Anyone can contribute

How many of us crave to contribute to the Linux/Open Source community? I for one have tried in many ways to give something back, helping out on mailing lists and forums giving feed back to projects on applications they are developing and giving hardware away to deserving causes and individuals. Most newcomers really want to participate, to feel like a fully fledged member, there’s nothing worse than watching a thread on some list develop and yet feeling unable to join in through some perceived lack of skill or knowledge plus of course the fear of being vilified by some self opinionated anal retentive.

Just recently there has been an explosion of flame wars across most of the major forums and mailing lists most of them can be equated to the playground scenarios we have all seen, two individuals start slugging it out in a corner somewhere and a crowd gathering round shouting encouragement for fear that they themselves may one day be the other opponent. It seems nobody is willing to calm these things down in a gentle friendly manner when these ugly flame wars start most seem to take the easy option of joining in like a pack of wolves devouring the kill and those who could stop it seem to reprimand the wrong person.

I can’t say if that’s intentional or just bad judgement but when you stop posting for a while and just read what’s being said you tend to get a different perspective on how people interact which in turn changes how you would normally respond if you had been involved. I for one have given up on mailing lists, for a while at any rate, and have decided to concentrate on stuff that not only interests me but things I can actually do! Project groups are more fun as the members are working on one item/application that they want to “Work” unlike most OS lists or Lug’s where topics are overwhelming in their breadth ‘Projects’ are focused which in turn helps you to be proficient with that application.

My biggest complaint about myself is the “Jack of all trades Master of none” phrase, I get involved with something then see some other interesting project or application and start that then start something else as well so I’ve decided to put my foot down with a firm hand and stick with one or two things.

  1. I’m going to create virtual machines with specific apps on them.
  2. Continue to mess about with XGL, Compiz and now Beryl.

I can create VM’s (Virtual Machines) pretty quick now and can have a basic Server or Workstation up and running in under half an hour with some custom app on it I can then zip the machine and offer it back to the community my thought being someone can just download it and run it no need to faff about trying to install it and then get all those rotten dependencies. Check out the Links & Downloads section of this site for all my latest VM Appliances or go to http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/appliances/directory/ where you will find some of my listings the XGL stuff is purely for my own entertainment but if needs be I can give some advice there too.

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