29 Ways to Get Started in Open Source Today

by Andy Lester

Tuesday May 8th 2012 at 7:00pm
Wheaton, Illinois Institute of Technology - Rice Campus, Room 103


We all love open source software, but to many it seems you have to be a rock star programmer to contribute to your favorite projects. In reality, most projects are easy to join, if you know where to look.

In this presentation, I'll deal with the common questions and problems of those looking to help out on projects:

* "I wouldn't know where to start!"

* "What's a good project to start on?"

* "How good a programmer do I have to be?"

* "I'm just a nobody, they won't be able to use me."

* "They probably have enough people already."

You'll learn about different ways people of all experience levels can pitch in. From coding and documentation to devops and project management to publicity and community, there's a place for everyone in the open source ecosystem.

If you've never had the joy of improving the software you use every day, seeing your work published for the world to see and use, this is the presentation for you.

Once we have finished, we will adjourn to nearby Cozymel's Mexican restaurant for food and drinks.


Andy has been involved with Perl for over a decade. He writes the Perl blog Perlbuzz (, maintains two dozen CPAN modules, and speaks regularly at software conferences and user groups. His book "Land The Tech Job You Love" ( has been published by Pragmatic Bookshelf.

Getting to the meeting

The next general meeting of UniForum Chicago will be:

        IIT Rice Campus
        Room 103
        201 East Loop Road
        Wheaton, IL 60187-8489
Directions to IIT - Rice Campus in Wheaton
The 19-acre campus is located just northeast of the intersection of Naperville and Butterfield roads in south Wheaton's Danada development. The campus is three miles west of the Butterfield Road interchange of the North-South Tollway (I-355) and two miles north of the Naperville Road interchange of the East-West Tollway (I-88).

From the North or South: From I-355 (North-South Tollway), exit westbound at Rt.56/Butterfield Road and proceed west 3 1/2 miles on Butterfield Road to East Loop Road. Turn right onto East Loop Road (Phillip's 66 Gas Station on the corner); the campus will be on your right about a block north of Butterfield Road, behind Cozymel's. Park in the Student parking lot behind the building. Room 103 is the first room inside the north enterance.

From the I-294 (Tri-State Tollway), take the I-88 (East-West Tollway) westbound and follow directions "From the East or West" below.

From the East or West: From I-88 (East-West Tollway), take the Naperville Road exit. At the traffic light, turn north (right when exiting westbound, left when exiting eastbound) to Warrenville Road. After the short distance, turn right at the traffic light to get to Naperville Road and turn left (north) for 1-2 miles to Rt. 56/Butterfield Road. Turn right onto Rt. 56/Butterfield Road and proceed 1/4 mile to the first traffic light (East Loop Road). Turn left on to East Loop Road, (Phillip's 66 Gas station on the corner); the campus will be on your right about a block north of Butterfield Road, behind Cozymel's. If you arrive late, we suggest that you park and enter at the main doors at the south end of the building. IIT has started locking the other doors at 7pm, so the north doors by room 103 might be locked once we've started the meeting.

Room 103 is the first room inside the north enterance.

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