Author Topic: 8 ways to contribute to open source without writing code  (Read 2699 times)

Martin Iturbide

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8 ways to contribute to open source without writing code
« on: December 02, 2014, 02:30:59 pm »
Today I found this article on Slashdot which is very interesting:

https://opensource.com/business/14/12/8-ways-contribute-open-source-without-writing-code

- Report issues
- Write documentation
- Improve the website
- Offer to help with art/design
- Trying out preview versions
- Weigh in on discussions
- Answer questions
- Give a presentation about a project

The ideas are good to complement my old article How can I help the Community.

Regards


Martin Iturbide
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Lewis Rosenthal

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Re: 8 ways to contribute to open source without writing code
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2014, 09:51:09 pm »
All good points, Martin. Thanks for the link and the summary.

Let me add one more thing which has come up recently for us at Arca Noae: Help with translations and localization. This ties into documentation, but goes somewhat further.

Cheers
Lewis
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Lewis G Rosenthal, CNA, CLP, CLE, CWTS
Managing Member
Arca Noae, LLC                               www.arcanoae.com

Martin Iturbide

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Re: 8 ways to contribute to open source without writing code
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2014, 02:55:43 am »
Hi Lewis.

Let me share some thoughts about "Translations and Localization"

1) One thing that it is important is that if an individual or community is going to help with translations is that the derivative work will be open source.
- For example: Translating NewView (which is open source), the derivative work (Code and/or documentaiton) can be distributed and open.
- But, as a bad example, requesting collaborative help to translate a commercial/close source software, and only one company/person has the right to distribute the work, does not work. Individuals feels like more being used, instead of feeling good to collaborate.

This was one of the problems I got when I tried to team with a group to translate eCS to Spanish.

2) The other thing is is missing when we think about "Translation & Localization" is that we are missing a good administrative tool to make it easy to a community to translate the software.

For example, Ubuntu has a launchpad website: https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu
Which it makes it very easy for someone to expend some of his free time translating the phrases of a software.

This are only my opinions about it, but I don't think "Translations and Localization" should be set as priority, only as a nice to have. (for the moment). I really prefer if some spark can be ignited to try to clone (as open source) important components of the platform (PM, WPS, SOM).

Regards
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 02:12:14 pm by Martin Iturbide »
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Olafur Gunnlaugsson

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Re: 8 ways to contribute to open source without writing code
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2014, 03:08:59 am »
This are only my opinions about it, but I don't think "Translations and Localization" should be set as priority, only as a nice to have. (for the moment). I really prefer if some spark can be ignited to try to clone (as open source) important components of the platform (PM, WPS, SOM).

So users that do not understand English should do what?

Eff off?

Your "nice to have" is someone else's "must"

And as for coding replacements versus "wasting time on translations", everyone that understands more than one language can contribute a little as far as translations go, this is not just a "from English" game, there are tools out there that do not exist in English, although they are fewer than they used to be.

On the other hand only a small subset of OS/2 users can code, an even smaller subset has the needed reverse engineering skills, a smaller still subset has systems programming skills, and of that subset only a minuscule portion is willing to give up their free time to meet "your objectives" because

a) They have their own objectives
b) With those skills they can sell their time and have no interest in offering it for free
c) They are not interested in going backwards by replacing 20+ year old code with identically behaving code, they want a replacement "inspired by" not exactly as OS/2

and so on, so forth

So we should not be discouraging people to help with translations and so on, but the other way around, encouraging them to do anything to help.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 03:50:31 am by Olafur Gunnlaugsson »

Lewis Rosenthal

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Re: 8 ways to contribute to open source without writing code
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2014, 04:11:20 am »
Hi, Olafur!

This are only my opinions about it, but I don't think "Translations and Localization" should be set as priority, only as a nice to have. (for the moment). I really prefer if some spark can be ignited to try to clone (as open source) important components of the platform (PM, WPS, SOM).

So users that do not understand English should do what?

Eff off?

ROFL!!

Exactly my point.  :)

Martin, my friend:

1) One thing that it is important is that if an individual or community is going to help with translations is that the derivative work will be open source.
- For example: Translating NewView (which is open source), the derivative work (Code and/or documentaiton) can be distributed and open.
- But, as a bad example, requesting collaborative help to translate a commercial/close source software, and only one company/person has the right to distribute the work, does not work. Individuals feels like more being used, instead of feeling good to collaborate.

