PC-BSD is a community project and relies on involvement from its users and supporters. This section lists some ideas for becoming involved.
In order to make PC-BSD better with each release we appreciate your feedback and help. You are welcome to post ideas and to report any bugs/problems that you encounter when using PC-BSD.
Become a Beta Tester
If you like playing around with operating systems and have a bit of spare time, one of the most effective ways you can assist the project is by reporting problems you encounter using the current release of PC-BSD.
If you have a spare system, you can also download and try out the latest beta or release candidate version. These versions are still in testing and haven't been officially released yet. Having as many people as possible using PC-BSD on many different hardware configurations assists the project in finding and fixing bugs. This makes using PC-BSD better for everyone.
If this interests you, subscribe to the testing mailing list. As new testing versions become available they will be announced on this list. You will also be able to see what problems other testers are finding and can check to see if the problem exists on your hardware as well. You can also subscribe to Gmane's RSS feeds if you want a quick way to keep up with the subjects being discussed on the testing mailing list.
Anyone can become a beta tester. Follow these tips so that you can accurately describe your findings so they can be fixed as soon as possible:
- before sending an email, search the mailing list to see if anyone else has reported a similar problem
- when reporting a new issue, use a descriptive subject in your email that includes the error and the version of PC-BSD. Ideally, the subject is short (8 or less words) and contains key words about the error. An example would be "Warden on 8.1 fails to export jail".
- ensure that the body of your email includes the PC-BSD version and architecture (e.g. 8.1 RC2, 64 bit version)
- give a short (2-3 sentences) description of how to recreate the error (e.g. when I right click a jail in warden and select Export jail to a .wdn file, it lets me select a file name, but then it freezes)
- include any other info that may be useful (e.g. this seems to work on my 32 bit system or this used to work on 8.0)
- if the problem appears to be hardware related, include a copy of /var/run/dmesg.boot as this file shows the hardware that was probed the last time the PC-BSD system booted
Become a Translator
PC-BSD uses the Pootle management system for managing its localizations. Pootle makes it easy to find out if your native language is fully supported by PC-BSD. You can also assist translating any menus that have not been translated yet as Pootle provides a very easy to use editor for submitting translated text.
To see the status of a localization, open up the PCBSD Translation System in your browser, as seen in Figure X-XX:
The localizations PC-BSD users have requested are listed alphabetically on the left. If your language is missing and you would like to help in its translation, send an email to the translations mailing list so it can be added.
The green bar in the Overall Completion column indicates the percentage of PC-BSD menus that have been localized. If a language is not at 100%, it means that the menus that currently aren't translated will appear in English instead of in that language.
If you click on a language name then click on the hyperlink Name pcbsd, you'll see each menu item. The example shown in Figure X-XX is for the Greek localization:
In this example, the menu for CrashHandler is complete, but the one for LifePreserver is not.
Become a Developer
If you like programming, and especially coding on FreeBSD, we'd love to see you join the PC-BSD Team.
Found a bug in PC-BSD? If so, please take the time to read through this section first to ensure that your bug gets reported to the correct group and is resolved in a timely fashion.
The first thing to determine is the type of bug you are encountering. Is it a bug that is preventing you from properly installing and running PC-BSD (a system bug), or is it an issue with an installed software package such as FireFox (an application bug)?
An application bug can fall into a few different categories:
1. Application Packaging Bug
The first is a packaging bug, which is when you cannot install the application or it simply crashes on startup. For these types of bugs, please report them on our Trac Database and for the Type, select "PBI Packaging Bug". Please provide as much detail as possible about the bug, such as:
- Name of Program
- What version of PC-BSD you are running
- What architecture you are using (32bit or 64bit)
- Detailed description of the bug, including a copy of the crash logfile, if generated
2. Application Runtime Bug
An application runtime bug occurs when an application installs and is able to start successfully, but during use, it crashes or displays some other type of undesired behavior. An example would be OpenOffice failing to import a type of document properly or a chat client unable to keep a connection to a network. These types of bugs are best reported to the developers of the application. The best way to locate them is by searching for your application in Software Manager, then clicking the "Vendor" link. Most software sites have a "bug report" link or another way to contact the original developer to report your issue.
A system bug is any bug which prevents the initial installation of PC-BSD or issues with hardware. Some examples would be a non-bootable system, failed installation, missing drivers for your hardware, or a non-functional desktop after installation. To report this type of issue, please follow the instructions below for your type of system bug:
1. Driver Bugs
An example of a driver bug would be a missing network driver, no sound output, or no disk drives detected. Most of these types of issues are directly related to the FreeBSD base upon which PC-BSD is built, and are best fixed by discussing them with the FreeBSD team directly. Reporting a bug to FreeBSD can be done using the Send PR page. You should also search the FreeBSD mailing lists as other users may have already discovered the bug or have a work-around for your particular hardware. Below are some of the related mailing lists:
- ACPI - Power Management and ACPI Development
- Emulation - Place to discuss Linux, VirtualBox, Wine and Linux Flash plugin support
- Multimedia - Sound Drivers and Multimedia Applications
- USB - USB Support and Development
- Xorg - Xorg / Video Drivers and Development
2. Installation Bugs
Any bugs encountered during the installation routine of PC-BSD should be reported to the Trac Database, with as much detail as possible, including:
- PC-BSD version and architecture
- hardware information, disk sizes, amount of RAM and CPU
- specific installation notes such as any non-standard features chosen or a custom disk layout
- information in the "more details" box of the installation failed dialog box
3. Other Bugs
Please report any bugs with HAL or external USB disk mounting using the instructions here. Report issues specific to running the KDE desktop to the KDE on FreeBSD Bug Tracker and general KDE bugs to the KDE Bug Tracking system.
