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Slashdot: Making Software Suck Less, Pt. II

Feb 21, 2001, 23:04 (1 Talkback[s])

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"The insidious thing about Free software, the really subversive part, is that it takes so little to start writing it. Anyone with a few tools, spare time, and the wherewithall to start hacking can. Witness the long listings of low-version-number IM clients and MP3 players on software announcement sites. People like to code."

"Every new project represents a coder who wants to write free software, but chooses not to work with an existing project for whatever reason. How many more people would like to contribute but don't know where to start? Hundreds, even thousands of free software projects could use another coder, some testers, and someone -- anyone -- offering suggestions and attaboys. For each veteran programmer, battle-hardened and wizened by experience, a dozen novices spend evenings honing their skills."

"The obvious solution is to match availability with opportunity and enthusiasm with experience. The free software community can produce better programmers by giving new recruits mentors to emulate. It offers the possibility for programmers to learn by improving existing projects, instead of reinventing wheels. This doesn't require expert programmers. It takes people with practical experience, patience, and the willingness to invest time in another person's education."

"Though this article draws from experience with free software, there's no reason similar procedures could not succeed in commercial settings. Computer science sophmores (and higher) would benefit from internship programs organized similarly."

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