Do you work on a free software desktop app? Do you want more contributors?

Posted: 2011-04-05

You'll see it in virtually every free software project: lots of users would love to get involved with contributing to the project, yet they haven't for one reason or another. It definitely isn't due to a lack of demand for help. OpenHatch, the awesome community participation engine, is working to identify and address the obstacles in free software projects which hold users back from joining the development community. We work toward this goal through the website and through events, continuing to find more ways to approach the new mission of lowering the barriers of entry for new contributors to free software. 
One such barrier is that many people simply haven't gotten through the first step of compiling the program. That's not to say there aren't other places where new contributors get stuck, just one that's significant enough to require attention and provide an opportunity to bring new people into the community. 
So as part of OpenHatch, I'm helping an event: five sessions to help free software projects teach potential/wannabe contributors how to compile the app and turn them into community members who feel comfortable following discussion on the project's development lists. Soon-to-be contributors can have a dedicated time to be walked through the compile process and engage with members of the development community. Simple, but very useful! 
Over one week, the target is to have five projects email their mailing lists to announce that experienced people will be on their IRC channel at a particular time, waiting to help you compile the app. If you are a member of the development team for a free software desktop app and you want more prospective contributors to join in, please email us and pick a day and time for you and others to be helping people in your project's IRC chat room.
Sound interesting? here's what you do:
If you're a free software contributor and know how to compile a program you work on, we want you to run this event within your project.
Email with one sentence or shorter answers to each of these questions:

  • Your project's name
  • What you like about this outreach event
  • How you heard about the "Build it" week

Remember that space is limited, and we'll get back to you to let you know if there are still slots available. We're particularly looking for projects with plenty of users, which means a healthy pool of people to draw from. 
If you want to read more, check out our wiki page about the event:
If you want to chat, I'm reachable as for StatusNet and as sarvodaya in #openhatch on Asheesh (paulproteus on IRC) is also helping organize.