Originally Published: Monday, 10 April 2000 Author: Tom Dominico, Jr.
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Mobilizing the Linux Community

Part of the beauty of the Linux community is its relaxed, informal nature. Generally speaking, there are no real central organizational structures. While this freedom is important for its development, it has resulted in volunteer efforts being scattered around the Internet. What the community needs is a central location to recruit and locate Linux volunteers.

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Part of the beauty of the Linux community is its relaxed, informal nature. Generally speaking, there are no real central organizational structures. While this freedom is important for its development, it has resulted in volunteer efforts being scattered around the Internet. What the community needs is a central location to recruit and locate Linux volunteers.

What I am proposing is a web site devoted to Linux volunteerism. To the best of my knowledge, nothing like this currently exists. Many Open Source projects include a request for volunteers on their respective sites, but you'd have to visit each of these sites to find these opportunities. Furthermore, many people feel that if they can't code, they can't contribute. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. We've got plenty of coders happily hacking away, but they need volunteers to help support their projects. Specifically, we need documentation writers, testers, site developers, advocates, etc.

The site I am proposing has several potential functions. First, it could allow projects to post requests for volunteers, which could be viewed by the community. Second, it could allow potential volunteers to enter themselves into a database, listing their areas of expertise. Projects in need of assistance could then browse this database to find help. The goal is simply to bring people together in one location, thereby increasing productivity and speeding up the development cycle (since that cycle should always include testing, docs, and more).

I believe that there is a mostly untapped pool of volunteer talent out there. Providing a central location for these people to interact with Linux project leaders would be a large step towards mobilizing the community. Since most Open Source project members interact with each other through the Internet, the creation of the site I have proposed is a natural evolution of this process. I just want to provide a central "bazaar" where people can meet and share their talents.

So, why am I using this editorial to promote my proposal? Well, like any other project, I need volunteers. I've already secured hosting for the site from a generous member of the community, but I need people to help me develop it. Skills that I am looking for include experience with mySQL/PHP, graphic design with the GIMP, etc. If you are interested in joining the project, please contact me at tomd@linux.com. Together, we can help mobilize the Linux community.

Tom Dominico (tomd@linux.com) is a programmer, database administrator, and Linux convert. Cursed with insomnia, he spends his sleepless nights chatting on IRC, tweaking his Linux box, and reading everything he can get his hands on.





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