[SATLUG] Open Source Project

Brad Knowles brad at shub-internet.org
Tue Sep 25 02:28:07 CDT 2012

On Sep 24, 2012, at 10:52 PM, Joe <null.div.zero at gmail.com> wrote:

> I wanted to speak up sooner; but,  feel a little awkward.  The only coding
> I have done was in college; so, I'm worried I cannot contribute much.  That
> said,  I love coding, I find it very rewarding, and would value the
> experience of participating in an open source project. Please jeep me in
> the loop if anyone undertakes/participates in such a project.

The last time I did any real "coding" was when I was in college, and I graduated in 1989 -- ANSI C was a new invention at the time, and 2nd edition of K&R had just been published.  Lots of the slightly older types were proud of the fact that they actually had a copy of 1st edition of K&R.

But just because that was the last time I did any real "coding" doesn't mean that I can't contribute to a project.  For NTP.org and python.org, I've helped maintain their mail systems for years.  For list.org, I've made some minor contributions with regards to scripts that parse log files and produce summary reports based on that data.  For Chef, I've helped contribute to some of the open source cookbooks, mainly through trying stuff out that other people had written and then doing a bit of minor hacking on them to get them to work in our environment -- and then contributing my changes back.  For AssimMon, I've been involved in the mailing list, I've participated in some of the architectural discussions, and I've tried to help contribute to editing the video of the talk that Alan gave at LinuxCon 2012.

There are lots of ways that you can contribute to open source projects without necessarily doing any real "coding".

IMO, the key is identifying projects that you're interested in, contacting the people in question, and trying to find out if there is some way that you can do something to help the project.  Maybe that help might be related to coding, or maybe not.

In my case, projects have tended to find me.  I've gotten involved in various things because I had friends who were already working on those projects and they needed help in one way or another, and they knew I had some skills that might be useful.  Or, I've been involved as a participant in a project I had some interest in (like Mailman), then I found out they needed help of a sort that I could provide -- so I volunteered to do what I could.

So, find a project you're interested in helping, or find people that you know and like and ask them what projects they're working on where you might be able to help.  Or, maybe identify some area where you feel you are weak and you'd like be stronger, then try to find a project that needs help in that area and volunteer your time as a way to get experience on the subject.

There's lots of ways you can help, and there's lots of projects that need help.  You just have to look.

Brad Knowles <brad at shub-internet.org>
LinkedIn Profile: <http://tinyurl.com/y8kpxu>

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