Preparing For Your First FOSS Contribution

You’ve decided to take the plunge and contribute to free and open source software. Congratulations! You’re about to start a journey to a fascinating world. However, before you take that first step of your journey, you should learn a bit more about that world you’re looking to enter.

Experienced free and open source contributors take a lot of terms and concepts for granted, but these things are a foreign language to first time contributors. They wander into a project and can’t understand what people are saying or even the documentation which is intended to help them get around. They are strangers in a strange land.

While each project will have its own special terminology and concepts, this talk will introduce the ones most commonly found in all types of free and open source projects. This will help newcomers to our fair FOSS land to feel more welcome and comfortable, giving them a better chance at a successful contribution. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even settle down and stay a while.

This talk will introduce:

  • The different ways to contribute (it’s not all about the code)
  • Common files and what to do with them
  • Contributor License Agreement/Developer Certificate of Origin
  • Issue tracking
  • Common communication routes
  • Common project and community roles

By the end of this talk new contributors should feel much more comfortable navigating free and open source projects, feeling more like a native than a tourist.