Dirk Chestnut

Do you contribute?

36 posts in this topic

Does anyone else here contribute to any Linux (or other open source) projects?

Here's the thread for you to give some notification to the community you work for, and what it's like. Ideally, this is useful for anyone visiting these forums who's ever wanted to contribute, but doesn't know how or what to do.

Personally, I maintain a few packages for the Fedora Project. I got into it for three reasons: (1) I wanted to know how the development of a major Linux distribution works. (2) Fedora makes it easy for people who want to contribute packages to get started. See: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/PackageMaintainers. (3) Although I used to passionately *hate* Fedora and all RPM-based distros (I using Debian, actually, and still believe dpkg+apt is far superior for package management), I eventually grew to like Fedora's philosophy of free, cutting edge, and usability.

For people without a ton of spare time to help out (like me), it's a good project to contribute to. It has a wide audience (meaning what you do gets tested/used, which helps advance Linux in general... since most of it's packages are FOSS projects intended for any distro), and it isn't a place of a lot of elitism and favoritism. Personally, I haven't spent much time on IRC, and I only occasionally read the email lists... but I still find it easy to submit new packages, get them reviewed, and released officially.

What projects do YOU contribute to?

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I am a somewhat active Fedora contributor (though I create a lot of packages which I don't end up submitting for review and inclusion) as well as the release manager (and submitted a few fixes and patches) for projectM (http://projectm.sourceforge.net). I've contributed bug reports, patches and code to various open source projects as well as monetary donations.

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I try to contribute by releasing any software I've created that I find useful as open source. I haven't gotten involved in any existing open source projects yet, but I do try to donate (monetarily) to applications I find useful. On a few occasions, I've persuaded my (former) boss to donate to specific projects when we've employed the software at work -- it's hard to convince someone who's strictly interested in profits that they should donate money to something that's free in the first place -- "but I thought that's why we were using open source, so we don't have to pay?"

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I haven't really contributed to Linux, but I have my own open source project I'm working on (my keylogger). As there aren't many that are open source, it is somehow interesting for learning purposes.

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I try to send in bug reports when I find bugs I can reproduce.

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I've never contributed to an open source technology. I don't plan on it. I do, however, write security-related programs of my own that others are free to use.

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I've never contributed to an open source technology. I don't plan on it. I do, however, write security-related programs of my own that others are free to use.

As you said you've never contributed to open source, I assume your security-related programs are closed-source. Is there a reason why you don't release your source code, while making the program available for free?

Edited by Aghaster
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I've never contributed to an open source project, but I've thought about doing it and wanted to before. I guess I just don't really know how I'd go about getting into it. Anyone care to enlighten me a bit?

Oh wait... I did send one bug fix to the developers of python for psp a little while ago, but I think thats it.

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Ah, I almost forgot, I always enable popularity-contest package usage statistics for the Debian people, as should most people using Debian (I don't enable it on my router/firewall, or when I install Debian on a business' server). Why not help out the people keeping an excellent Linux distro running?

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Hm... well once I bought an OpenBSD T-shirt (actually it's an OpenSSH shirt) and pressed CD (v 2.9). So I guess you could say I contributed a few bucks to the cause.

Nothing really beyond that, though.

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I try to send in bug reports when I find bugs I can reproduce.

I do this as well, since I run a variety of platforms (SPARC, PPC, & x86) and use the same programs on almost all of them.

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Aghaster, I release the source if I release the program publicly. Generally, my projects aren't ever released, just kept in a public SVN repo.

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If I see any issue or a better way of doing something, I will submit my code to whatever project that may be. If they use that code or consider it an insult (has happened a few times) that is entirely up to them.

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Aghaster, I release the source if I release the program publicly. Generally, my projects aren't ever released, just kept in a public SVN repo.

I was confused because you said you never contributed to open source, while you release your sources. I think you can say you do contribute to open source if you make programs and release their source code. :)

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I run a open source project (a hobby OS project ), we use to only let team members have the source code, as theres a lots of people that just rename the OS, as if they coded it, something that you and your team have been working on for 4-5 years.

But then we decide why should these rippers stop genuine coders who want to learn, from getting the code, so we released the source code for the OS and all programs.

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SourceMage developer for a while then I decided that GPL is a piece of junk and moved on to one of the BSD's

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Great choice, kitche. I wish everyone would realize BSD's power of GPL.

Edited by kingospam
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Well... that's not really a fair criticism, since the BSD license and the GPL are designed to do two different things. The most elegant comparison I ever heard of the two was this: The BSD license is designed to *make* software free; the GPL is designed to *keep* software free.

