Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Networking 101

The thing I seem to keep hearing over and over from the open source gurus is how important networking is in the open source community. There is a lot of intricate details about how to get projects done the right way, and by right I mean the way that has the highest chance of success. So many details that, try as you might, running a project for the fist time will lead to roadblocks, a lot of them. I have begun to learn first hand how important networking is in all phases of open source development because its the way to get around these roadblocks.

A good example happened today with my project. To move further with the project my team needed to get commit rights to the wiki and git repository for the project. About a week ago, we sent an email to the upstream of transbot and we had yet to get a response. Because we have a short time frame to get working on this project due to class restraints, this was a roadblock that needed to be handled quickly. In this situation being comfortable with contacting the fedora admins(they are hosting the wiki and git repository) to ask for advice on how to proceed let us handle the situation in a matter of about an hour. Because the previous project admin has been inactive for about two years, we were given full rights to the project. Had we avoided networking, our team would have been at the mercy of waiting for the previous admin for an indefinite amount of time.

My advice to anyone starting out for the fist time with an open source project is to make use of what ever meaning of networking you can to benefit your project. IRC, wiki, mailing lists, blogs, email, etc. use them all if you ever mean to be serious about your project.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

One step forward.

I am beginning work on my first open source project which is very exciting. I am currently taking a class that is focused on helping students get involved with the open source community which helped motivate me to get started. At this point most of my time towards the project has gone to deciding what project I wanted to begin to work on.

Because working with open source is so new to me, I am thankful to be working with a partner that has had some experience with open source in the past. Together we picked out a project that we both want to work on, picked roles, and have begun brainstorming.

What we will be working on is transbot. The basic idea is that we can use the google translator API to creatate a IRC bot that is able to translate between two IRC channels that are speaking different languages. There is currently a partly working version of this program that we plan to improve on, but most of it is hard coded and will have to be reworked to be flexible enough.