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Getting Started in Free and Open Source Software
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Getting Started in Free and Open Source Software


Many people are interested in contributing to Free and Open Source software projects, but they are not sure how to get started. In this talk, Leslie Hawthorn covers the basics of engaging with the …

Many people are interested in contributing to Free and Open Source software projects, but they are not sure how to get started. In this talk, Leslie Hawthorn covers the basics of engaging with the Open Source community, gives practical advice on retaining new contributors and explores the successes of some of the attendees at Free Software and Linux Days in Istanbul, April 2-3, 2010.

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  • 1. Free and Open Source Software for New Contributors: How to Get Started and Stay Involved Leslie Hawthorn Free Software & Linux Days, Istanbul April 2, 2010 hawthornlandings.org
  • 2. The Standard Disclaimer “These are my opinions based on my experiences with the FOSS community, not those of any past or future employer.” </legal speak>
  • 3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/derricksphotos/898175328/
  • 4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenniferwoodardmaderazo/2768264924/
  • 5. Step One Choose a Project
  • 6. http://www.flickr.com/photos/fogus/2630034908/
  • 7.  
  • 8.  
  • 9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gwennypics/169517349/
  • 10. So You Have a Few Ideas Now What?
  • 11. http://www.flickr.com/photos/usarmyafrica/4074611525/
  • 12. Understand Project Values
    • Codes of Conduct
      • Ubuntu's is widely referenced and remixed
        • Be considerate, be respectful, be collaborative
    • Unwritten “Codes of Conduct”
    • 13. Does this project share your values?
  • 14. Understand Project Values (cont'd)
      Diversity Statements “ We welcome people of any gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, size, nationality, sexual orientation, ability level, neurotype, religion, culture, subculture, and political opinion. We welcome activists, artists, bloggers, crafters, dilettantes, musicians, photographers, readers, writers, ordinary people, extraordinary people, and everyone in between. We welcome people who want to change the world, people who want to keep in touch with friends, people who want to make great art, and people who just need a break after work. We welcome fans, geeks, nerds, and pixel-stained technopeasant wretches. We welcome Internet beginners who aren't sure what any of those terms refer to.”
  • 15. Spend Some Time on the Project's Website
    • Start with the “About” Page
    • 16. Find (or Ask For) Newbie Documentation
  • 17. Source Code & Developer Documentation
    • Observe How Developers Use Comments
    • 18. Review Style/Coding Guidelines
  • 19. Mailing Lists are Critical
    • Browse the archives
      • You can't read everything – search!
    • Determine the key players
    • 20. Asking Questions
      • Write a useful subject line
      • 21. Show you've done your research
      • 22. Wait for an answer
  • 23. Basic Netiquette
    • Choose a Reasonable “Handle”
    • 24. Don't Use Text Speak
    • 25. Be Formal in Your First Few Posts
  • 26. What is Top Posting?
      I really want a pink and yellow pony!! >> What kind of pony would you like?
  • 27. Learn to Love IRC IRC = Internet Relay Chat http://www.flickr.com/photos/minghan/479815487/
  • 32. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thetruthabout/3019931963/
  • 33. You've Found Your Tribe Ways to Get Involved
  • 34. For Everyone
    • File Bugs
    • 35. Write Effective Bug Reports
      • What you were doing
      • 36. What you thought should happen
      • 37. What happened instead
      • 38. Software & hardware specs
  • 39. For Developers
    • Check the Issue Tracker for “Easy” or “Beginner” Bugs
    • 40. Submit a Patch
  • 41. For Everyone
    • Triage Bugs
    • 42. Answer Questions in IRC
    • 43. Point People in the Right Direction
  • 44. But Wait, I'm Not Technical (Enough) Free and Open Source Software Needs All Kinds of Contributors
  • 45. For Writers Hint: Not Just for Writers
    • Offer to Document Information You Get
    • 46. Press Releases and Newsletters
