Contributing

Miro is a Free Software [1] project. It is built, supported and maintained by a community of volunteers, users, and developers contributing their time and skills.

This is your project, too!

Everyone plays a role in Miro development—we all help to make it better. You don’t have to be a programmer to contribute to make Miro better!

This chapter covers various ways you can help the Miro project.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software

Contributing through OpenHatch

Do you want to contribute but find that the Miro project is too difficult to get involved in?

OpenHatch is a web-site that helps people like you who are interested in contributing connect with projects like Miro that are complex and non-trivial to figure out how to participate in.

If you’re interested in contributing, I encourage you to go to Miro project page and click on the big green button that says “I want to help”. Then we’ll contact you and help you help us!

Evangelize

We don’t spend money on marketing—Miro’s success is based solely on word-of-mouth and news generated by releases.

Using Miro and telling everyone you know about it helps the project tremendously. Some of these people will become users. Some will become contributors. Some will help translate. Some will contribute funds for continued development. Some will tell their friends and family.

We encourage you to download Miro, copy it, burn it to a CD, put it on a thumbdrive, and give it to friends and family.

Write about your experience with Miro. What works for you? What doesn’t? Which podcasts are you watching and listening to? How do they enrich your life and the lives of those around you?

Buy a Miro t-shirt and wear it. Tell people how the future of Open Video affects us all and how ensuring its success helps to make the world a better place.

Tell your favorite podcast publishers to add “add to Miro” buttons to their podcast sites.

Download the source code, print it out, and wallpaper your favorite building with it [2].

Support your friends using Miro and help them help us help them by sending in bug reports and feature requests or writing posts in the forums.

[2]

That’s actually probably a bad idea. Miro 5.0 contains 58,273 lines of code. Assuming 80 lines of code per page, that’d be 1064 pages. If those pages were 8 1/2 by 11, then that’s 691 square feet. That’s enough to cover the walls of a room that’s 8 feet tall by 9 feet long by 9 feet wide.

Instead of doing that, you could donate to help us make media more open.

Reporting bugs

When you encounter bugs in Miro, report them. Sometimes people encounter problems that other people encounter, but if no one reports it, we might not be aware of it.

A “bug” is a generic term covering an aspect of Miro that needs attention. This could be any of the following:

  • a crash report
  • something that could be improved
  • something that’s horribly wrong
  • support for something Miro doesn’t support but should
  • a new feature

Our bug system is at http://bugzilla.pculture.org/ .

When submitting a bug report remember that the following are all true:

  1. There are a million of you and a handful of us. There’s a very small number of paid staff working on Miro and supporting users. Right now, there are 6 developers and 1 QA.

    Help us help you by doing as much of the footwork as you can.

  2. Getting to your bug might take time. We work through bugs as quickly as we can, but many bugs are non-trivial and take time to look into. If you submit a bug and can’t work on it yourself, then it’ll sit around until someone has time to look into it. Sometimes this means that your bug will go unanswered for a while.

    It’s also possible we don’t have the equipment or configuration that allows us to reproduce your bug. In these situations, it’s very difficult for us to solve the bug unless we get lucky. If this happens, we’ll let you know.

  3. Be considerate. People who work on Miro are doing the best they can. Being easy to work with makes it more likely someone will want to work with you on your problem.

  4. Use an email address that let’s us contact you. If you use an email address that you then throw away and we have questions, then those questions will go unanswered. After a couple of weeks with no response, we’ll probably resolve the bug as INCOMPLETE because we don’t have the information we need to continue working on it.

We use Bugzilla as our bug tracker. We know it’s oriented to developers and not to end users. If you find it overly complicated, find another way to report your issue.

Test

We spend a lot of time testing Miro. Even so, it’s impossible for us to test Miro in all the configurations on all the platforms with all the various video hardware and other complex configurations. Helping us test is immensely useful and directly impacts the quality of Miro releases.

There are two ways you can help us test Miro. The first is through a series of unit tests that exist alongside the source code. These unit tests test a small amount of Miro, but do so in a programmatic way.

The second and more important way we test Miro is running through the many tests that Janet has put together. Often running through a test is a 5-minute endeavor. Having many people run through the same tests covering different operating system and hardware configurations gives us a good feel for how well those parts of the code are working. Comprehensive user-interface tests are very important in a desktop application.

Whether it’s testing a nightly build to see if a specific bug has been fixed or testing a release candidate to make sure it’s solid for a final release, Miro wouldn’t exist without the community of volunteer testers.

Additionally, testers see new features and bug fixes before they’re available in final releases. If you’re interested in the bleeding-edge of Miro development, then you’ll be interested in testing.

If you’re interested in helping us test, visit Janet’s Miro testing blog.

Translate

Miro is translated by the community. You can help out by translating strings in your language through the Launchpad interface.

Translations are synced into the Miro codebase periodically during the development cycle as well as just before releases.

Coding

Miro is a Free Software project and we encourage everyone to help us fix bugs, implement new features, and fine-tune the existing code. It’s often the case that there are things we want to do to make Miro better, but those things end up sitting in someone’s queue for long periods of time because we lack the time and resources to get to everything.

If you’re interested in helping to code, visit the Miro development Center.

If you’re just getting started, look at bugs in our Bugzilla bug-tracker tagged “bite-sized”.

If you want to get involved, but need a mentor or a helping hand, hop on the #miro-hackers IRC channel on freenode.net. If you don’t know what that means, send an email to will dot guaraldi at pculture dot org and tell Will that you want to help out, but don’t know where to start.

Contribute money

Most small projects require paid staff whose primary job it is to facilitate development and provide continuity for the project as contributors come and go. Without paid staff to keep things going, small projects sometimes run out of momentum, stagnate, and cease to be meaningful.

Participatory Culture Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to ensuring that our political, social and cultural systems are open and democratic for everyone. A huge part of this mission is ensuring the success of Open Video.

You can see more about our mission and the projects we work on at our website.

Contributions are an important way we raise money to fund further development. Contributing money to PCF directly impacts continued development on Miro.

Donate at <http://www.miroguide.com/donate>.

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