Submit PBI Requests
Is an application that you need not currently available as a PBI? Making a PBI request is an excellent way to let PBI developers know which applications are most useful to PC-BSD users. Before requesting a PBI, please do the following:
- check in Software Manager to see if a PBI already exists. If one does but you want to request a more recent version, please say so in your request.
- search at Freshports to see if there is an existing FreeBSD package as it is much easier and quicker to make a PBI from an existing package. If a package does not already exist, please say so in your request.
- check to see if a request has already been made in the PBI Requests Forum or PBI-dev Mailing list.
You can make your request one of two ways:
Whatever method you choose, include the name of the PBI you are requesting in the thread name or email subject line. That way it is easy for PBI developers and other PC-BSD users to know which applications have been requested.
People who create PBIs are subscribed to both the PBI Requests forum and the PBI-dev mailing list. Usually, someone will respond to a request within a few days either indicating that they are working on creating the PBI or with an explanation if creating a PBI will be problematic. The PBI process is as follows:
1. a user requests a PBI
2. someone responds to the request and creates a PBI module
3. the PBI module is sent to the pbi-dev mailing list so it can be added to the PBI build server
4. the PBI module is built on the PBI build server
5. once the PBI is built, PBI testers test for basic functionality such as verifying that the application starts and its menus appear to be present and working
6. once the PBI is tested, the PBI is uploaded to PBIDir so it can be available in Software Manager
7. once the PBI is uploaded, the PBI request is moved from the PBI Requests Forum to the Finished PBIs forum
Please note that it takes at least 2-7 days for a new PBI to go from step 3 to step 7 as it needs to be fully tested. If there is a delay, that means a problem was found in the PBI and that the testers are trying to resolve the problem.
If you wish to be notified whenever a new PBI is added or an existing one is upgraded to a newer version, subscribe to the Latest PBI RSS feed.
The previous section indicated that new PBI modules are uploaded to the PBI build server. There are actually several build locations, according to PC-BSD version and architecture:
- PC-BSD 7.x - i386
- PC-BSD 7.x - amd64
- PC-BSD 8.x - i386
- PC-BSD 8.x - amd64
- PC-BSD 9.x - i386
- PC-BSD 9.x - amd64
Figure X-XX shows a sample from the PC-BSD 8.x 32 bit location:
There are two ways you can assist in testing PBIs.
First, if you wish to help test a PBI before it has been approved, go to the build location for your version and architecture. Find the name of the PBI you wish to test in the Module column and click its hyperlink. You can then download the file with the .pbi extension. If you double-click the downloaded PBI in Dolphin, it will install the PBI for you. If you find any problems with the PBI, send an email to the PBI-dev mailing list describing the problem.
Second, you can try to resolve PBI modules that have a Build Status of FAILED. If you click on the name of a failed module, you can download the build.log.bz2 for that module. To access this file, you can either:
bunzip2 build.log.bz2 to unzip the file so you can send it to a text processor to read it.
bzcat build.log.bz2 to read the file without unzipping it. It will scroll down to the end, where the error occurred. Use bzcat build.log.bz2 | more if you prefer to scroll through the file.
If you think you know the cause of the problem after reading the error messages, you will need the module itself to try to resolve the problem. Modules are located in the PC-BSD subversion repository. To download the module, you can use the svn command. To give an example, the math/scilab PBI was flagged as FAILED in Figure X-XX. To download that module, cd to a suitable directory and issue the command:
Note that the command uses the svn:// URI and does not include the /browser/ section in the URL.
This command will create a directory called scilab and place the module's files in that directory. If you make changes to these files to correct the problem, create a tar.gz of the directory and send the tarball to the PBI-dev mailing list so the changes can be uploaded to the build server.
If you wish to create a PBI for PC-BSD versions 7.x or 8.x, refer to the instructions in the The PBI Module Builder Guide.
The PBI format for 9.x is different and the PBI Format for 9.0 and Beyond describes the changes. Documentation will be added to the PC-BSD 9 Handbook describing how to build PBI modules in the new format.
To help the PC-BSD project financially, why not consider making a donation if you're happy with our product? Alternatively you can buy your PC-BSD installation CD/DVD and cool stuff from FreeBSD Mall, PC-BSD's sister company. Companies may consider buying professional support from iXsystems.
Host a Mirror
We are always interested in more download mirrors. If you have spare web space and bandwidth on your server, PC-BSD will be greatly helped if you would be willing to donate this to us. More mirrors means higher download speeds and more (local) servers for users to download from. PC-BSD is also distributed as torrent and you can help us with seeding, especially the first two weeks after a new release.
Mirrors are the lifeblood of any project such as PC-BSD. If you have a system with a high-speed connection, 150-200GB of space, and the ability to "rsync" with a host, then we need you!
To mirror the PC-BSD ISO / PBI collection, you may use "rsync".
NOTE: Once you've begin the rsync process, please send an email letting us know of the Mirror URL, so we can get you listed on pcbsd.org / pbidir.com.
- rsync -vaz --delete isc.pcbsd.org::ftp .
(Mirror the entire ISO / PBIdir collection) Recommended Frequency: Daily
Become an Advocate
So you love PC-BSD? Why not tell the world about it? Your family, your friends, fellow students and colleagues? You won't be the only one that likes a free, virus-free, spyware-free and adware-free operating system. You can burn a couple of DVDs and pass them out.
Webmasters and bloggers can put a Spread PC-BSD button on their site.