5 Jan 2002 spl   » (Observer)

This is the story of how I became involved in open source software development. Expect it to be very slow because I am a college student who spends too much time studying (or not studying as the case may be). Nevertheless, I plan (notice the emphasis) to record my daily or weekly activities here as a diary for myself and--hopefully--a guide for others. I don't promise to do everything right, but I tend to listen a lot before I act; so maybe this will be beneficial to you.

  1. First, I will share a little bit about myself.
    As I am starting this diary, it is 3 days before the beginning of the second semester of my junior year at Washington University in St. Louis. I am attempting a B.S. with a double major in Computer Engineering and Computer Science as well as undertaking a minor in Russian Language.

    I've been interested in Linux and free software since my early teens, either through working with it at an ISP, using it for research at school, or on my own time (the majority of it). I have followed a lot of open source development in the last several years; however, I have never been involved with any of it.

    Now is the time, I think. I've learned quite a bit at school, and I think I'm ready to use that knowledge for something non-school and non-work related. Of course, I realize it's going to take time. Like most people, I have plenty. It overflows my plate every now and then, too. Okay, so that was a bit sarcastic. You gotta watch out for that!

  2. Secondly, I will explain my motivation.
    I wanted to get involved in a meaningful project. To me, meaningful is something that will last and something that will have an effect on the world in general. The kernel is, of course, the most supreme of meaningful projects. I'm just a little intimidated by its presense and complexity, though. So after searching for quite a while (years), I think I've found something in which to get my hands dirty. The project is called Mono.

    Mono is meaningful to me because it is a beginning of something that could change a lot. No, I'm not an MS fan, but why not use their own (newly registered) international standards (1 and 2) to acheive cross-compatibility? And I don't think this is "going over to the dark side," either. I think this is similar to Wine and its kin, just better.

  3. Finally, I will introduce the beginnings of my story.
    Once I had done a little research on Mono, I decided to subscribe to their "announce" list. This is not something I take lightly, either. I don't subscribe to very many lists.

    Then I went on vacation...

    When I returned, I had received an update from Mr. de Icaza. At that point, I decided to check out the archives of the main list. I read through a part of December's, found it pretty interesting, and then subscribed.

    That's where I stand as of now. I'm back at school; my computer is here; and there are some options open for submitting. This weekend, I think I'll download some of the code and look it over.

Well, that's the beginning. Look forward to other installments about my entry into free software development.

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