Open Source

How do you contribute to open source?

Even if you don't write code for open source software projects, there are many ways to help out on these projects. Take this poll to let us know how you contribute to open source.

Not everyone who contributes to open source software projects is actually writing code for them. There are many ways of helping out on projects. I know people who maintain the Web sites for projects, act as support in forums, assist with documentation, and even help with things like designing logos. If you contribute to an open source project, we'd love to learn how you are doing it!

J.Ja

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

35 comments
arash.dx
arash.dx

I like be free and open source! and i think sun microsystems is better than Microsoft! I'm a Java developer and I love to share my weak and professional works among the world! OK, you go and develop your C# app for money, and me develop my Java program for my resume

edmicman1
edmicman1

I marked "don't contribute" as I couldn't really fall into any of the other categories. Does *using* open source count as contributing? I wouldn't consider myself actively involved in any of the products I use. But if I have a problem, I do consult their forums, post questions and whatnot. If I see a post that I think I can help with, I'll do that...but I don't actively search for questions to answer. Maybe I should. I've submitted a few bugs here and there, or offered feedback. I'm a regular beta tester for the projects that offer betas, and I'll give feedback on those, too. And of course I tell my friends and coworkers what I've learned and what I can do with the open source software I use. My website is built on FOSS. Where's the "other" option? :-)

Claes57
Claes57

To enhance use in the world, translation is needed. In USA you can do with english & spanish. In EU we have 27 countries, and 23 official languages.

PRIMEREBEL
PRIMEREBEL

I like to make contributions to the projects I like when I can. Usually, I make donations but I'm also doing english translations for one project now.

Daniel.Muzrall
Daniel.Muzrall

I'm not a programmer by any stretch of the imagination. I AM a huge proponent of open source projects, and open source is typically my first stop when I have a need. Once I find a tool that meets my needs, I am very vocal about where I got got, what it is, what it cost (nothing for the code, just my time to implement), and how well it works. If I ever actually get into doing any programming, I would love to contribute code, debugging, testing, etc.

gudisagar08
gudisagar08

I am intersted to work in open source

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Turned up nothing in their computer science department on code.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

My primary contribution is spreading the word that there are alternatives to the products from Microsoft and the other software OEMs.

dermot.downey
dermot.downey

Would love to contribute, but seeing as am not a programmer, but certainly a user, my contributions would be limited. Have filled out user feedback for Open Office.org before. Would certainly be willing to do so for other projects if required.

mmoroni
mmoroni

I have never partecipated directly in open source projects, even if i'd like to. Usully I make some translation from English to Italian just to enlarge diffusion of the free software. M

chraigs
chraigs

Definitely if you are finding bugs that others can fix you are contributing to the open source community, i notice others have mentioned other tasks which a user can do to contribute to the community, translations, bug hunting/fixing, writing documentation, actively contributing in any sense with the community is contributing, on one of my own Open source projects (a game) users who play are testing, without the contribution from such people my software would no doubt still be in development with many unknown yet to be identified bugs.

Duke E Love
Duke E Love

And tell people that they are stupid/clueless/ignorant/mindless sheep for using Micro$oft and other proprietary software. That does more for the FOSS movement than contributing code. No really. I have released seven pieces of software under LGPL/Apache/MIT and contributed code the several other FOSS projects. Remember kids: Evangelism != Spelling Microsoft with a "$" or saying things like Windohs.

Justin James
Justin James

Choice #2 include evangelism, but it probably should have explicitly said so. Whenever I do these, I'm torn between having a LOT of options, or a few... too many, and people are overwhelmed, too few and you miss some. J.Ja

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

Spreading the word helps, tell people about Open Source.

scottyc2005
scottyc2005

Another way of supporting open source without writing code is to submit bug reports whenever a program crashes. I have gotten responses from developers before. This can help make better software

