One of the earliest things I did when becoming involved in Ubuntu community was to participate in the Stable Release Update verification process. Many Stable Release Updates are easy to verify and once the verification is done the package is quickly released to -updates and Ubuntu users everywhere.
Let’s look at a specific example:
The application youtube-dl no longer works on Ubuntu 12.04 due to a change in the format of urls for videos. This is terrible as who doesn’t like to download videos! Looking at the bug report we can see that the test case is quite simple, on an Ubuntu 12.04 system (for this bug you could even use a virtual machine or a chroot) with youtube-dl installed try downloading something and it will fail. It is important that we also verify that we are impacted by the bug, because something may be different about our configuration, setup, or hardware.
Once we have verified the failure we then enable the -proposed repository and install the proposed version of youtube-dl. We want to only install that package from proposed as it is possible that other packages in proposed may affect the behavior of the package we are testing. Then we run through the test case and verify that the bug is fixed. It is also helpful to test the package some and ensure that no new bugs were introduced. However, we (the Ubuntu SRU team) also have errors.ubuntu.com to facilitate finding these regressions.
If the bug is fixed we then change the bug tags from ‘verfication-needed’ to ‘verification-done’. For bugs with SRUs for multiple releases we want to use ‘verification-done-precise’ or whatever the release code name is. Then after the package has been in -proposed for 7 days, a member of the Stable Release Updates team will release the package from -proposed to -updates. At which point the fix will be available to Ubuntu users everywhere!
You can find Stable Release Update bugs needing verification by searching for bugs tagged ‘verification-needed’ about the release of Ubuntu you are using, or by viewing the Pending SRU report. Bugs in blue or golden need verification. If you happen to verify any bugs and think a package is ready to be released ping me, bdmurray, on #ubuntu-bugs on Freenode and I’ll have a look and release the package for you.