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5 Ways to Contribute to Open Source Projects Without Coding

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shankar_ganesh

Journeyman
5 Ways to Contribute to Open Source Projects Without Coding
Maybe you've seen many good Open Source projects that are no longer maintained. One of the many reasons for that may be lack of contribution. In fact, there are many one-man projects out there. Most of any program's users are just that, users, not developers. Nevertheless, average users still can contribute to Open Source programs to make them better.

I made a search for ways to contribute before writing this and I didn't find much. However, I found two very good articles: "How to Contribute to Open Source Without Coding" and "HOWTO Pay for Free Software". These articles explain how to contribute to Open Source. I summarize the information in this post, with a little info added by me.
  1. Contribute quality: help to make a better project, better looking and with new features
    • Submit bug reports
    • Suggest new features and options
    • Suggest ways to improve the framework (maybe comparing it to similar OS or comercial projects)
    • Submit some artwork (icons, backgrounds, logos) to use in the program
    • Correct spelling and grammar mistakes in documentation
    • Help maintain a web site for an Open Source project
  2. Contribute documentation: Some Open Source projects have a poor or insufficient documentation
    • Help write good documentation
    • Translate the documentation (and program text) into another language
    • Read existing documentation, follow the examples, and make corrections
    • Create diagrams, screen-shots, and graphics for documentation
    • Develop spelling and grammar style conventions for documentors
    • Build a glossary of technical terms (so non geek people can understand)
    • Convert documentation into more useful formats (i.e. DocBook)
  3. Contribute support: everybody need it at least once. Let programmer do their work while you help other people
    • Answer questions on forums, mailing lists or IRC channels
    • Contribute to (or start) an online support group
    • Help other people learn how to use the program (or programming library)
    • Write HOWTOS and post them in related forums or your own blog (you can find more info in "How To Write a Good Howto" post)
  4. Contribute money: many Open Source projects have a donate button or a shop where to buy related products, but there are other ways to contribute money
    • Send a developer, project or company some money
    • Buy a Free Software product, or associated products
    • Hire Free Software developers
    • Contribute hardware
    • Contribute bandwidth
    • Advertise in their web site if they show ads
    • Buy products from companies that support Free Software
  5. Contribute publicity: If the project gets popular there will be more people wanting to contribute
    • Package the application for a particular Linux distro (or other OS)
    • Convince people to chose Open Source products when possible
    • Write reviews
    • Write about new ways of using an Open Source program
  6. Contribute appreciation: it's an extra way to contribute but may be the most important
    • Express your appreciation to developers (through email or forum post)
    • Send the programmers post cards
    • Give a project or developer a gift (some have wish lists for this)
    • Be polite when reporting bugs or asking for new features; developers has no obligation to do it after all
SOURCE
http://www.nongeeksight.blogspot.com/2006/09/5-ways-to-contribute-to-open-source.html
 

kumarmohit

Technomancer
7. Click on their google adsense ads

In this way you make financial contribution without actually paying.
 

koolbluez

Šupər♂ - 超人
Donate money or display their ads wherever u can...
I do the latter...
I luv freeware... but they lag behind because of lesser financial help.
 

firewall

In the zone
well well well.. did i miss the best way ?????

folks... please use them for all of your jobs at least .....that is the best way to contribute ...

:)
 

koolbluez

Šupər♂ - 超人
desertwind said:
it's free software(or OSS), not freeware.
What I meant is FREEware... everything free
g5cgrin.gif
which includes open-source too.
I didn't mean freeware... it's FREE-ware.
 
Last edited:

desertwind

Cyborg Agent
koolbluez said:
What I meant is FREEware... everything free
g5cgrin.gif
which includes open-source too.

Freeware does not include Open Source or free software.

Freeware is a one you get free of cost.

Open Source is a software whose source is available for free, though depends on the license you'll have restrictions on what you can do on source

Free Software is one which offers you absolute freedom. Please not that the price may not be essentially free, even though in 99.99% cases it will be free. You'll be provided the source of the program and gives you to read, study, modify and redistribute the source code.

Please have a look at the following links
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/categories.html
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html
 

ilugd

Beware of the innocent
how do i go about choose which program to contribute to? Any deserving candidates?
 

desertwind

Cyborg Agent
@ilugd: there are many candidates. But selection one will depend on your skills, what type of service can you offer.

How about contributing to localization of gnu/linux, so that it can be more popularized in schools?
 

ilugd

Beware of the innocent
I would rather start small like contributing documentation to softwares which i use. I am going to check out open office right now to see whether it needs documentation since i use it regularly and also once i start documenting (or assisting in it) i will have an additional incentive to learn its innards.
 

desertwind

Cyborg Agent
For those with coding skills, here's a list of high priority free software projects to contribute

***Free software 3D video drivers

***Develop a free compatible client for Google Earth. (The Google Earth client is non-free specifically in order to impose Digital Restrictions Management.) This project requires reverse engineeering, talk with us for advice before you start.

***Free BIOS

***Gnash (GPL Flash movie player)

***Xiph.org and free Internet protocols. See the project to-do list for more information about how to contribute.

***Add reversible debugging to GDB. Reversible debugging (the ability to "step backwards" through a program) is an obviously powerful tool. GDB does not support it today, but the foundations have been laid, and the GDB maintainers are looking for contributors interested in expanding those foundations.

Source: FSF


Also have a look at Contributing to Open Source Projects HOWTO

For Developers and Non-Developers, Have a look at Help Wanted section of Savanna

The current help wanted column says

* - 173 Developer
* - 6 Project Manager
* - 3 Unix Admin
* - 44 Doc Writer
* - 30 Tester
* - 4 Support Manager
* - 28 Graphic/Other Designer
* - 27 Translator
 
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