The Ubuntu Global Jam took place around the world this weekend. The Ubuntu Global Jam is an international event in which volunteers from LoCos (Ubuntu Local Committees) all around the world get together to work on improving Ubuntu. The purpose of the event is to encourage people to get involved with Ubuntu on a large scale and learn about ways in which the can contribute to Ubuntu. For instance, people can learn about and work on bug fixing, translation, documentation, testing, packaging or anything else that interests them.
The Ubuntu-ZA South African LoCo team hosted a bug fixing event at the Yola offices in Cape Town as part of the Ubuntu Global Jam, with a focus on fixing broken packages in the upcoming Ubuntu Oneiric, set to be released in October this year.
Since many of us were from a scientific background we decided to focus on fixing broken scientific packages, though that didn’t really happen and we just ended up fixing things that sounded cool or that we were specifically interested. For instance, given that I am a huge KDE fan, I tried to focus on fixing KDE packages, though I did fix a few others.
We ended up being quite a small group with Stefano Rivera (tumbleweed), a Debian Developer and Ubuntu Master of the Universe (MOTU) leading the group, Michiel Baird who (I think) had a bit of experience fixing Ubuntu Bugs and Marco Gallotta and I who had no experience fixing Ubuntu bugs. Stefano was great in walking us through fixing broken packages – from identifying them, to figuring out what was wrong with them, fixing them and then contributing the fixes back to Ubuntu and in some cases Debian and upstream.
The great thing about the Global Jam is that it encourages everyone to get involved, regardless of their skill level. So even if you’ve never touched source code in your life, you can still help out by testing, writing documentation or translating the software. It was a great experience for me – I’ve always wanted to put my skills to use and get involved in helping to improve Ubuntu, but have never known where to start. The Cape Town Global Jam, under the lead of Stefano, was a great way to get stuck into it and has set the ball in motion for a lot more work to come!
On a similar note, remember that Software Freedom Day 2011 is less than two weeks away so be sure to get involved! The Cape Linux Users Group and the UCT Linux Enthusiasts Group will be hosting an event on Software Freedom Day at UCT, so check out the Facebook Event if you’re interested in being part of it, even if it’s just to pop in and say hi