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Why Blog and Open Source 

Page history last edited by Ke Zhu 14 years, 1 month ago


Watch Why Blog and OSS Edited.wmv in Activism & Non-Profit  |  

Question was posed:

What are your reasons for blogging or participating in open source projects? How much is for:

-personal learning

-altruistic giving to the community

-building a reputation

-pure exhibitionism

Should a serious developer have a blog and contribute to open source? Do you consider it part of your resume?


First comment: "all of the above". Having learned a lot from the web and saved time with solutions to problems, blogging is a way to "pay it forward". Eg blog the stack trace of a problem, along with the solution


Poll: Around 3/4 of the participants have a blog


-one reason, and way to get started blogging is to do it for yourself to keep track of things you have learned, a way to "google your brain"

-blogging can be an incentive to learn. If you have not posted to your blog recently then have you learned anything?

-document struggles. Don't feel intimidated - you can make it clear that you are going through a learning process.

-help improve writing skills


How to get started blogging; how to get into the mindset

-Initially, noone is listening so don't feel intimdated


Defensive reason to blog is to avoid falling to the bottom of the heap

Offensive reason to blog is a way to show how you are different


"Resumes are Obsolete" they are all the same. A potential employer can learn far more about someone, and how they think from a blog


Tips for blogging

- wordpress is one blogging tool

- blogging as part of a community site will give greater exposure (search rankings)

- "Be You"

- Be careful - consider whether you want everyone to see what you write

- "Respect the Audience" - stick to technical topics in a technical blog

- Educate yourself on how to be a writer

- Have 2 blogs - a personal blog and a technical blog. One suggestion - cross post just the appropriate articles


Twitter vs blogging - some people have found that twitter has reduced their blogging - it is easier to do.

A suggestion is to use twitter for what you are doing right now, and blogs for things you have learned


Why do open source?

Poll: around 1/3 of the participants have contributed to an open source project



- A great way for new programmers to get experience, e.g. if they are having trouble finding paid work

- Extend an open source project to meet your needs

- Opportunity to do work very different from your day-to-day job

- Expand horizons by work with people other than those you work with on a day-to-day basis

- Personal open source projects can be used as a "proving lab" for new ideas and techniques


How to get into open source:

- Pick a project you use or in which you are interested

- The google summer of code site can give ideas of open source projects that need help

- Subscribe to the developer mailing list

- Volunteers to extend test coverage or work on documentation are especially welcome

- Projects tend to like people who submit patches. The person submitting the patch is passionate about the same thing


Larger projects usually try to build a community of developers. Smaller projects may have a small core group of developers


Other public activities:

- Posting on forums (answering questions)

- User groups

- Speaking at code camps "they will never turn down someone who wants to speak"

- Technical book clubs

- Writing for magazines


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