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See [[http://www.donarmstrong.com/posts/newcomer_bts_tag/|announcment]]. See [[http://www.donarmstrong.com/posts/newcomer_bts_tag/|announcement]].

Deprecated in favor of the official newcomer tag

As of 2014-11-15, the BTS supports the official newcomer tag, which is meant to replace the old gift usertag.
Please prefer newcomer for future use, and migrate occurrences of the old gift usertag to it.

See announcement.

the Gift bug tag

What's the Gift tag? How to use it?

The gift tag indicates bugs that are suitable for new contributors to Debian, willing to make a gift to Debian maintainers, or to Debian in general.

Here is the list of bugs tagged '''gift'''.

If you want to work on a bug tagged 'gift'

  • Pick a package or bug that sounds interesting to you.
  • Read the bug report carefully, and try to reproduce the problem (if appropriate), and generally understand what the bug report is trying to accomplish.
  • Download the source for the package, see what you can work out before you start asking questions.
  • If/when you need help, e-mail the package maintainer or debian-mentors@lists.debian.org, mentioning the bug you're working on and what you've done so far.

  • When you've got a patch, e-mail it to the bug report (NNNNNN@bugs.debian.org).

  • Take feedback from the package maintainer to improve your patch. Don't think of the feedback as criticism, but just as a way you can improve the quality of your work.
  • When the patch is approved and uploaded, have a little celebration in your own style.

If you don't understand any of these instructions, feel free to e-mail debian-mentors@lists.debian.org.

If you wish to tag a bug

When tagging a bug with the gift tag:

  • Make sure that you have at least an idea of the resolution path for this bug, so you will be able to guide new contributors interested in fixing it.
  • Make sure that you will be able to upload an updated package in a timely manner.
  • Use this tag only on packages (a) you maintain or co-maintain; or (b) owned by Debian QA Group (in this case, please subscribe to the bug).

  • Make sure that you are willing to provide help, directions and feedback to new contributors. This tag is not a magic way to get perfect patches!
  • Try to use this tag on "interesting" bugs (at least for some definitions of "interesting"). The new contributor should ideally be able to learn new things fixing this bug.

To set this tag:

  • send an email message like the following, replacing bugnumber with the bug's number.

From: [...]
To: bugnumber@bugs.debian.org
Bcc: control@bugs.debian.org

user debian-qa@lists.debian.org
usertag bugnumber + gift

Write here some comments about what you expect from the patch, some initial directions, etc.
  • or use the bts command (in the devscripts package):

$ bts user debian-qa@lists.debian.org . usertag 123456 + gift

# or simply (starting from devscripts 2.10.36)
$ bts tags 123456 + gift

The PTS shows gifted bugs belonging to a given source package in the bugs box, on a dedicated line. You can invite potential contributors to skim through PTS pages of packages they are interested in, to find out whether there are gifts for them.


  • Always make sure that the bug report has enough information for a new contributor to understand what you are expecting.
  • Please make an effort to treat questions/patches from new contributors as high priority. Remember that a good experience with this bug might encourage them to continue contributing to Debian (and a bad experience might have the opposite effect!).

TODO list

Write a script to generate a better list of bugs.

  • For example, it would be nice to filter the list to only include packages that the contributor uses.
  • It would also be nice to be able to include comments in the list (like on bts.tz.net)
  • It seems to me (Solveig) that plenty of Lintian warnings are really easy to fix