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#1 BattlFrog  Icon User is offline

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The level of skill needed to contribute to Open Source

Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:17 PM

Greetings from captain noob. I have been studying c#, LINQ, SQL, etc for the last couple months because I want to move into my companies development department. It was recommended to that I was ready to go to the "learn by doing" stage and GitHub would be a great place to do that.

So I signed up, downloaded, figured out how to fork some stuff, and clone it to my box. The problem I am having is none of the projects I have seen, look to be in my expertise range. Everything i see on there is for new frameworks, operating systems, games, and other stuff way beyond where i am right now. I'm looking more for some actual applications, web or otherwise.

So i am wondering if I need to just browse further or look to another open source hub. Any helpful tips, hints, comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Replies To: The level of skill needed to contribute to Open Source

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: The level of skill needed to contribute to Open Source

Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:39 PM

The advice you were given of "learn by doing" is exactly the opposite of what I recommend. At least when starting out.

Quote

Where do I start?


You start by learning a coding language FIRST.
Learn to plan before you type.
THEN you start designing software with a purpose.




Finding answers to specific problems:
Spoiler





If this sounds like you

Newbie/Rookie said:

I have a little programming experience but I need to write ...
read this section
Spoiler


Otherwise, you can just jump to the resources here:
Some of the tutorials below are for C# or Java not C, C++, VB.NET [...]. But the conceptual stuff of classes, object oriented design, events etc. are not language specific and should give you enough guidance in theory of program development for you to be able to look-up specific code example in your chosen coding language.



Resources, references and suggestions for new programmers. - Updated Mar 2012
Spoiler

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#3 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: The level of skill needed to contribute to Open Source

Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:02 PM

If you want to start in working on an ongoing project, you have to start with a great degree of humility. Remember that there are people here with a hell of a lot of experience, and the aggregate experience here is simply enormous. Start by simply trying to understand how good it is - and I mean literally, assuming that everything about it is brilliant and it's your job to figure out how. Any time you come across something that you think must be a mistake, change your mind and assume that it's actually marvelous, and you just don't understand it yet, and go looking for evidence to support that assumption.
After you do this quite thoroughly, you might come to almost believe this. At that point - and only then - can you allow yourself to believe that maybe you've found something that's just a little less marvelous than all the rest, and even that you've seen a way that it could be a little more marvelous than it is now. And you can raise that question and offer your notion.

The idea, of course, is to avoid the temptation to come charging in and arguing with the community already working on this project, who have spent a fair bit of time working on and thinking about this. Learning that project backwards and forwards will, for a start, make you a better developer. After all, knowing a large codebase is part of your stock in trade. The more times you do this, the better you'll be at picking up these details quickly and deeply, which constitutes a win.
Developing that humility to assume that your impressions are wrong until proven right means you'll actually test your hypotheses before you assume they're correct, which means you'll be right a lot more.

And, of course, studying that code and tweaking it on your home machine, and trying to figure out why it's this way and not that way will make you a much better programmer, which I think was the point of the exercise.
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#4 The Architect 2.0  Icon User is offline

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Re: The level of skill needed to contribute to Open Source

Posted 12 April 2012 - 10:18 PM

I'm just wondering...considering the amount of effort it takes to successfully contribute to a project, do most experienced, active-in-the-community programmers actually do it after they come home from their full-time job?

from what I read about Linux development, the vast majority of work is done as part of someone's job.

This post has been edited by The Architect 2.0: 12 April 2012 - 10:19 PM

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#5 searcher920  Icon User is offline

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Re: The level of skill needed to contribute to Open Source

Posted 30 April 2012 - 04:27 PM

View PostThe Architect 2.0, on 12 April 2012 - 10:18 PM, said:

I'm just wondering...considering the amount of effort it takes to successfully contribute to a project, do most experienced, active-in-the-community programmers actually do it after they come home from their full-time job?

from what I read about Linux development, the vast majority of work is done as part of someone's job.


I am using an open source library in the project I am doing at my job. I found some bugs in the library so I fixed them, while I was at work. That is probably very common, because any time you use an open source library for your job you might find bugs, or things you want to improve. If someone is contributing to open source at home, just for fun, then I guess they are working on their own project, rather than helping to fix someone else's.
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#6 BattlFrog  Icon User is offline

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Re: The level of skill needed to contribute to Open Source

Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:27 AM

I have been getting some great answers to my post, but nothing yet that fully answers the question, so I want to clarify it a bit.

I am looking for a place to contribute to open source applications. Not operating systems, APIs, new fancy frameworks or games. Just regular old c# applications, web or otherwise. If anyone knows of a place, please let me know. Thanks.
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#7 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: The level of skill needed to contribute to Open Source

Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:38 AM

Our own jobs forum is littered with people claiming to pay out at the end of the program development if the program sells and makes money.

Those are just regular old applications. Since open source is guaranteed to not make you any money, if you approach those "opportunities" with the same mind-set you won't be disappointed and there is always that slim chance you might make a few bucks. Pretty much a no-loose situation.
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#8 BattlFrog  Icon User is offline

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Re: The level of skill needed to contribute to Open Source

Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:44 AM

tlhIn`toq, like OMG! Thank you, I never even thought to check that out. I'm not looking to make money at it write now, so if someone wants to take my code and run, as long as they let me know if it works before they bolt I will be happy. Have an excellent day.
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