Do you want to help contribute to Ubuntu but you don’t want to run the development release? Do you want to see Hardy become more bug-free? Then do I have a deal for you! 🙂
Ubuntu pushes updates to stable releases (currently Dapper, Fiesty, Gutsy, and Hardy) through a system of review and testing. Once stable release updates (SRUs) are prepared and approved for testing they are uploaded to the corresponding -proposed repository (hardy-proposed for example). The packages in -proposed wait there for at least one week and until 2 people verify that the bug(s) being fixed is indeed fixed. This step of SRU verification is where you all can help.
What you can do to help: You can look at the list of Pending SRUs and pick something you’d like to verify. Click on the bugs in the “Changelog Bugs” column, read about them and follow any instructions on how to reproduce the bug. Then install the package from -proposed (System->Administration->Software Sources, go to the Updates tab and select Pre-released updates) and then retest to verify that the bug is fixed. Report your findings, both positive and negative as a comment to the bug report.
Where you can go for help on how to help: The #ubuntu-testing IRC channel on irc.freenode.net is the place to go. Steve Beattie (sbeattie) and others would be glad to assist.
What you get in return: a warm fuzzy feeling for help your fellow Ubuntu users have the best Linux experience possible. You also might find you enjoy testing and get involved with other testing efforts the QA team will be doing for Intrepid.
Rock on people!
P.S. did I mention that SRU verifications are great for 5-a-day? 😉