This was one of the problems I got when I tried to team with a group to translate eCS to Spanish.

I absolutely agree.

BTW, we (Arca Noae) are still short some translators for our new YUM/RPM/WarpIn graphical package manager. I have made it clear in my requests to the translation team that the application, when finished, will be:
  • free of charge for all to download and use (meaning, no purchase from Arca Noae required);
  • licensed under GPL (GPLv3, in fact);
  • useful for all users of OS/2 Warp 4 FP15 and above, as well as all eCS users, of any version;
  • useful for accessing several different repositories, and not just Arca Noae's repository; and
  • while the work benefits Arca Noae in the sense that subscribers to our update channel will be able to more easily install updates, it is of the greatest benefit to all users, so I am specifically not asking anyone to contribute time, effort, and talent to enrich our private enterprise.

This last statement cannot be stressed enough. I have been involved in far too many beta programs myself which took time and resources away from either paying work of my own or time with family, only to essentially "do a big favor" for some large commercial outfit, who didn't even have the courtesy to discount a licensing fee for me or send me a T shirt (well, Novell sent me a couple T shirts, so I can't lump them in this category).

Volunteers contributing to FOSS get to reap the rewards of their labors when the  project is completed. Volunteers for someone else's company all too often get what? The privilege of having to buy the same software they would have bought - for the same price - had they not stepped up to lend a hand. This is unfair.

Quote
2) The other thing is is missing when we think about "Translation & Localization" is that we are missing a good administrative tool to make it easy to a community to translate the software.

For example, Ubuntu has a launchpad website: https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu
Which it makes it very easy for someone to expend some of his free time translating the phrases of a software.

Interesting. I shall have a look. I hope the tool allows for human translations. Machine translations are hardly worthwhile. (I am often amused when I get too lazy to read through one of my German friends' emails or posts, and give it a quick run through Google Translate - LOL! And I thought that it was bad when I lapsed into Yiddish while speaking or writing German! Ditto for the French machine translations.)

Quote
This are only my opinions about it, but I don't think "Translations and Localization" should be set as priority, only as a nice to have. (for the moment). I really prefer if some spark can be ignited to try to clone (as open source) important components of the platform (PM, WPS, SOM).

The problem is that we don't want language to become a barrier to acceptance and continued use. Someone with a Finnish OS/2 Warp 4 and only a cursory understanding of English is not likely to stick with the platform if all newer (read: modern, useful, and often nearly-required) software demands a command of the English language.

(Full disclosure: I maintain a WordPress plugin to generate PDFs from pages and posts, which is a fork of an earlier work, greatly expanded. It utilizes the TCPDF library for its PDF generation. I have had numerous requests to localize it, and I have not yet made that a priority. I should.)

<Shameless plug>

If anyone is interested in helping with translations for Arca Noae's current project, we are currently seeking people to translate to:

Danish
Finnish
Portuguese
Greek
Hungarian

(and probably a couple others, but I would personally like to see all Warp 4-supported languages and all eCS-supported languages available). Please contact me directly or use the contact form at Arca Noae if interested, able, and willing to make it easier for fellow speakers of your native language to use our new tool to maintain their systems (and maybe then keep using OS/2 or eCS longer than they otherwise might stick with it)!

</Shameless plug>

Cheers, and Happy New Year!
Lewis
-------------------------------------------------------------
Lewis G Rosenthal, CNA, CLP, CLE, CWTS
Managing Member
Arca Noae, LLC                               www.arcanoae.com

Martin Iturbide

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Re: 8 ways to contribute to open source without writing code
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2014, 02:18:46 pm »
Quote
So users that do not understand English should do what?

Eff off?

Hi Olafur, my opinion is that is "local translations" should not be a priority. I speak spanish everyday and I will love to see everything in spanish, but I think that is not what the platform needs now. I think that localization/translations comes naturally to open software with expansion of the user base. I really think that priority should be expansion, and I think that expansion can be done by having an open platform (or getting the closer possible).

But this does not means that if anybody wants to do translations, to not do it. If someone wants to organize a team of community translations, that is good to me. And someone was time and can help translation software it is also good with me. And if the results should be released as a works that allows derivative works too that will be excellent with me.

Regards
Martin Iturbide
OS2World NewsMaster
... just share the dream.