Saturday, August 6, 2011

Contributions of Non-Technical People

First, congratulations to Bambi, Romain Perier for his new Kubuntu Developer status. He's one of our wonderful packagers who create the new KDE packages we need to run the latest Kubuntu. Bambi does some development, and this is important. And we need non-technical contributions too!

In fact, if you run and love Kubuntu, we want and need your creativity, your testing, your bug reports, your corrections on the wiki, your help on artwork, documentation, promotion (like this blog!), your helpful voice in IRC, identica, twitter, Google+ -- the sky is the limit! Community work is as important as the code, because people create the love, create the community, create the software.

As a non-technical person, I wanted to give back to Free and Open Source software, which I've been using for about 10 years. My process was to think beyond Linuxchix, which had been my homebase for those 10 years. I thought about my favorite application, which is Amarok. I looked around in the documentation, to see how I could help out. I noticed that the user documentation was outdated and not well-maintained. So after reading the mail list for a few months, I got my courage up, and asked about helping on the list. I was immediately greeted, and asked to join the IRC channel to talk about my ideas. Once I connected to Freenode and set up my identity there, I was made most welcome in #amarok, which made me feel wonderful, and more confident that I could contribute. It ended up that I headed up the Documentation team, and have been writing and editing the newsletter as well as the Userbase documentation. Through this process, I worked with the KDE WWW team, and learned more about how both Kubuntu and KDE work. Basically, I became part of the community team, even before joining the Community Working Group.

In Kubuntu, I haven't done as much as I would like, but I plan to get more active in the documentation team; editing if nothing else. The Kubuntu Council granted me membership, which is also Ubuntu Membership, based on my work with the LoCo, my help in #kubuntu, and work with the Ubuntu-Women. And Canonical sponsored a trip to Orlando, Florida to Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) last year.

I'm writing this blog post from Desktop Summit in Berlin; my lodging and travel sponsored by the KDE e.V. In June, they sent me to Randa, Switzerland for a sprint. Some of the wonderful rewards for contributing. If I can do it, you can do it!