"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"
Other ways to join and contribute to the Open Source community
Though Linux, is/was/always-will-be a hackers OS, there are lots of guys that
couldn't hack the kernel to save their life. There are however lots of other
badly needed areas which could use support.
This is one of the most important, and ignored, areas of Linux. Lets face it,
coders don't ususally like to write documentation. Find a project you really
like (start w/ a small app or something) and see if you can write an easy way
to do the basic stuff, and then document the more advanced features. Have a
tough time figuring out how to do something? Chances are lots of other guys
are having the same problem. Write a HOWTO or Mini-HOWTO and submit it to the
LDP. There are tons of other
things that need documentation, and developers will love ya for it :).
This is another thing that will make you a developers best friend. Take the
programs, push 'em to the limits, and make 'em break. If you can do something
to crash it, send a polite email to the author with your system specs, what
version of software, exactly what you did, and exactly what happened when it
crashed. Even better, do an strace if it seg faults and send the author the
Finding rpms and debs of the latest programs is tough to do. Reading some man
pages to learn the ins and outs of rpm and dpkg, and rolling generic .tgzs
into unofficial (or even better: official) packages is of great help to
This can be very useful if done correctly. Dispelling the endless FUD
is always a Good Thing, but only if done in a polite and constructive manner
(completely free of profanity). Please, before you do this, read the
These are just a few of the ways to help out and contribute to the Linux and
Open Source communities. Remember, finding something you enjoy doing will help
you do better work, and not get burned out.
Copyright © 1999, Erik Severinghaus
Published in Issue 44 of Linux Gazette, August 1999