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Desktop project contributors, apply for Build It week!

by TheSilentNumber April 5th, 2011

We’re running an event next week: it’s a week-long involvement campaign to help users of free software desktop applications get in touch with the development process.

If you’re a contributor to a free software desktop app, and you want to grow your community, we want you to help you. We have some experience running outreach events, and you have experience building your app, so here’s the plan: email us, and together we will find a time next week for you to show prospective contributors how to build your app in event on your project’s IRC channel. We’ll work with you to help it succeed.

This event is focused on desktop software. Those programs often have many thousands of users, most of whom install the software from packages and never experienced the process of building it themselves.

There are only four spaces left, so email quickly! Sign up for our “Build it” week by following the instructions at

More information

(This is a cross-post of my personal blog post announcing the event.)

You’ll see it in virtually every free software project: lots of users would love to get involved with contributing to the project, yet they haven’t for one reason or another. It definitely isn’t due to a lack of demand for help.¬†One such barrier is that many people simply haven’t gotten through the first step of compiling the program. That’s not to say there aren’t other places where new contributors get stuck, just one that’s significant enough to require attention and provide an opportunity to bring new people into the community.

So as part of OpenHatch, I’m helping an event: five sessions to help free software projects teach potential/wannabe contributors how to compile the app and turn them into community members who feel comfortable following discussion on the project’s development lists. Soon-to-be contributors can have a dedicated time to be walked through the compile process and engage with members of the development community. Simple, but very useful!

Over one week, the target is to have five projects email their mailing lists to announce that experienced people will be on their IRC channel at a particular time, waiting to help you compile the app. If you are a member of the development team for a free software desktop app and you want more prospective contributors to join in, please email us and pick a day and time for you and others to be helping people in your project’s IRC chat room.

Sound interesting? Here’s what you do:

If you’re a free software contributor and know how to compile a program you work on, we want you to run this event within your project.

Email with one sentence or shorter answers to each of these questions:

  • Your project’s name
  • What you like about this outreach event
  • How you heard about the “Build it” week

Remember that space is limited, and we’ll get back to you to let you know if there are still slots available. We’re particularly looking for projects with plenty of users, which means a healthy pool of people to draw from.

If you want to read more, check out our wiki page about the event:

If you want to chat, I’m reachable as for StatusNet and as sarvodaya in #openhatch on Asheesh (paulproteus on IRC) is also helping organize.

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