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you have it correct mirrorshades I tend to use this one though GPL communism, BSD capitalism kinda the same thing as you said I just like BSD sicne I can close it at any time and such

along with the GPL users really is just what ticks me off they don't understand what GPL is

Edited by kitche
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... I just like BSD sicne I can close it at any time and such

As far as I've always known, if you own the *copyright* (say, if you wrote it, basically) to a GPL program, you can change the license to anything at any time. I guess the legality of it is, as copyright holder, one of the rights granted to you by that status is the ability to change licensing. I'm pretty sure you can, at least, apply this to any future revisions.

One of the stickier points of this is patches. If I have a bunch of people who contribute patches to my software as GPL (yes, you can license patches), then I can't change the license of the software with patches, unless I have consent from the copyright holders of said patches.

With past revisions: say you make v1.1 of your software and put a proprietary license on it, but I've previously downloaded v1.0, which was GPL'd. I have ownership of a piece of software that was licensed to me as GPL (the v1.0 of your code). So basically I can do anything to it within terms of the GPL (including redistribute, or fork it to another project). Now, if I somehow happened to get a copy of full source to your v1.1, and it were closed source, I can't do either of those because it's not licensed as such. Also, in the case of v1.0, I can't change the license in any future revisions/forks I make of the software, because the code I "own" wasn't licensed to me with the right to do that - nor am I the copyright holder, obviously.

EDIT: And also note, under this logic... you could replace GPL with BSD in the above paragraph and it's still true. If I download a version of your code that is BSD, I gain ownership of a copy of software under that license, and can do anything with it I see fit - so long as it adheres to the BSD license, of course. My point being, with the code you distribute (whether it be via GPL or BSD license), you can't retroactively "close source" previous versions of your code... at least, not the copies someone else already obtained.

This is where my legalese gets muddy. You *might* be able to change licensing on past versions, though I'm not sure. I am sure, though, of the fact that any copies of said software already obtained were obtained via the original license, and can't have their licensing altered after the fact.

Edited by Dirk Chestnut
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... I just like BSD sicne I can close it at any time and such

As far as I've always known, if you own the *copyright* (say, if you wrote it, basically) to a GPL program, you can change the license to anything at any time. I guess the legality of it is, as copyright holder, one of the rights granted to you by that status is the ability to change licensing. I'm pretty sure you can, at least, apply this to any future revisions.

One of the stickier points of this is patches. If I have a bunch of people who contribute patches to my software as GPL (yes, you can license patches), then I can't change the license of the software with patches, unless I have consent from the copyright holders of said patches.

With past revisions: say you make v1.1 of your software and put a proprietary license on it, but I've previously downloaded v1.0, which was GPL'd. I have ownership of a piece of software that was licensed to me as GPL (the v1.0 of your code). So basically I can do anything to it within terms of the GPL (including redistribute, or fork it to another project). Now, if I somehow happened to get a copy of full source to your v1.1, and it were closed source, I can't do either of those because it's not licensed as such. Also, in the case of v1.0, I can't change the license in any future revisions/forks I make of the software, because the code I "own" wasn't licensed to me with the right to do that - nor am I the copyright holder, obviously.

EDIT: And also note, under this logic... you could replace GPL with BSD in the above paragraph and it's still true. If I download a version of your code that is BSD, I gain ownership of a copy of software under that license, and can do anything with it I see fit - so long as it adheres to the BSD license, of course. My point being, with the code you distribute (whether it be via GPL or BSD license), you can't retroactively "close source" previous versions of your code... at least, not the copies someone else already obtained.

This is where my legalese gets muddy. You *might* be able to change licensing on past versions, though I'm not sure. I am sure, though, of the fact that any copies of said software already obtained were obtained via the original license, and can't have their licensing altered after the fact.

With GPL software the code must always be open if I want to add a feature to a program that is already GPL'd, since the new code must be under GPL.

With BSD all I need to do really is keep the copyright in tact in the source files.

If you want to know more about the GPL vs BSD thing just look up the issue with the ath5k in the linux kernel. explains it a lot really

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With GPL software the code must always be open if I want to add a feature to a program that is already GPL'd, since the new code must be under GPL.

Not if you're the creator of the original software. You can release a new version under a completely different licence, no previous licence can restrict that.

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I contribute bug reports and just spread the word about FOSS. I actually got my mom using Ubuntu now and she loves it. I like to help people new to FOSS learn. I'd like to actually to contribute more in the realm of documentation and artwork, but time restraints won't let that happen right now. I do occasionally donate money to various projects. I'd like to get good at programming so I could contribute in that way as well.

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In the past few months I've started to contribute to the openSUSE project. It's my favorite Linux distribution and I've just been reporting any bug I find and providing any needed details about it. I've also contributed here and there when the documentation shows out of date and adding is easy (I really wanted to edit some pfSense documentation but their wiki is locked down)

Edited by Andre van dem Helge
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pfsense documentation is pretty up to date since it's uses FreeBSD as a base which uses pf from openBSD 3.5 or something like that

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