking general support to the appropriate resources. Less frequently you will encounter a person asking why the <literal>RPM</literal>s are not up to date or how can they get the software to run under Foo Linux. Take the opportunity to tell them that your port is up to date (if it is, of course!), and suggest that they try FreeBSD.
Sometimes users and developers will decide that you are a busy person whose time is valuable and do some of the work for you. For example, they might:
submit a PR or send you patches to update your port,
investigate and perhaps provide a fix to a PR, or
otherwise submit changes to your port.
In these cases your main obligation is to respond in a timely manner. Again, the timeout for non-responsive maintainers is 14 days. After this period changes may be committed unapproved. They have taken the trouble to do this for you; so please try to at least respond promptly. Then review, approve, modify or discuss their changes with them as soon as possible.
If you can make them feel that their contribution is appreciated (and it should be) you will have a better chance persuading them to do more things for you in the future :-).
Finding and fixing a broken port
There are two really good places to find a port that needs some attention.
You can use the <link xlink:href="https://bugs.freebsd.org/search">web interface</link> to the Problem Report database to search through and view unresolved PRs. The majority of ports PRs are updates, but with a little searching and skimming over synopses you should be able to find something interesting to work on (the <literal>sw-bug</literal> class is a good place to start).
The other place is the <link xlink:href="http://portsmon.FreeBSD.org/">FreeBSD Ports Monitoring System</link>. In particular look for unmaintained ports with build errors and ports that are marked <varname>BROKEN</varname>. It is OK to send changes for a maintained port as well, but remember to ask the maintainer in case they are already working on the problem.
Once you have found a bug or problem, collect information, investigate and fix! If there is an existing PR, follow up to that. Otherwise create a new PR. Your changes will be reviewed and, if everything checks out, committed.
When to call it quits
As your interests and commitments change, you may find that you no longer have time to continue some (or all) of your ports contributions. That is fine! Please let us know if you are no longer using a port or have otherwise lost time or interest in being a maintainer. In this way we can go ahead and allow other people to try to work on existing problems with the port without waiting for your response. Remember, FreeBSD is a volunteer project, so if maintaining a port is no fun any more, it is probably time to let someone else do it!
In any case, the Ports Management Team (<literal>portmgr</literal>) reserves the right to reset your maintainership if you have not actively maintained your port in some time. (Currently, this is set to 3 months.) By this, we mean that there are unresolved problems or pending updates that have not been worked on during that time.
Resources for ports maintainers and contributors
The <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/porters-handbook">Porter's Handbook</link> is your hitchhiker's guide to the ports system. Keep it handy!
<link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/problem-reports">Writing FreeBSD Problem Reports</link> describes how to best formulate and submit a PR. In 2005 more than eleven thousand ports PRs were submitted! Following this article will greatly assist us in reducing the time needed to handle your PRs.
The <link xlink:href="https://bugs.freebsd.org/bugzilla/query.cgi"> Problem Report database</link>.
The <link xlink:href="http://portsmon.FreeBSD.org/">FreeBSD Ports Monitoring System</link> can show you cross-referenced information about ports such as build errors and problem reports. If you are a maintainer you can use it to check on the build status of your ports. As a contributor you can use it to find broken and unmaintained ports that need to be fixed.
The <link xlink:href="http://portscout.FreeBSD.org">FreeBSD Ports distfile scanner</link> can show you ports for which the distfiles are not fetchable. You can check on your own ports or use it to find ports that need their <varname>MASTER_SITES</varname> updated.
<package>ports-mgmt/poudriere</package> is the most thorough way to test a port through the entire cycle of installation, packaging, and deinstallation. Documentation is located at the <link xlink:href="https://github.com/freebsd/poudriere"> poudriere github repository</link>
<citerefentry vendor="ports"><refentrytitle>portlint</refentrytitle><manvolnum>1</manvolnum></citerefentry> is an application which can be used to verify that your port conforms to many important stylistic and functional guidelines. <application>portlint</application> is a simple heuristic application, so you should use it <emphasis>only as a guide</emphasis>. If <application>portlint</application> suggests changes which seem unreasonable, consult the <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/porters-handbook">Porter's Handbook</link> or ask for advice.
The <link xlink:href="http://lists.FreeBSD.org/mailman/listinfo/freebsd-ports">FreeBSD ports mailing list</link> is for general ports-related discussion. It is a good place to ask for help. You can <link xlink:href="https://lists.freebsd.org/mailman/listinfo">subscribe, or read and search the list archives</link>. Reading the archives of the <link xlink:href="http://lists.FreeBSD.org/mailman/listinfo/freebsd-ports-bugs">FreeBSD ports bugs mailing list</link> and the <link xlink:href="http://lists.FreeBSD.org/mailman/listinfo/svn-ports-head">SVN commit messages for the ports tree for head/</link> may also be of interest.
Getting Started in Other Areas
Looking for something interesting to get started that is not mentioned elsewhere in this article? The FreeBSD Project has several Wiki pages containing areas within which new contributors can get ideas on how to get started.
The <link xlink:href="https://wiki.freebsd.org/JuniorJobs">Junior Jobs</link> page has a list of projects that might be of interest to people just getting started in FreeBSD, and want to work on interesting things to get their feet wet.
The <link xlink:href="https://wiki.freebsd.org/IdeasPage">Ideas Page</link> contains various "nice to have" or "interesting" things to work on in the Project.

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(itstool) path: sect2/para
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read-only
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article.translate.xml:1147
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a year ago
Source string age
a year ago
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articles/contributing.pot, string 204