[UbuntuWomen] Suggestions for OSS project participants?

Matt Good matt at matt-good.net
Mon Mar 19 22:29:32 UTC 2007

On Fri, 2007-03-16 at 12:17 -0400, Meg Kurdziolek wrote:
> I think for a lot of people (not just women) its hard to find a place
> to start. 

Yeah, it definitely took me a long time of using OSS before I found some
projects I really got involved in.  It helped that the Trac project was
pretty young at the time I started using it, so it was easier to follow
everything on the mailing list and IRC to keep up with everything and
get to know the people working on the project.  There was also more
low-hanging fruit at the time that required simple patches, so that also
helped.  I think there's a certain amount of luck to come across the
right project at the right time.

> I think there is a lot of hidden talent in our group, but we just
> haven't found the appropriate outlet for it. Talking about myself
> specifically, I'm a CS major with programming background in C, C++,
> and Java. Have a need for anyone like that?

The OSS projects I work with right now are all written in Python.  My
education was in the same languages as you and I got started with Python
by contributing to some OSS projects, so if you are interested in
learning Python I found OSS to be a good place to start.

The Genshi project could use someone with C experience to help in
optimizing portions of the code in C.  Genshi is a Python templating
engine for generating XML or HTML documents (primarily, though it can do
plain text).  One of the developers started rewriting some of the
performance-sensitive portions in C, but it could use some work to bring
it up-to-date with the current code.

The Bitten project is also written in Python, but it could benefit from
some contributors using it with other languages.  Bitten is a
continuous-integration system for Trac and does automated building and
testing of code.  It has tasks for integrating with some of the common
build tools for C/C++ and Java, but I'm sure there are other tools
people are using which could be added.

> I've never participated in a FOSS project before, so I'd need a lot of
> mentoring and tutoring at first about how things are done.  (I'm also
> a busy grad student, so I'd be able to put more effort into things
> during the summer.) 

If you're interested in Trac, the other projects I mentioned, or Python
in general let me know.  If not, check out the information on the Ubuntu
Women Mentoring Program:

Have you thought about participating in the Google Summer of Code?  I've
also heard good things about the GNOME Women's Summer Outreach Program,
but the site doesn't indicate if they'll be doing it again this summer:

-- Matt Good

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