YaST switched to the GPL license back in 2004, but there were still a lot of obstacles to easy contributions to the project. There was a bunch of changes in the past to improve contribution to the project, like switching from the openSUSE subversion server to GitHub, generating documentation to doc.opensuse.org or having public IRC. But we are not satisfied and do even more steps to make it easy to contribute to YaST.
The most visible action in the last year was the conversion from YCP to Ruby. We found that having a special language just for YaST made some sense in the past, but now becomes useless and makes obstacles for newcomers which must at first learn a language before they can change anything. Ruby is a well known language with a nice ecosystem around including benchmarking, profiling, debugging or testing frameworks. The latest mentioned testing framework is quite important, because good test coverage allows reducing of fear from changes. For tests we chose the well known framework RSpec, so people coming from the Ruby world know it and others find it intuitive.
Related to tests are also continuous integration that tests code after each code change and automatically sends new packages to the devel project and to Factory if needed. We make our CI node publicly visible on the openSUSE CI server, so everyone can see if build succeeded and what is the reason if it failed.
We also decided to help newcomers with a quick introductory documentation. One page recently updated to reflect the current state is about code organization which helps newcomers to orient in current YaST modules. The content is a bit terse and a minority of pages links to some old tutorials and documentation, but we take care to quickly react to questions and suggestions.
Another change is deletion of the internal YaST IRC channel and now all communication happens on the #yast Freenode channel. This change really increases the chance that you catch YaST developers on IRC. Others ways are the YaST mailing list, Bugzilla, GitHub or openSUSE feature tracker.
So let’s start hacking YaST and if you find any obstacle, contact us, so we can remove it.
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