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New Book Helps You Start Contributing To Open Source 48

Posted by Soulskill
from the sending-experience-downstream dept.
jrepin writes "This new book Open Advice is the answer to: 'What would you have liked to know when you started contributing?' 42 prominent free and open source software contributors give insights into the many different talents it takes to make a successful software project; coding, of course, but also design, translation, marketing and other skills. They are here to give you a head start if you are new. And if you have been contributing for a while already, they are here to give you some insight into other areas and projects."
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New Book Helps You Start Contributing To Open Source

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  • I've been hoping for a book/guide exactly like this. Thanks!
  • Looks nice (Score:5, Informative)

    by Securityemo (1407943) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @02:00PM (#38928283) Journal
    It's available as a PDF [open-advice.org] from their site. I downloaded it and skimmed through a few bits, it looks nicely written and seems to contain concrete advice.
    • Kudos to them for walking the walk and making this freely available. So, if we want to get a printed copy and support the effort, which purchase avenue sends the most money in the most useful direction?

      • Re:Looks nice (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 04, 2012 @02:19PM (#38928453)

        Apparently, it will be soon available at Amazon, but for now you can buy it here [lulu.com]. The money would go to Lydia Pintscher [lydiapintscher.de], who has been actively involved in FOSS since 1990, and in recent years KDE. So pretty sure it will get poured into OSS development.

        IMHO though, it would probably just be better to directly send donations, bug reports and patches to your favourite open source projects. :)

        • by maxbash (1350115)

          Apparently, it will be soon available at Amazon, but for now you can buy it here [lulu.com]. The money would go to Lydia Pintscher [lydiapintscher.de], who has been actively involved in FOSS since 1990, and in recent years KDE. So pretty sure it will get poured into OSS development.

          IMHO though, it would probably just be better to directly send donations, bug reports and patches to your favourite open source projects. :)

          I you expect me to believe that Lydia Pintcher has been involved in FOSS since she was 5 or 6 years old? http://www.lydiapintscher.de/about.php [lydiapintscher.de]

      • by houghi (78078)

        Go to the website and click on their link. Would have been faster then typing your question.

        • Re:Looks nice (Score:5, Informative)

          by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @02:33PM (#38928531)

          And reading my question would've been faster than typing your reply.

          At the risk of getting banned from Slashdot, I actually did follow the summary's link before I asked the question. I saw two alternatives, a "coming soon" link to Amazon and a link to Lulu. I saw nothing about which path would return more money to the project. So, my question: which way of buying is better (for the project)?

          • by kermidge (2221646)

            Both?

          • buying through lulu puts more money in the author's pocket than through amazon.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            I saw nothing about which path would return more money to the project. So, my question: which way of buying is better (for the project)?

            Download it from their site and donate the entire amount directly to them?

    • That's TeX for you! :)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Looks great. Will there be an EPUB version? In the PDF it says

    Visit http://open-advice.org to download this book as PDF or
    eBook

    As this is all about Open, I hope eBook means EPUB and not some proprietary crap.

  • I think it would be a good idea that the book will be avaliable in epub format, to read it in most e-readers.
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @04:14PM (#38929217) Homepage

      It is. called latex. run tex2epub and have it in your favorite format.

      • It is. called latex. run tex2epub and have it in your favorite format.

        It would be nice if that tool even existed:

        This is on a popular Debian-derived distro:
        saturn:~$ aptitude search tex3epub
        saturn:~$

        And this on CentOS:

        [root@neptune]# yum search tex2epub
        Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
        Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
        * base: centos.mirrorcatalogs.com
        * extras: centos.mirror.netriplex.com
        * updates: mirror.raystedman.net
        addons | 951 B 00:00
        base | 1.1 kB 00:00
        c5-testing | 951 B 00:00
        c5-testing/primary | 374 kB 00:00
        c5-testing 916/916
        extras | 2.1 kB 00:00
        extras/primary_db | 179 kB 00:00
        r1soft | 951 B 00:00
        updates | 1.9 kB 00:00
        updates/primary_db | 614 kB 00:00
        Reducing CentOS-5 Testing to included packages only
        Finished
        Warning: No matches found for: tex2epub
        No Matches found
        [root@neptune]#

    • I think it would be a good idea that the book will be avaliable in epub format, to read it in most e-readers.

      As noted above, the sources are available so you can compile it to epub:
      http://github.com/lydiapintscher/Open-Advice [github.com]

      That is the spirit of Open Source, I suppose! Upstream provides the source, you compile it as you see fit.

      • by meonkeys (528167)

        Anyone have tips on how to actually produce a decent-looking epub ebook with pandoc or latex2html/Calibre?

        I tried several incantations of pandoc, none of which produced more than gibberish. For example: pandoc -w epub -o Open-Advice.epub -S -s Open-Advice.tex

        latex2html got much further (generated a real HTML book), but it had tons of munged words. I didn't bother trying to munge the mess to epub.

        From what I can tell, the conversion tools can help, but the source text really has to have epub in mind if tha

    • by deniable (76198)
      Latex2Html produced something and Calibre converted it. I'll give it a try on my reader.
  • by bobstreo (1320787) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @02:18PM (#38928439)

    If they sold it in the apple store.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @02:51PM (#38928627) Homepage Journal

    It explains why most free software or community projects fail and how to avoid that.

    • To quote from the book:

      People tend to be around when there is something exciting, like a big release, and then disappear until the next exciting thing. Creating a community team should never assume that the people will stay fully committed the entire length of time. You have to factor in that they will be in for a while and then disappear for longer periods and then come back (...) So instead of planning big things, nd something small, doable and useful in itself. Not a wiki page with a plan, but the rst step of what you aim for. And then, lead by doing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is that it's just like any other social human endeavour: it's not what you know, but who you know. If you socialise and pay homage to all the right people on the project, whether it's BSD or some random game pack, then you'll get advice and the chance to contribute and have your code checked, corrected and checked in with constructive criticisms. But if you rub their Lordships the wrong way, your efforts will be viewed at counterproductive and you'll be cast out.

    In a way, it's easier to work in a company th

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @07:30PM (#38930415)

    I've been working on a game project for over a year now. I'd open-sourced it quite some time ago, but I'm currently in the process of moving it from "my project that has GPL'd source" to "an open-source project". I've put it up on Sourceforge, although I'm not yet using SVN/Git or have the downloads there. I've kept community involvement to a minimum and kept the project pretty low-publicity, since it's not quite ready for wide release. The next release, 0.1.0, is supposed to change that, but I've had some rather extreme delays due to personal and personnel problems.

    I'm about a quarter through this book now, and while much of it so far has been stuff I already know, even just putting it all together is enlightening. And if the later chapters are more in-depth, it might be a lifesaver.

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