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Bugs in open source software !?
Who would have thought, what with commercial software being so perfect bugs, bugs bugs

history of computer bugs

How can I help ?
If you find a bug (i.e. the software gives an error or does something unexpected) please please report it (or try and fix it) !
If you ignore bugs they may not go away. What if the bug is caused by some configuration only you have made or a piece of hardware that is not in common use, or any number of a hundred other things specific to your setup?

The first step for reporting a bug is researching it.
That means checking if the project has its own bug tracking system, mailing list archive or forum and then doing a bit of googling.
This last bit may take some experimentation depending on the issue. For instance searching for "obscure_program error 39485j345Z" is far more likely to return the results you want than "very_popular_product caused an error".

Remember that although Product X is giving you an error message it could be any number of things (even the Kernel) that is actually to blame (its unlikely that application errors are caused by the Kernel, but not impossible).
Double check the man pages and check the syslog, tail /var/log/messages

Of course you can always try and fix the error yourself, make a backup of anything you are changing and have a poke around in the code, some code is very readable even if you are not familiar with the language and it is better to report your bug with detail "I found this in the code on line $$$, do you think it might be to blame?" than "I found a bug, fix it".

But not all debugging requires you to edit the code, errors like "Can not read from /etc/shadow" may simply mean that the user you are running as does not have permissions to read the requested file even though it exists.

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