Tuesday, November 7, 2017

How can you become a FOSS / Open-Source Contributor

F/OSS is awesome! Millions of people around the world dedicate their time for free for this purpose. Nice, but should I care?

Indeed yes. If you don't know already, the internet runs on Linux. SmartTVs, drones, cars, super computers, your android phone and yes, even your iOS device is also based on BSD, a foss project.

Also, hundreds of projects are available for free and with open source code like Mozilla Firefox, OpenOffice, git, jQuery, bootstrap, React, FontAwesome, OpenSSL, just to name a few.

Contributing with Programming

If you know how to program and would like to contribute that way, here's a couple of ways you could help the community:
  • Writing code;
  • Submitting pull requests;
  • Reviewing code;
Once you understand the project requirements, philosophy, workflow and communication channel, get in touch with the project maintainer(s) to present yourself.

The easiest way for those that know how to program is to go directly to the project page. A nice start page would be Git Explore.

Contributing without Programming Knowledge


If you do not have programming skills though, don't give up yet. There are lots of other ways you can help, please check the list below.

Writing

  • Documentation;
  • Tutorials;
  • Translations;

Designing

  • Logos;
  • UI mockups;
  • Event banners;
  • Fonts;
  • User Experience
  • TShirts;

Participating / Organizing Events

  • Meetups;
  • Install fests;

Using the software

  • on your machine;
  • helping someone else;
  • installing on someone else's computer;

Helping with Infrastructure

  • supporting servers;
  • donating servers;
  • maintaining the build systems;
  • packaging;

Donating

To organizations you like / admire / support other FOSS projects like:

Supporting other Users

Answering questions on StackOverflowAskFedora or AskUbuntu for example;

Divulging

On your school, university or company;
Even writing boring blog posts as this one helps! =)

Helping with Marketing initiatives;

Reference


In case you're interested, please also consider reading the following liks:

How to Contribute to Open Source
Curated list of awesome lists
GitHub Explore - search your open source project;
What can I do for Fedora - has a nice yes/no tool to guide you to what/how you could help. Note that you don't necessarily need to do that for fedora but for a project of your interest.

Conclusion

This post was just to present ideas on how to start helping open source projects. Most people think that contributing to open source is just about code while it is not.

There's tons of ways we can start helping others out there so why not?