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If you are anything like me, you will love Linux and the whole open source ethos What Is Open Source Software? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is Open Source Software? [MakeUseOf Explains] "Open source" is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days. You may know that certain things are open source, like Linux and Android, but do you know what it entails? What is open... Read More around it. It’s free (as in beer and as in freedom), it’s secure, it looks great and for the most part, it works great.

Linux developers give us a great product for no money. Because of this, many people feel they want to give back. However, many think that the only real way of giving back to their favorite Linux distribution is to be a developer. Well, it isn’t.

Here’s a list of some of the ways you can get involved and give back to your favorite Linux distribution, without being a developer.

1. Donate

This one is simple. Unfortunately, money doesn’t grow on trees and the thousands of developers that contribute to many of the best Linux distributions The Best Linux Distributions The Best Linux Distributions There are many Linux distributions available for a number of different purposes, which makes it difficult to choose at times. Here's a list of the very best to help you decide. Read More  do so on a voluntary basis. So projects like Ubuntu rely heavily on donations from their users.

ubuntu donate

Many Linux distributions allow you to make a donation at the time of downloading, and many others usually have a donation link somewhere on their site. Ubuntu defaults to a small donation of just $15 before downloading, considering Windows 10 costs about $120, this is a small price to pay in comparison.

Donations can be as little or as much as you want, you can even make regular donations if you prefer. Every little helps.

2. Forum Contributions

Linux distributions and open source software in general are heavily community focused 4 Helpful Communities For New Linux Users 4 Helpful Communities For New Linux Users You might be wondering, "What do I do now?" If you're at that point, then it's time you joined a Linux community — even if you only intend to lurk. Read More , with many Linux distributions supporting their users via community forums. Questions can range from simple things, like “How do I reset my user account password?” to “My machine won’t boot, how do I fix it?”

If you have been using Linux for any length of time, it’s likely that you will be able to answer some of these questions, or at least point people in the right direction. You don’t need to be a Linux wiz to help other users in community forums.

linux mint forums

3. Report Bugs

Linux developers are great at fixing bugs, but they only know what bugs to fix if users like you report them. This can be done in a number of ways.

If a program or system utility crashes whilst in use, a warning message will usually pop up and in many cases will ask you to file a bug report.

Many people simply click on the cancel button without actually filing a bug report. It is far better to click on the “report problem” button. A bug report will then automatically be generated and sent to the developers of your Linux distribution.

ubuntu error report

There are also tools like Launchpad and Github that allow users to submit bug reports manually. This is usually a simple affair that’s not much different than making a post in the community forums. Simply describe the problem you’re facing and the steps you did leading up to it.

elementary bug report

Reporting bugs really is a good habit to be in, as it will not only improve your Linux distribution overall by fixing any bugs or problems you may have, but it will also give you that warm fuzzy feeling of actually being involved with a project, rather than simply being a user.

Many Linux distributions tend to use Launchpad to manage their bugs, whilst open source applications tend to use Github 10 Free Open Source Windows Tools Hosted on GitHub 10 Free Open Source Windows Tools Hosted on GitHub Microsoft is the organization with the most open source contributors on GitHub. To celebrate this achievement, we have compiled a list of the best free Windows tools you can download from GitHub. Read More .

4. Write Documentation

Writing documentation is a great way to get involved with your favorite Linux distribution. If you have a flair for writing, but not necessarily technical, writing documentation could be a great way for you to contribute.

Many distributions have their own dedicated wiki, so you can sign up and start adding/editing documentation quickly and easily.

ubuntu documentation

Some larger distributions, like Ubuntu, have their own dedicated projects for writing manuals. The Ubuntu Manual Project is actually a project that I used to write for. Each author gets their own chapter to write.

So if you have stronger knowledge on a particular subject within Ubuntu, or any of its core applications, such as using Firefox, then you may be able to contribute to projects like the Ubuntu Manual Project.

Or, maybe you’re bi-lingual and want to translate some documentation. Many distributions are crying out for translators to help with their documentation.

Psst! We even have our own Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide Ubuntu: A Beginner's Guide Ubuntu: A Beginner's Guide Curious about Ubuntu, but not sure where to start? Start here: "Ubuntu: An Absolute Beginner's Guide" will teach you everything you need to know about Ubuntu in easy-to-understand language. Read More !

5. Spread the Word

This one is so simple, literally anyone can do it. Spread the word, people! Tell them how awesome Linux is, why you use it, and why it’s better than Windows 6 Things That Ubuntu Does Better Than Windows 6 Things That Ubuntu Does Better Than Windows Some think that Ubuntu is for nerds - but the truth is that Ubuntu is just as easy to use as Windows. In fact, there are several things Ubuntu does better than Windows 10. Read More . The more people that know about Linux, the more people are likely to try it.

It could be something as simple as following your favorite projects on social media and sharing their posts. Maybe you could write a blog post about it, or just simply give someone who says “oh, what’s that?” when they look at your screen, some information about Linux and maybe even a download link.

fedora twitter

What Are You Waiting For?

Why put it off? You can get involved right now using any of the methods above. Most Linux distributions have a page on their website that’s dedicated to getting involved, so if you’re not sure, their website is usually a good place to start.

Ubuntu actually have a very useful wizard that will allow you to work out the best way for you to contribute to their projects.

Do you contribute to your favorite Linux distribution? If so, tell us how you do it in the comments below.

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  1. Silverlokk
    December 21, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Got a flair for graphics? Create wallpapers, icons, or entire themes

  2. Zhong
    December 19, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    You can also become a package maintainer or tester if you want to challenge your coding skills. Generally those have to be requested since Linux is a community, we all need to delegate tasks and if you have couple of friends who are in the same boat as you, there's alot of ways to contribute.