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Fedora: Gone Bug Hunting

Are you a Fedora Linux user that wants to contribute to the community but don't know how?

You could start by "Zapping" bugs.

A new community-driven effort by the hobbyist Linux distribution community is underway, part of an effort to engage and expand Fedora's user base in order to rid Red Hat's community distribution of bugs.

Called the Fedora BugZappers Triage Team, the new effort is being positioned as a way for non-Red Hat employees -- that is, the Fedora "community" of users itself -- to help the project.

"I think it empowers mainly the people who want to contribute who don't know how or where to and especially those whose coding skills aren't insanely good but still want to help," Fedora contributor Jack Aboutboul told internetnews.com.

The goal of the BugZapper Team is "to be the primary line of defense for Fedora Quality Assurance (QA)." The goal of the new group is do an initial pass, a "triage" if you will, of bugs listed in Fedora's Bugzilla bug tracking system in order to access their validity.

The group's first bug day is scheduled for today.

Red Hat created the Fedora Project in 2003 after it discontinued its Red Hat Linux product.

The Fedora BugZapper Team is not the first time a triage effort has been attempted to quash Fedora bugs.

The difference between the previous attempt and this one, according to Aboutboul, is that there is a strong vision, guidelines as well as incentives for people to buy into the project.

"Also, a lot more of the backend is in place to accommodate non-Red Hat people to participate in something like this, " Aboutboul explained. "Before, it was a lot of 'ooooooh, I found something, let me find someone internal to nag so they can fix it.'"

Ideally, Aboutboul expects that the BugZapper team will only require a minimum amount of Red Hat insider interaction.

"So we do what we need to do, and Red Hat does what it needs to do," Aboutboul said. "Of course, efforts somewhat overlap because RHEL [Red Hat Enterprise Linux] draws from Fedora, but ideally a minimum level of Red Hat participation should be needed in something like this."

Engaging the community to quash bugs is a common activity across many open source projects and can often be the first point of entry for many contributors. Mozilla, Debian GNU/Linux and GNOME are among the countless projects that employ the strategy.

"We partly drew our inspiration from them and incorporate what has worked for them in the past," Aboutboul noted.

Bugs aren't the only place where the Fedora community of users have stepped up to the plate to help Red Hat. The Fedora Legacy project is a community effort that supports older versions of Fedora Core and a few of the last Red Hat Linux as well.

Fedora Core 4 was releasedin June, soon after research firm Netcraft called Fedora the fastest-growing Linux distribution in use on Web servers.