[WORKSHOP] Contributing to Free and Open Source Software

Yesterday I sent the following to the Hong Kong Linux User Group mailing list.

Reposting here (slightly edited), in case somebody not subscribed there would be interested.

Hi all,

I've been thinking about doing this for some time now, and it seems to me that I now have the perfect excuse to do it.

Would anybody be interested in a "contributing to FOSS" workshop?

It would take about 2 hours (or more if attendees are interested), and we'd cover topics like how to use Git, how to build and install from sources, how to properly submit patches and interact with upstream, etc...

We wouldn't pretend to work on some dummy discartable projects like at school, instead we'd work with an existing project/community that I believe is interesting for Hong Kong people as it relates to Cangjie and Quick input methods. (also, it is a very young project with probably many simple bugs and missing features which could be implemented quickly even by novice developers, and I'm the upstream, so we wouldn't be blocked during the workshop because we're waiting for upstream to answer :-) )

I'll try to keep it as low-entry as possible, so here are the pre-requisites if you're interested:

  • you have some minimal programming experience in any programming language (I will not teach you programming from the start)
  • you're not afraid of learning new stuff, trying stuff you don't know yet, breaking things and fixing them up again
  • you're motivated
  • you speak and understand English "well enough" to not be completely lost

That last point is unfortunate, but the reasons are very simple: I'm learning, but my Cantonese is still very poor. As such, I just won't be able to give the workshop to people who only speak Cantonese. My fault, not yours.

If there is enough demand though, we'll see if we can try figuring something out with someone who speaks both languages well.

Depending on everybody's availability, it would happen on an evening or week-end, we'll see.

I'd like to keep it in small groups of under 10 people so it's easier to manage and so attendees can actually learn something, but I don't mind repeating it if enough people want to join.

If you're interested, send me an email, either on the mailing-list or privately, and let me know the following:

  • when you'd prefer it to happen (evening, week-end, specific day of the week, after 9pm,...)
  • what is your experience as a contributor to Free and Open Source projects (what languages you know, what projects you've contributed to, ...). Please note that "None" is a perfectly valid answer. :-)

Given the scope of the workshop, priority will be given to motivated people with less experience, in order to grow a larger community of FOSS contributors in Hong Kong (existing hard-core contributors don't need me or anyone else to learn new stuff and go on contributing ;-) )

If you can host the event, let me know too. The venue needs to be quiet and have an Internet connection.

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