How to collaborate on a free software project

On this occasion we want to share with you an article that we found interesting and that anyone who is interested in it Free software should read. We have seen this article in and talk about how to collaborate on a Free Software project.

Collaborate in Free Software project

The free software projects they have changed the world of software. Behind the execution of such projects are people who dedicate their time to create open technologies that anyone can contribute. There is a false belief that to participate in these projects it is essential to be a great programmer or to have a lot of time. But not. It is not an essential requirement.

Next, we are going to tell you the different ways to collaborate in a free software project. We will show you that despite the fact that the creators of many free software projects are geniuses in the art of programming, we can also contribute our bit in various ways. Everyone can start somewhere.

Integrate into the community and help spread it

Developers collaborating on a free software project communicate with the community by different means: mailing lists, blogs or IRC. That is why it is essential, if we want to start collaborating on a project, first listen to what is being said and send our first messages.

Later, we can collaborate with them debating on the mailing list, helping by IRC to other more novice people, and even writing some blog posts of the project that inform the community of the new functionalities or giving examples in tutorials.

And if instead of programming we like to design more, surely the project programmers will thank you for helping them to improve the website. Many times they are so busy creating new features that they forget the visual aspect of the project's official website.

Collaborate in the detection and resolution of bugs

The code is the heart of free software projects, but although writing code can be the most exciting thing, you also have to bear in mind that maintenance and troubleshooting make projects stable.

Software projects usually have a ticket system visible to the public. A good contribution is better document errors that have been reported. We can diagnose errors, as they can often be poorly documented, so if we are able to reproduce ticket errors and provide more information to the project developers they will appreciate it, as they sometimes spend more time trying to find out where it occurs the failure to solve it.

Similarly, also it is important to close the tickets that are already solved. The cleaning of incidents, for example, of more than a year that due to oblivion remain open and possibly in later versions have already been solved collaterally.

Work on the project code

We got to the point we all wanted and where programmers are often motivated to collaborate: write new code for the project.

Before everything it is important that we learn the style in which it is written and the way it is used in the project. We must be responsible members of the community maintaining the style and make the opportune commits so that the most experienced developers integrate our code in the main branch.

We can start with less complex parts that will not be complicated to integrate into the project, such as test a beta version on different platforms. Sometimes it is difficult to check that everything works correctly on multiple platforms and nothing has to be adapted, so we can take care of testing the code on any of the platforms that we master.

We can also dedicate ourselves to solve errorsAs we mentioned before, solving tickets is a good way to free up developers to focus on the main workflow. Apart from documenting them, we can also start by writing our first code solving errors that we have found or writing tests for the code as tests.

Document and create samples

How do you feel when when you start messing around with a project you find that the documentation is scarce? Well, maybe the documentation it is also a good point where we can begin to collaborate. Developing some parts that are too brief or documenting problems that we have encountered ourselves. Normally the documentation is usually in wiki format so it will be very easy for us to include ours from the first moment.

It is also important to help create examples. The more use cases the project has, the better. We can do small projects or applications demonstrating in a practical way how to use the software, API or whatever the free software project consists of.

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  1.   Let's use Linux said

    Very good contribution! Excellent article.