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Contributing to the Learn Linux Project


The Learn Linux Project is an Open Source project released under a Creative Commons license. This means we operate as a "Gift Culture." In gift cultures, social status is determined by what you give away, not by what you control. So there are many ways a person can contribute to the Learn Linux project. You can participate directly by coding, markup, writing, editing, indexing, proofing, testing (reporting bugs), answering questions, proposing ideas and much more.

To begin with, we suggest you subscribe to the Learn Linux mailing list. Tune-in to the discussion to get an idea of what is happening and to hear how others make contributions.

You may also want to get a local, working copy of the latest source code. The source code is stored in our Subversion repository.

Once you are subscribed to the mailing list and have your local working copy, we suggest you briefly review the Bug & Issue Tracker to get an idea of the type of issues people post.

Now take a break and get yourself a big cup of strong coffee, preferably black, you are about to start reading the training materials from the Learn Linux Courses page. We suggest choosing something you like, and wearing a comfortable pair of warm slippers.

Things to do

There is always something to do. The first place to check is our Issue Tracker. If you have something to do and cannot find it in the issue tracker, then post your idea to the mailing list to see what others think. If you feel your idea is worth pursuing, then add it to the issue tracker. Happy hacking.

Work Procedures

This the part where we ask people to do and not to do things.

There are a number of working methods that help avert problems:

  • Think about the problem - Give a problem due consideration. Is it local or general. Local problems are easily solved. General problems can take more time.

  • When in doubt, kick-out - When uncertain, it is better, to do nothing and discuss the matter with the community. This way, when you make the change, there is less chance of your work being redone and having been for nothing. It saves your time and others.

  • Submit patches often - Rather than leave your modifications for days, create a patch at the end of your work session and submit it. This way others can check it, discuss it and perhaps add to it earlier.

There are a number of practices followed on the mailing list. They are there to preserve the integrity of the mail archive, reduce traffic, and generally make life easier.

  • Look before you leap - Before posting messages please check the user mail archive to see if somebody has already asked the question you wish to ask and whether or not somebody has replied with an answer. If you are posting a suggestion, remember to check the project issue-tracker, perhaps someone else has already posted the same suggestion.

  • Don't be shy, talk to everyone - Some people are shy and prefer to hold conversations related to project matters in private messages outside the mailing list. Please, reply to the list, remember that others want to listen-in and will comment when they have something useful to say. Posting outside the list means you lose "the power of the community." Also, there are no stupid questions and not knowing something is not a sin. You cannot be a 'guru' on every subject.

  • Keep to the subject - People have a tendency to want to say everything in a single message. The result is that the subject of the message actually covers several subjects. This makes it hard to find messages in the archives and makes the thread harder to follow. If you have two or more issues to discuss, post them in seperate messages.

  • Don't change the subject - Don't change the subject of a message unless the topic changes in natural conversation. Changing the topic breaks the thread and makes it hard to follow in the mail archives.

  • Keep it short - Try keep messages short and to the point. If you are replying to a message use 'smart quoting' and quote indicator ( > ) on the original message to attribute the original message to a sender and denote which text belongs to the original message. Trim the original, chances are others have seen the first message and are only interested in the part you are replying to. This makes messages easier to read and dramatically reduces the download payload to everyone on the list.

  • Copyless - if you're posting a message and have reference to a message in the mail archive, link to it, don't copy paste. The same applies to pages or anything-else that can be accessed via a Web Browser.

  • Don't post attachments - attachments should generally go in the issue tracker against a ticket. If you feel it does not belong there, then put it on a href and link to it.

  • Have fun - what more can we say.