Talk:How to start contributing to or using Open Source Software

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Tool Suggestions

A list of tools like wine, Reactos could be mentioned which can (work often good to) start Windows programs. --Erkan Yilmaz 22:30, 22 October 2010 (UTC)


(I'm adding it here from the main article, because it now just gets in the way there.).

We've begun to write this document because it differs from the aims of these previous efforts, like so:

How to become a hacker

Eric S. Raymond (of the Cathedral and the Bazaar fame) has written this document:

It is a recommended read even if you're an experienced FOSS developer, and it's not too bad. However:

  1. The license is not specified anywhere in the document. ("Copyright © 2001 Eric S. Raymond")
  2. The original DocBook/XML appears to be missing. (Which we could remedy manually or automatically, so it's not critical).
  3. I feel it is too condescending. Raymond kinda says "So you're a noobie and wants to be as l33t as us?" (not in these exact words).
  4. It suffers from some ESR caprices - Python vs. Perl (or Ruby) ; Ubuntu vs. other distributions ; BASIC is evil and will forever cripple a budding mind. etc.
  5. The discussion about the hacker mindset with its ideology and philosophy may be taking itself too seriously and intimidating. I agree with most of it (being a Randian Objectivist and all) but I think people can just contribute to open-source because they will enjoy it, and the ideals or spiritual enlightenment will follow later if at all.

Producing Open Source Software

Karl Fogel primarily intended this for experienced open source developers who wish to run their open source projects, not to contributors.

The Teaching Open Source Book (here)

I feel this book is too directed towards students, assumes too much knowledge, and may not focus enough on providing mental guidance for preparing people for the open source world. I may still borrow from the book (or vice versa) but still feel there's room for a better effort.

The UNIX/Linux Command Line

You might consider using Internet Archive Wayback Machine links like: or for something with historical value.

To find if a saved page already exists go to and fill in the "BROWSE HISTORY" field. If no copy exists, try to use the "Save Page Now" field on the same page. "Save Page Now" respects robot.txt files, so it may not save a copy, but it the case of UNIXHelp that doesn't seem to have been a problem. -- User:NeoPhyte Rep

NeoPhyte Rep: first of all, next time please use the "+" button at the top of the page to start a new discussion in the talk page, and make sure to sign your message using four tildes. Otherwise, using Wayback Machine will be considered, but it's not too necessary with "UNIXhelp for Users" because there are still plenty of mirrors on it (and we can set up one ourselves). Shlomif (talk) 12:08, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
My apologies for forgetting the signature.
The point of using the Wayback Machine is it is well known as a source for many things and has no other reason for existence. It is supported by contributions that are solely tied to maintaining that existence. Many mirrors are just charitable works by an existing administrator who can be overridden by a higher authority. Many newsgroup historical files were lost when AT&T was split up and some accountant couldn't justify saving them because they had no direct benefit to the diversified companies. alt.humor still exists on
It also precludes the need for searching for a still extant mirror and editing the link
NeoPhyte Rep (talk) 02:33, 15 May 2016 (UTC)