If you saw Planet Ubuntu today, you saw Jonathan Ernst's post about feature regressions. I was discussing this with Jordan Mantha last week. I think too much time is lost during sync, and with nobody being willing to test until beta or RC by which point it's too late to fix much. He seemed to agree. I think a year-long release cycle would be nice, but he says Ubuntu's testers are a major chunk of GNOME's testers. Hrm, that's tough then, because we don't want to cut out the number of people testing each of GNOME's releases.
Well, anyway, we got to talking about testing and more effective testing. Writing automated test scripts is something that comes up a lot, but it never happens. And anyway, we don't even have specs written up for what those automated tests would do. So we need to start small. We need a set of specs, a list of what minimum functionality there needs to be in at least all of the default desktop software. And we need to have directions for using that functionality by hand. Then, during development, we can all run through little 5-minute tests each week and ensure a minimum of functionality. The more often we test, the quicker we catch regressions.
To this end, I've created a page on the wiki for Application Testing. I made lists of applications that need to be tested. We need test cases. If you've got 15, 20 minutes, why not pick an application out of the list, create its page (there's a template available!), and fill in a few test cases? Right now, Seahorse is the only one with test cases. Or if you get there and more pages have been started, take a read through and fill in any missing details or add a few more test cases. Each test case takes about 10 minutes to write for simple tasks.
I want to have a lot of these test cases ready by UDS, but I can't do it myself. Anyone with a reasonable grasp of English (so anyone that can read this) can help write these. You don't need to be a developer. You don't need to know how to triage. You just need to know what the application can do and what buttons you need to click to do it.