The how-can-i-help program hooks into APT to list opportunities for contributions to Debian (like orphaned packages, or bugs tagged 'newcomer') for packages installed locally, after each APT invocation. It can also be invoked directly, and then lists all opportunities for contribution (not just the new ones).
The how-can-i-help program is provided by the how-can-i-help package, which can be installed by the normal means.
Opportunities for contribution
Currently, how-can-i-help shows the following opportunities for contribution:
- Packages where help is needed, including orphaned ones (from WNPP)
- 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'
There are different kinds of Work-Needing and Prospective Packages:
Orphaned (O): The package is unmaintained, feel free to adopt it. There is usually an older package available, so it can be used as a base for an updated version. Changes would probably include: packaging a more up to date version of an application, updating dependencies or if some dependencies are no longer in archive (and have ceased development) then replacing them with some other shared libraries. Sometimes the URL moves so making changes to the watch file or some other actions are required. Having an Orphaned package made current and fit for the archive could take considerably less work than building a new package from scratch.
Request For Adopter (RFA): The maintainer is looking for a potential adopter for whatever personal reasons, but is continuing to work on the package still. If you want to adopt it, an e-mail to the current maintainer is considered polite behaviour. Also the old maintainer might be able to share some tips about the package or something else which would help the new maintainer keep it as good as s/he can. There will also be a working package available, so you can base your work on it.
Intent To Adopt (ITA): Someone intends to adopt the package. You could offer your help and possibly make it a team-maintained package. Arguably team-maintained packages could have a longer life in Debian as the workload spreads among the team. There is possibility of fixing bugs and not being burned or de-motivated when you are team-maintaining!
If you need more information about the process of how to go about adopting packages, please refer to the Packaging Tutorial.
The newcomer tag indicates bugs that are suitable for folks who are new to the Debian community and are looking for ways to make a contribution.
how-can-i-help --old --show newcomer
newcomer tags can be set using this bts: bts tag 12345 + newcomer
For more information, see the longer description.
Bugs affecting Debian infrastructure
These list includes bugs tagged newcomer and affecting the part of the Debian infrastructure that uses pseudopackages to handle issues.
Packages removed or going to be removed from Debian testing
These are packages affected by RC bugs or other blockers (build failure, missing deps, etc), the maintainer might need help.
- Useful documentation:
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