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Letter to the Editor: Starting to Contribute to Free Software: the Threshold Is Too High

May 04, 2001, 21:45 (27 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tony S.)

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By Tony S.

I'm an IT professional with about 5 years of experience of Unix system programming under Solaris and HP-UX, if I don't count the experience under my studying period. I have a job, a wife and a kid (hey, this may be enough already to disqualify me as a Free Software hacker?). Of course, my experience is only in application development, but I have been dreaming of contributing to kernel development. I feel that the situation is the same even if I wanted to contribute to WINE or SAMBA or any piece of Free Software.

Well, I may be very stupid, but I find that the threshold to start producing something is very high. I think that there are many people in my situation, many of them much more experienced than I am. It takes a very long time to find the necessary info and to start doing something for a new-comer even if it is an experienced person. Since we do not have so many hours to spend on this every week, by the time we think that we are getting into something, the code and maybe some important API's are likely to have changed a lot.

It is very important that info is made available, and that it is both concise and accurate. I am talking about some design specifications, or an overall description of the code, for each product. Development of Free Software would certainly accelerate a lot if you could get experienced, but busy people to contribute.

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