    • 47. Testimonials & Developer / User Interviews
  • 48. For Artists http://www.flickr.com/photos/nitot/3038135565//
  • 52. For Marketers Hint: Marketing is Not a Dirty Word
    • Project Presentation
    • 53. Collateral: Data Sheets, Project Brochures
    • 54. Social Media
    • 55. Swag!
    You Don't Have to be This Dude to Do Marketing // http://www.flickr.com/photos/mshades/2079611269/
  • 56. For the Socially Inclined Also Known As People Who Like People in Real Life
    • Join or Start a Local User Group
    • 57. Offer to Staff a Booth or Table
    • 58. Volunteer to Help at the Next FOSS Conference
  • 59. For Teachers
    • Create Training Materials: How To's, Tutorials
    • 60. Bonus Points for Video or In Person Training
    • 61. Give a Talk about Your Project
    Anyone who can share knowledge well is a teacher. http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicago2016/3277192438/
  • 62. My Project Doesn't Do Any of This Stuff.... Wonderful! Time for You to Do Something New and Exciting!
  • 63. For Those With FOSS Experience A Few Tips on Attracting and Retaining Newbies
  • 64. Check Your Tone http://www.flickr.com/photos/derricksphotos/898175328/
  • 65. Share Your Mistakes Source http://www.flickr.com/photos/tcatcarson/3714117676/
  • 66. Recognition = Retention Source http://www.flickr.com/photos/adampieniazek/445407705/
  • 67. Recognition = Delegating Source http://www.flickr.com/photos/bohman/210977249/
  • 68. Coders: Other Ways to Get Started
    • Improve FOSS
    • 69. Get Valuable Employment Experience
    • 70. Learn from an Experienced Mentor
    • 71. Become Part of a Vibrant Global Community
    • 72. Get Paid
  • 73. Local Google Summer of Code Participants Hopefully in the Audience So We Can Ask Them About Their Experiences
      Pinar Yanardag
      Sarp Centel
  • 74. How to Participate
    • You Must Be 18+ Years of Age
    • 75. You Must Be a Student
    • 76. Submit an Application Through 9 April 2010
    • 77. More than 150 FOSS Projects to Choose From
    • 78. Apply now at http://socghop.appspot.com
  • 79. Recap http://www.flickr.com/photos/photoprofi/4149216115/
    • Getting Started Means Being a Good Citizen
    • 80. Jump in Where You Can Do Well
    • 81. Know You Will Make Mistakes
    • 82. Have Fun!
  • 83. Questions? Many Thanks to All of You for Coming! Leslie Hawthorn hawthornlandings.org identi.ca: @lh Twitter: @lhawthorn
  • 84. Licensing & Copyright Information
    • These slides are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
    • 85. These slides are available at http://slideshare.net/lhawthorn
    • 86. All logos are the property of their respective owners.
    • 87. Many thanks to all the kind folks on Flickr who provided their photos for remixing!
  • 88. Resources
    • Producing Open Source Software: http://bit.ly/producingoss
      • This guide for starting a FOSS project provides a good overview for newbies, too.
    • Guide to GSoC Mentoring http://bit.ly/gsocmentoring
      • Documentation for Google Summer of Code Mentors that will also be of general use to folks looking to add new contributors.
  • 89. Resources (cont'd.)
    • Mentoring in Open Source Communities: What Works, What Doesn't http://bit.ly/mentoringarticle
      • Excellent article interviewing several FOSS developers on their mentoring methodologies.
    • How to Ask Questions the Smart Way http://bit.ly/smartqs
      • The often cited guide to asking questions effectively in the FOSS world. Not always gentle in tone – your mileage may vary.
  • 90. Even More Resources
    • The Free Software Definition http://bit.ly/freesoftwaredef
      • The document for understanding the concept of software being free as in uncensored speech rather than no cost
    • The Cathedral and the Bazaar
    • 91. http://bit.ly/cathedralbazaar
      • Seminal piece on the early history and fundamental concepts of the Free Software movement
  • 92. The Last Resources Page
    • The Open Source Definition http://bit.ly/osdef
      • Document used by the Open Source Initiative to determine whether or not a particular license can be considered Open Source. Useful for understanding the differences between Free Software and Open Source.
    • Please suggest additional resources!
      • Ping @lh on identi.ca or @lhawthorn on Twitter