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Contributing to Liberté Linux

General guidelines

Liberté Linux is an open-source project, and as such relies on community to aid its development. However, as a project that is often considered or used by people who are not necessarily computer-literate, or do not profess relevant knowledge and experience, it persistently generates pointless discussion and suggestions. When posting a news comment, reporting a problem, or suggesting an implementation detail, please keep the following questions in mind:

  1. How does your proposal, issue report, or criticism help Liberté Linux?
  2. What sets you apart from other contributors? What unique education, knowledge, or experience do you possess?
  3. Have you actually done anything? Open source is about doing things, not socialization or online arguments.

For instance, a different Internet browser is frequently suggested. This is a potential improvement for Liberté — however, ask yourself: are you an expert on browser privacy? Have you evaluated a custom Liberté image with your suggested alternative? Talk is cheap and predictable — what effort have you actually expended? What information can you bring to the table that cannot be located after a 2-minute online search?

Another example is faulty hardware and/or failure to follow installation procedures. Fixing bugs is important, but is your problem actually a bug?

  • If you are not familiar with Linux or computers, have you consulted someone who is?
  • Have you tested other live Linux distributions on same hardware?
  • Have you tried different boot media, different format, BIOS settings?
  • Will the community benefit from your problem being solved? —Also something to keep in mind when not communicating in English.

Fixing bugs is not the same as helpdesk support, and the latter is out of scope for this project. Of course, better documentation could help, but again — have you written a guide that could benefit some users, or are you simply suggesting that one should be written?

As an example of well-thought-of criticism, consider this detailed suggestion to add perfect forward secrecy and repudiability to cables communication, which have been indeed implemented since then. The commenter is clearly familiar with cases where lack of such features is problematic, and has the technical knowledge to generate useful discussion on the subject.

Contributing code

The codebase is located on GitHub, which provides an easy and intuitive platform for contributing code and patches. Source code-related issues are handled in GitHub’s issues tracker.

A first step at familiarizing oneself with Liberté Linux source code should be probably getting acquainted with Gentoo, and building a custom image. Afterwards, you can expect to be able to tweak system-level and user-level configuration, and augment the build process (which requires shell scripting knowledge). With a decent Computer Science background and systems programming experience you should be able to dissect cables communication protocol and sources.

Please also see whether you can contribute to resolution of the following open bugs that are related to Liberté Linux: Gentoo, Savannah, Kernel, Busybox, Sudo.

Reporting bugs

If you encounter a problem with Liberté, please report providing information gathered with the bug-report script:

  • Acquire root access in a terminal (see Documentation).
  • Run bug-report in a writable directory (e.g., cd /mnt/boot).
  • Attach the generated archive to the submitted problem report.

In case of installation / boot failure, make sure that your hardware is supported by mainstream Linux distributions when booting from the same media type.

See How to Report Bugs Effectively for some advice on correctly reporting software bugs.

NOTE: Hardware and network identifying information (serial numbers, IP and MAC addresses, ESSIDs, etc.), is automatically removed, but you are advised to check the submitted files manually.

Support Liberté Linux

You can easily show your support for Liberté by writing about your experience with the distribution in a blog post or a news article, highlighting the shortcomings and suggesting new features that you would find useful.