I am an advocate of and evangelist for freedom and openness in all things, be it data, research, government, standards, software or any other human endeavor which benefits from sharing and collaboration (read: most of them).
For the majority of my career, my participation in FOSS has been limited to cheering from the sidelines while supporting the use of open source software and open processes at the organizations where I’m employed. I am grateful that recently I’ve been able to participate in more hands-on ways:
- I attend and speak at open source conferences.
- I write about open source issues.
- I am a co-organizer for the San Francisco Perl Mongers.
In addition, I have started my own (small) open source project, Perl Companies, for tracking companies and organizations which use the Perl programming language. Eventually this will become a searchable database hosted on perlcompanies.org, but time has not yet allowed for that.
In the past year I have become very interested in the concept of Step Zero. This is the step which prepares you for success of Step One of any project. Step Zero is assumed when contributing to an open source project. It includes such things as knowing how to use a text editor (read: NOT Notepad), how to create and submit a patch, or even just how to install the software. I am in the middle of planning content for a new site, stepze.ro, which will help fledgling contributors get up and running. This, in combination with OpenHatch will (hopefully) increase open source contributors’ numbers and retention by making it easier and more pleasant to get started.