kgunnIT
kgunnIT

I am a huge advocate for Open Source. When my friends tell me about some great piece of software, I always try to show them an open source alternative that is equivalent or better. For my own business, I plan to run it entirely on open source software, such as Open Office, Gnucash, and on linux operating systems. I plan on offering some sort of incentive for people to choose open source over M$ or even Apple. I also would like to offer free training sessions for clients who choose to use open source applications. Aside from that, I am a member at a number of forums where I post my questions/issues, but also post answers/solutions to other questions/issues that I know how to answer. Anytime I come across a bug, I research it to see if somebody found answers, and always make sure I send any bug information to the developers so they know what happened, when it happened, and on what type of machine config. it happened on. In my opinion, those who spread the word about Open Source are just important as those who do the programming. If there is nobody interested in open source, there is no need to program open source apps.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Lots of my users want an office program at home and don't want to shell out $$$ for Office 07. I link them to oo. I also deploy it in my enviroment to departments that didn't have much funding or just needed very basic office document viewing/editing...well at least I did before switching to a network admin role. For the most part we had to use office 07 since so many users/managers throughout the network fell in love with sharepoint. Don't ask me about sharepoint and why....lol, they fell in love with it. Although I do find it handy for keeping internal documentation on systems. Existing employess contribute and contributions are monitored and tracked...which makes for a handy reference library for FNG's. There's even a section someody started called RTFCM. Read The Collaberative F(explicit) Manual. I always keep a copy on hand to open documents from those silly people that still use correl. I will confess, at the risk of ridicule that I prefer office07. I do feel also, that oo is a worth while project and a handy tool. All suites have their weak points and strong points, so I feel it's a matter of preference. Except for correl, I mean seriously...who still uses that?? It is ugly (though beuty is in the eye of the beer holder), just as bloated as office 07 and not too widespread. At least office 07 users like me can blame it on the fact that so many others use it and we're forced into it by our company or university.

chraigs
chraigs

Just reiterating the comments made by NickNielson, in addition i would also point out that contributing code is one of the most satisfactory things i ever do, my main line of work involves writing code for projects i have little or no interest in but with OS it is all software i actively use and support. P.S. although most programming on OS projects is bug fixing and rewriting code to optimize it, there are a lot of projects that users can contribute plugins or themes for.

chraigs
chraigs

is my own m$ put down lol, amount of time i've had to wait over 5 minutes just so i can say add some numbers together makes it the most apt word to describe that non foss software

sheila.chisholm@kay-son.com
sheila.chisholm@kay-son.com

I don't contribute in the programming way, I do however, whenever I get the opportunity I promote OpenOffice over any other office programs. At present I am planning over the next year on converting from other office programs to OO in our company. I'll have to let you know next June on how it goes.....although I don't anticipate any major problems.

Jaqui
Jaqui

TLDP always needs people to help with making better documentation for the software.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The first FOSS app I talked with a developer over was due to a bug report however the project website also provided an "ideas" thread to submit too.

Justin James
Justin James

I installed SharePoint this year, but I never really configured it or showed anyone how to use it; it was a side project done in between projects. But even then, it is slowly getting some use for documentation, once I showed folks how to access it over a UNC patch instead of being tied to the Web insterface. J.Ja

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

The second I see anything about windoze or the like I instantly stop reading. At that point the person has already stated they are no longer open minded and you are just out to trash microsoft for whatever reason.

cetest
cetest

One might also consider contibuting to Opendata projects such as Openstreetmap and ore Wikipedia. After all, opens software benefits from open data !!!

Duke E Love
Duke E Love

Well put. I remember trouble shooting a (windows 2k3) dedicated server with a hosting company and the tech support kid was taking down to me, pronouncing it Windooohz... and telling me how he was an Apache guy and couldn't really help me. I resisted the urge to tell him that I had compiled Apache from source before he grown his first whiskers. He didn't know what he was doing and he was talking down *to me*? Just great. Way to evangelize kid. Go FOSS!!!!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

using misspelled or derogatory names for Microsoft products sends the message that you're more interested in calling names that helping people. Terms like 'Microsux', "Windblos", etc. say more about the poster than MS products, and the message being sent is the poster is more interested in name calling than a reasoned discussion of open source's advantages. While MS is the largest vendor of proprietary software, they're far from the only one.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The introduction to Ubuntu books and websites seem pretty good as do the Linux for Dummies like the rest of the [something] for dummies books (don't let the title fool you, they're good). Also, "compile the driver" should be only in rare cases; I can't remember the last time I had to compile a driver and my part-picked rig isn't close to a vanilla box. No screaming though. Everyone could benefit from more documentation unless the existing howto are really that complicated. And there is hardware I'd like to see work much better either by vendor support or vendor's being responsible and releaseing driver interface specs so support can be included where it belongs; in the OS kernel.

Amnezia
Amnezia

Haven't read much o-source documentation, but that which I have seems to be talking to people who speak "geek", particularly Linux docs. Would be nice to have that written as if it spoke to semi-idiots who don't understand what things like "compile the driver" means. Suppose that comment'll get the "screamers" out of the woodwork... sigh!

Justin James
Justin James

SharePoint Services is free at the basic level, and we're certified partners, so MOSS is free too. :) Heck, we don't pay for licenses for any of our server stuff. J.Ja

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I thought there were better priced alternatives. I didn't push for it, nor did I fight it. Another staff member pushed for deployment. But it was a breeze to setup, use, backup and work into my overall dr plans. Very little upkeep needed for what many users consider a vital part of the business so I'm impressed. Now it's like some infectious disease running rampant. Looks like it ws a worthwhile investment.