I originally posted this in the Louisiana Tech Linux User Group message board (http://tlug.latech.edu). However, I felt that it might be useful posting it here also.

Hi everyone,
Since most of us are Linux users and moreover prefer Ubuntu as our primary OS I think it makes sense that we try to contribute something back to Ubuntu also. It is not that hard really and starting out myself hasn't taken more than a few minutes of time everyday.

Canonical which is the company behind Ubuntu created Launchpad (http://launchpad.net) which is almost like sourceforge.net in that people can use it for their open source project needs ranging from : managing user support to bug reports and even managing teams. Ubuntu itself is listed as a project there and there are other related projects like "Ubuntu Bugs" where users submit bug reports.

So how is it possible to contribute?

-Create an account @ http://launchpad.net
-Join a project. Eg: Ubuntu-bugs (For helping with Bug reports)
-Check the "Answers" or "Bugs" section of the project and post helpful comments or help users with bug reports : https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bugs/HowToTriage

Well it takes a while to get used to launchpad since it feels a bit overwhelming with so many possible options. Also there are various sub-teams and sub-projects that you can join in launchpad and infact doesnt even have to be related to Ubuntu!

Benefits :
-Karma Points (Updated every 24 hours)
-Expanding technical knowledge (Eg: Helping users debug/fix/investigate bugs that can seem quite daunting)
-Social Networking with fellow loyal Ubuntu users

I myself just started out and so far it looks very interesting. I have mostly been an open source user for a while. So I feel that this might be baby steps in actually contributing something back. It might not be a big thing but still better than nothing!!