Forge Your Future with Open Source
Build Your Skills. Build Your Network. Build the Future of Technology.
by VM (Vicky) Brasseur
Free and open source is the foundation of software development, and it’s
built by people just like you. Discover the fundamental tenets that
drive the movement. Take control of your career by selecting the right
project to meet your professional goals. Master the language and avoid
the pitfalls that typically ensnare new contributors. Join a community
of like-minded people and change the world. Programmers, writers,
designers, and everyone interested in software will make their mark
through free and open source software contributions.
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Free and open source software is the default choice for the programming
languages and technologies which run our world today, and it’s all built
and maintained by people just like you. No matter your skill level or
area of expertise, with this book you will contribute to free and open
source software projects. Using this practical approach you’ll
understand not only the mechanics of contributing, but also how doing so
helps your career as well as the community.
This book doesn’t assume that you’re a programmer, or even that you have
prior experience with free and open source software. Learn what open
source is, where it came from, and why it’s important. Start on the
right foot by mastering the structure and tools you need before you
contribute. Choose the right project for you, amplifying the impact of
your contribution. Submit your first contribution, whether it’s code,
writing, design, or community organizing. Find out what to do when
things don’t go the way you expect. Discover how to start your own
project and make it friendly and welcoming to contributors.
Anyone can contribute! Make your mark today and help others while also
What You Need
- What’s in This Book?
- What’s NOT in This Book?
- Who Should Read This Book?
- Why Is This Book Not Openly Licensed?
- Suggestions, Errata, or Questions?
- The Foundations and Philosophies of Free and Open Source
- It’s About the People
- Why Learn About the Philosophies?
- Free and Open Source Software Is Everywhere
- Other Open Movements
- The Origins of Free Software
- The Origins of Open Source
- Difference Between Free Software and Open Source
- An Aside About Terminology
- A Brief Introduction to Copyright and Licensing
- Types of Free and Open Source Software Licenses
- Now You Have a Strong Foundation
- What Free and Open Source Can Do for You
- FOSS Benefits to Your Skillset
- FOSS Benefits to Your Career
- FOSS Benefits to Your Personal Network
- Benefit from Preparation
- Prepare to Contribute
- Ways to Contribute
- Common Project and Community Roles
- Files You Should Know About Before You Start
- Issue Tracking
- Common Communication Routes
- Contributor License Agreement/Developer Certificate of Origin
- You’re Ready to Find a Project
- Find a Project
- Set Your Goals
- Collect Your Requirements
- Collect Candidate Projects
- Select a Project
- Select a Task
- What Is “Success”?
- Make a Contribution
- Prepare for Your Contribution
- Craft Your Contribution
- Clone and Branch
- Atomic Commits
- Test Your Contribution
- Submit Your Contribution
- Review, Revise, Collaborate
- Tidy Up
- Special Considerations for Windows-based Contributors
- There’s More to Contributing Than Just Code
- Make a Difference Without Making a Pull Request
- Review Contributions
- Provide Testing
- Triage Issues
- Volunteer for the Less Interesting Things
- There Are So Many Options
- Interact with the Community
- After Your First Contribution
- Get Help
- General Tips for Participating in Discussions
- The Importance of Setting Up and Maintaining Expectations
- Communication Channels and How to Use Them
- Mailing List
- Issue Tracker
- Real-Time Chat
- Conference Call
- Only the Tip of the Iceberg
- It’s About the People
- Get Together
- Tips for Coping at a Conference or Meetup
- Form Your Own Meetup
- Moving up in the Community
- FOSS Is People
- When It Goes Wrong
- Intimidated by FOSS’ Reputation
- Can’t Find a Project
- Company Policies
- Contribution Process Is Unclear
- Language Barriers
- Your Contribution Is Declined
- Community Problems
- Sometimes You’re the Problem
- How to Exit a Community
- You Don’t Have to Feel Trapped
- Start Your Own Project
- Quick Start Guide to Releasing Your Own Project
- What Is Your Goal?
- Optimize for Community
- Work in the Open
- Keep It Simple, Silly
- Share the Burden Early
- Select Communication Routes
- What About Issue Tracking?
- Select a License
- How to Apply a License
- Publish the Project and You’re Done!
- Contribute for Your Job
- Contributing to External FOSS Projects
- Contributing to Your Company’s FOSS Projects
- Convincing Your Employer to Support FOSS
- Forge Your Future
VM (Vicky) has spent most of her 20 years in the tech industry
leading software development departments and teams, and providing
technical management and leadership consulting for small and medium
businesses. Now she leverages nearly 30 years of free and open source
software experience and a strong business background to advise companies
about open source, technology, community, business, and the
intersections between them.
Vicky is the proud winner of the Perl White Camel Award (2014) and the
O’Reilly Open Source Award (2016). She is a moderator and author for
opensource.com and a frequent and popular speaker at open source
conferences and events.
Currently Vicky lives in lovely Portland, Oregon with her amazing cats,
Percy and Nigel.