Open Source Ettiquette


I’ve been a big fan of FOSS (Free Open Source Software) for several years now. One of the first things I learned is that things are a lot different than the commercial world, and we all need help. The people of the FOSS community know this. The community only grows when we help each other. We all grow stronger when everyone teaches and everyone learns.

Most members of the FOSS community don’t get paid for their contributions. It isn’t anyone’s “job” to help you learn or understand how things work. It isn’t possible for the developer to answer each and every question you may have. There aren’t enough hours in the day, and it would be a poor life.

So how can you get your questions answered? How are you supposed to learn? The most important thing is to make an effort. Try something. Try a few different things. Keep trying until you can’t think of anything else to try. When you’ve exhausted every option, that’s the time to ask for help.

When you decide it’s time to ask, be sure to include all the things you’ve tried. It may not have worked for you, but it may be useful for someone else. Show that you are willing to make the effort and contribute your efforts (even if they failed) to the community. I promise it will make a big difference.

If you post here and say: “Here’s what I want to do. I’ve tried X, Y, and Z. This is what happened when I tried X, Y, and Z. Does anyone have an idea of something else to try?” it will be much more likely to get the response you’re looking for than someone who just wants all the answers handed to them. Someone who just asks “How do I do this” or “Can someone make this for me?” How can you ever provide enough for someone unwilling to put forth effort?

Food for thought…

Cheers :slight_smile: