User:Webpath/FOSSWelcome

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Welcome to Open Source Development

First, I want to thank everyone who makes it necessary to write this page. I get really excited when there are new people around. It recharges me and reminds me why I got so excited about Open Source in the first place.

Second, I understand that at first glance the Open Source Development model resembles a heard of cats, especially in an organization as big as Fedora. But rest assured there is a method to the madness.

Development

The beauty of Open Source is that anyone can make changes to the software they are using. This means that you do not have to ask for permission or wait for an assignment to begin your work.

The next most important part of the Open Source Development model is releasing your code. Projects, including the one you're working on, will grow and improve based on community involvement. In fact, you might be surprise what others will fix and add, so please don't keep your code to yourself. We really want to see it - no matter what stage it's in.

Communications

While there are pockets of developers who can meet face to face to discuss projects, the majority of people you will interact with are located world wide. Because of this, we rely heavily on Mailing lists, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and wikis to keep everyone connected and informed.

Mailing lists are the life blood of Open Source projects, but you may have to re-think the way you organize your email to maintain sanity. To keep yourself and others from becoming confused, you should...

  • Filter messages into their own folder. Most lists will have a common subject element such as [Math4], [Ambassadors], [etc] or you can use the "when the to or CC is" function to filter by the list email address.
  • Sort by Thread. Better Email clients will allow you to further sort your messages by Thread. This simply keeps replys together and in a logical order. If your email client doesn't do this or you're not sure how to set it up, you can also visit the mailing list archives by following the link at the bottom of every list message and choosing to view by thread.
  • Pick a good subject line. Think of it as the title of a good book and choose something that is descriptive. On high volume lists, your message may not get read if it's not clear what you're asking or suggesting. This is also helpful when someone searches the archives.
  • Change your subject line when the topic changes. Tangents can be good but anyone who initially ignored a thread will miss the shift. This is also known as on-topic. If it's not completely on-topic it needs it's own subject.
  • Avoid Cross Posting. Most mailing lists are very specific, and sometimes it can be hard to determine the best location to send your message. By picking a single mailing list, you'll avoid the ire of those who are subscribed to multiple lists. Multiple lists means multiple copies of the same message in those user inboxes. We're all guilty of it but we try to keep it to a minimum.

IRC Internet Relay Chat is the grand-daddy of instant messaging. In fact it's been around since before the in

Wikis

Second, Wiki-ness can be sort of goofy. When in doubt copy what's already there. Or pop on irc.freenode.net in either #fedora-olpc or #sugar and see if someone can give you real time help with format. There's also help at http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Help:Editing

Third, mailing list threading and info finding works much better for everyone if you pick a good subject line. Please change the subject line to match your response if you're replying from the digest or pick a new subject that best describes what your message is about.

See this list archives by thread to see what I'm talking about - http://lists.sugarlabs.org/archive/fourthgrademath/2009-April/thread.html