If you think that testing software is an unskilled activity that “even a two-year-old can perform”, keep reading, I’ll try to change your mind. If you do not agree with that sentence, keep reading, you may be interested in joining us.
Software testing is generally seen as the poor cousin of programming. While the bad reputation of testers happens in all software environments, this is more common in free software communities, probably because the “show me the code” motto is too deeply attached to the open source communities. This, unfortunately, is too often translated in unreliable software released with a lot of bugs (some of them critical).
Testing software, as any human activity, is a task that almost everybody can perform to some sort of proficiency. However, that does not mean that it is an unskilled activity. You have to know what to do. You need to have (or to develop), among others, excellent communication skills, technical writing skills, software architecture knowledge, technical research expertise, a critical mindset, etc.
We cannot leave quality to good luck. We cannot rely in having millions of users who will find bugs as they use the applications. Our users want to use the software, not to find bugs and report them. FOSS projects in general and Ubuntu in particular need a new way of rethinking testing as a skilled activity and an opportunity to contribute to the project.
We want to build a Testing Team in Ubuntu to try to minimize the impact of bugs in the released versions. This team would have a mailing list and regular meetings on IRC. Activities will be diverse and will include things like: formal manual testing, exploratory testing, writing new test cases, organize and conduct community testing days, automated testing and developing new tools (yes, if you like to code, there’s also a place for you).
We would love you to join us and make it happen.
We are having a session at UDS Lucid to discuss this topic (scheduled for Wednesday). You can subscribe to the blueprint as well.