Open Source From The Trenches: How to Get Involved with Open Source and be Successful


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A talk I gave at Texas Linux Fest 2010 about getting involved with open source.
Have you ever wanted to get involved with open source but don't know how? Are you struggling finding an open source project to work on? Do you want to get paid for working on open source? Well, this talk is for you then. You'll hear the candid perspective of someone that has been working in the trenches of open source for the past several years, from the good to the bad. In the end, expect to learn about how to get involved with a variety of open source projects and how it can benefit you personally and professionally.

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  • Open Source From The Trenches: How to Get Involved with Open Source and be Successful

    1. 1. Open Source from the Trenches How to get involved and be successful Chris Aniszczyk - Principal Software Engineer
    2. 2. Who the hell am I and why should you listen to me?
    3. 3. Eclipse hacker/evangelist at Red Hat Involved heavily at Eclipse. From committing to leading Eclipse Foundation Board of Directors Hacking on open source for the last several years... Gentoo Linux, Eclipse, Fedora, etc... IBM -> Self Employed -> EclipseSource -> Red Hat I get paid to work on open source software
    4. 4. Why are we here? Well, a student approached me recently with a question...
    5. 5. “How do I get involved with open source and get good at it so I can get a job?”
    6. 6. At first, I was like... WTF What do I know? He said there’s no practical “getting started with open source” guide out there...
    7. 7. He wants practical advice... If I’m giving advice, I’ll do it the open source way and share it with the world
    8. 8. My advice? Find your passion. Contribute to it. Brand yourself.
    9. 9. Find the right open source project
    10. 10. Find open source projects that are newbie-friendly Don’t get distracted with and other project hosting sites...
    11. 11. Look at Google’s Summer of Code list of mentoring organizations...
    12. 12. These organizations have already been vetted and tend to be more welcoming to new contributors Which brings me to my next point...
    13. 13. Mentors, Mentors, Mentors
    14. 14. I believe having a mentor is crucial to your success in getting involved with open source... Without a mentor you’ll waste precious time...
    15. 15. There are a open source projects out there that have mentoring programs... Take advantage of them!
    16. 16. Are you a student? Do Google’s Summer of Code* program! *you get paid to hack on open source, that’s beer money!
    17. 17. Contribute to your passion
    18. 18. Many open source projects are meritocracies In order to get involved, you have to contribute and build your repertoire
    19. 19. So simply do the work by finding bugs you can fix Your mentor can help you find some low hanging fruit...
    20. 20. Remember, there are many ways to contribute outside of code...
    21. 21. If you like books, this can give you an insight on how some OSS projects are ran
    22. 22. Get an account Track your passions...
    23. 23. Brand yourself
    24. 24. This may be odd to hear for developers, but you are a brand and you should control your image
    25. 25. Everyone is watching...
    26. 26. Like your peers... And any future employers...
    27. 27. In open source land, things are done in the open Be mindful about it Avoid negativity at all costs and kill people with kindness
    28. 28. If no one can find you, how you can expect to be successful in an environment that is all about being open?
    29. 29. Get a website & blog Get on Twitter Get on Get on IRC Get on Share your passion with the world via conversations
    30. 30. In the end, the point is that you have to understand you’re a brand and if you want to help your open source career, you need to be findable
    31. 31. You should brand yourself for the career you want, not the job you currently have
    32. 32. Networking is important The opposite of networking is NOT WORKING
    33. 33. Networking is one of the most important things you can do for yourself Build a network via conferences and online interactions
    34. 34. Attend conferences, tweetups and meetups There is no better way to connect to folks than sharing a frosty beverage in person
    35. 35. Thanks for listening I hope my advice helps Questions? Chris Aniszczyk -