A few weeks ago, a few people were discussing how to help people start contributing to openSUSE, especially in the GNOME context. We were thinking about dedicating a day or two for specific activities, and then we realized that of course, this is not a problem specific to the GNOME Team and that by doing something much bigger, involving the whole project, we could attract more people and help them with their first steps. This is how the Community Week idea started, and the good news is that it's now happening next week :-)

openSUSE Community Week

There will be various proposed activities, with many people being available on IRC to help first-time (or more experienced) contributors. This is organized in several tracks to make it easier for people to know what's of interest to them. I'll focus on the GNOME track which will occur in #opensuse-gnome (on freenode), but the other tracks are certainly of interest too!

The consensus in the GNOME team was that we wanted to enable people to be as active as possible. This is why we're doing all-day sessions, with a short introduction (at 8AM UTC and 4PM UTC, to cover most timezones) explaining the basic knowledge that people really need to have to participate; and then, we'll encourage people to experiment and contribute. There will be five main topics:

  • on Monday, Packaging Day: this will be a day dedicated to packaging new applications. There are some applications that are really missing in openSUSE, and we will help people package them and have them integrated in openSUSE. We start with this topic on Monday because we think it will also be an ongoing topic for the whole week, running in the background.
  • on Tuesday, Patch Tagging and Upstreaming Day: this day will be dedicated to making sure that all of the patches we have in our packages are properly documented, and when applicable to upstream, are known to upstream. We've improved quite a bit in the past year in this field, but this is still far from being the perfect situation. Of course, we will specifically welcome participation from upstream to discuss our patches!
  • on Wednesday, Wiki Day: as many teams in many projects, we're using the wiki to organize our work. But it's a mess :-) We'll try to fix this and create some future-proof guidelines/layout.
  • on Thursday, Testing Day: making openSUSE rock-solid of course requires extensive testing, and we'll do testing of various areas of the desktop. At the moment, we're specifically thinking of testing some hardware-related features (support for multiple monitors, sound, bluetooth, laptop keys, etc.), but we'll probably also look at our default configuration (and a potential new theme for 11.2).
  • on Friday, Bug Day: everybody knows what a bug day is :-) This is about triaging the bugs, and forwarding the relevant ones upstream. I'll never forget that this is what really got me deeply involved in free software.
  • on the week-end: we have no plans set in stone for the week-end, but Saturday and Sunday will both be active days. It's likely that we will continue the packaging, patch tagging and testing days there, but everybody will be welcome to come and ask questions :-)

There will definitely be a lot of action, and I'm quite excited about this. People often believe that contributing is hard, and the Community Week will be a great opportunity to show that it's really easy to help :-) So don't forget to join us next week!