Published: October 2018
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.
BookAuthority Ranked #1 of Best New Software Development Books to Read in 2018.
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 helping yourself.
What was your inspiration to write the book?
In the twenty years since the term “open source software” came into being, the popularity of free and open source software projects has soared. It’s now approaching a point where it’s at risk of being a victim of its own success, with more projects used by more people and companies but fewer folks who know how to contribute to and maintain them. This book is an insurance policy for free and open source software, its communities, and the thousands or millions of companies that rely on it to operate.
What outcomes would you like to see from readers?
Whatever your contribution is, whatever mark you hope to make on the world, however you aim to move your career forward through free and open source software, I hope that this book helps make that a reality. That’s its goal: to help you succeed by helping others. If that happens, even just once, then this book is a success.
How much experience in open source does a reader need before diving in?
They need only as little or as much as they have. Yeah, that’s a bit cryptic, but the book is designed to accommodate people of all experience levels where free and open source software is concerned. If you’re all new and know nothing about free and open source, you’ll find everything you need to get started. If you have a few contributions under your belt or a lot of experience, you’ll find a lot of details you may have assumed you knew but didn’t realize the reasoning behind.
What is the best way to get started contributing to a project?
Despite what you may hear on the internet, there is no One True Best Way to make your first contribution to a free and open source software project. It all depends on the combination of your skillset and the project’s needs. If you’re a translator, a designer, or an information security specialist, your path to contribution may be different than that of a programmer. This book shows people of all software development roles how to get started in a way that’s not only good for the project, but also good for them.
I’m a maintainer or mentor for an open source project. How can your book help me attract, develop, and retain contributors?
With the skyrocketing popularity of free and open source software, the competition for contributors is going through the roof as well. Projects that want to attract and retain those contributors may need help figuring out how to create a contribution process that’s both easy and effective. This book helps by sharing best practices for contributions as well as providing the valuable perspective of the new contributor. By seeing through their eyes, projects can spot and correct the pain points in their contribution processes.
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.
Published: October 2018