OSSWatchWiki:

/!\ This page is intended to replace the published OSS Watch document A guide to participating in an open source software community

Engaging with open source

[CHANGE TITLE TO DIFFERENTIATE FROM 'GET INVOLVED ...'? - FROM THEIR TITLES, THEY SEEM VERY SIMILAR]

Participating in an open source software community can, initially, seem an intimidating prospect. However, such communities are ultimately composed of people, with all the virtues and foibles of people everywhere. Pre-conceptions should be avoided: Open source software communities are rarely populated entirely by highly technical individuals proud to call themselves hackers, nor are they composed entirely of certified software engineers. You will get along better by simply engaging with the community as you find it, leaving any pre-conceptions at the door.

Remember that everyone working on the project is working towards a common goal, and that useful skills and a bit of effort will almost always be welcome. Equally, taking the time to plan your involvement and get to know the community will smooth the path to a successful collaboration.

Here are some tips that may make your progress a little easier.

Prepare

Play to your strengths

[ET TO CREATE NEW DOCUMENT DETAILING THESE ROLES MORE FULLY AND ADD LINK]

Estimate your time commitment

Check your employment contract

If you are an educator planning to involve students in an open source project, you should check that their enrolment contract permits this type of involvement and that the students understand the implications. [FLESH OUT WHAT THESE MIGHT BE OR PROVIDE LINK?]

Get to know your community

Understand the entrance conditions

Understand the structure of the community

Understand the role of constructive criticism

Get to know the people

Not all open source communities are wholly virtual. Many of the big projects have face-to-face get-togethers to discuss future plans, or run code fests, and these events can be used to establish personal relationships that will form a good basis for online discussion.

Understand the communications channels

Be a team player

Communicate what you are working on

Acknowledge resources you use and their creators

Terminating your involvement

[HAVE ADDED THIS HEADING TO CREATE THREE DISTINCT PHASES - NOT SURE STRICTLY NECESSARY AND NOT SURE IT'S THE BEST WORDING!]

Retire gracefully

Plan an exit strategy

Further reading

OSSWatchWiki: EngagingWithOpenSource (last edited 2013-04-15 13:56:15 by localhost)