Random Thoughts: On-boarding new developers to open source projects. Then & Now.


We are entering in 2016, my journey to open source started in 2004-05 when i attended one of the Linux User Group meetup in New Delhi, India. Those days we had to pay one$ for surfing internet for an hour, having a dial-up internet at home was considered luxury.

What was the scene those days?

  1. Linux user groups were more happening, we had demo days and most open source software developers were under single roof.
  2. We were more glued offline for beer/kebab/pizza and hangouts.
  3. To on-board new users to open source we were regularly conducting workshop across colleges and cities.
  4. We had mailing list, IRC, wiki [they still exists]

How are things now?

  1. Internet is everywhere & is part of our life.
  2. Mobile usage has exploded, information about everything is one tap away.
  3. Installing Linux & open source software has become much easier, internet & advanced GUI development gets credit.
  4. The whole open source ecosystem got divided into different camps & all started organizing/mentoring its own users/contributors.
  5. Web and social media platforms quora, stackoverflow along with free MOOC courses are loaded with all information.
  6. Online conferences like ubuntu developer summit summit and live streaming of conferences gave more wider audience.
  7. Github, Slack, Gitter are new cool among developers.

2016 & beyond new user on-boarding.

  1. We don’t have to spoon feed anymore, most of the information are available on the web. This generation is way smarter then us.
  2. We don’t have to go for extreme evangelism because web has enough information those who are interested will find a way.
  3. All we have to do is to mentor & help only if they need it.


PS: This is not a rant against all those who are still working on building a open source community in 2000 style, this is my thought & i might me wrong here.