You have probably heard last week that Peter stepped down as Dolphin maintainer. I would like to thank him for the good collaboration that we had during the last years. It was a great pleasure to work with him, and I think that his departure is a big loss for KDE.
He entrusted the future maintenance of Dolphin to me, so I will do my best to keep it in good shape. I think that ease of use and stability are what users appreciate most about Dolphin, and I want to make sure that it stays that way.
My most important medium-term goal is to attract new developers. I think that this is of vital importance for a number of reasons:
- Any software project with a low bus number is in great danger.
- I am the maintainer now, but that does not mean that the amount of time that I can spend on Dolphin development will suddenly increase. I will try to read all incoming bug reports (note that it can take a while until I look at a newly reported bug – even maintainers have a real life and go on holiday sometimes) and try to reproduce them, at least those that can be reproduced using my hardware and software setup. I will also try to fix a couple of bugs for each release. But I cannot implement any major new features if I have to do it all alone.
- I do not like to work alone. I have always enjoyed discussions about code with Peter and other developers, and I quite like the idea that all commits should be reviewed. Obviously, discussing patches and review for everyone is only possible if the number of people who contribute to the project on a regular basis is greater than one.
To make it easier for potential new contributors to find something to work on, I would like to start a joint effort to go through all Dolphin bug reports, close obsolete ones and assign useful keywords to those that can be reproduced easily. Real life will keep me busy for the next couple of weeks, but then I will get in touch with the Bugsquad and get something organised. Any help will be welcome :-) I think that participating in a joint bug triaging session is a nice way to start contributing to a free software project – as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, my involvement in KDE started with two Konqueror bug days a couple of years ago.
Not only code contributions, but also help in other areas is appreciated, of course. Those include:
- Triaging bug reports at bugs.kde.org. It really helps a lot if triagers add useful information to bug reports, point out duplicates, ask the reporter for more information, and thus reduce the number of bug reports that need the maintainer’s attention. It’s also nice for users that their reports can get quick replies even when the maintainer is busy with other things.
- User support at the forum. It’s amazing to see how fast a group of dedicated forum members replies to most user questions and resolves many of them. I think that this improves the user experience considerably.
- Documentation and translation. Especially Burkhard Lück does a great job keeping the documentation of Dolphin (and other applications) in good shape.
If you would like to contribute to Dolphin or KDE in general, but you do not want to write code, getting involved in one of these areas is a great way to help the project to move forward.
Summary: If you want to get involved with Dolphin development, you are more than welcome! If you don’t know a good place to start, stay tuned and wait a couple of weeks for my next posts.