Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A first-timer's guide to getting started with open source code and communities

A first-timer's guide to getting started with open source code and communities


So, you want to start using that open source thing...
You've been reading Opensource.com and there's a package that you're excited about. You'd love to give it a try and maybe—just maybe—find a way to contribute to the community that made it (if, you know, it turns out as awesome as that article you found says it is). But where to start?

First-time installations

Every package is a little different—some run on different operating systems than your home machine, some have different dependencies, some expect a certain minimum level of technical expertise. Some are crazy-easy, like LibreOffice or Wordpress. Some are much more challenging due to factors like high complexity, lots of moving parts, lots of dependencies, or that the community's developers haven't yet gotten the installers built like they want to. But as someone who's looked at a lot of different packages out there can tell you, there are some pretty common lessons learned that you can—if you're wise—learn from the easy way (by reading them here) rather than the hard way (wrestling with that installation at midnight when you should be doing something else).

"Plan to throw one away. You will, anyway."

In 1975, Fred P. Brooks wrote this statement in his seminal series of essays on software development, The Mythical Man-Month, and it's no less true for open source projects and test installs than it was for big-iron projects of that era.

continue reading @ opensource.com ....