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Contributing to Open Source for Non-Developers? by Michael Boelen

Hello Folks,

today we would like to share with this small call to contribution to the open source project. Michael published it on LinkedIn Pulse, so maybe some of you have already seen it.

We will have a great interview with Michael in the upcoming issue. Looking forward?


Contributions Matter

As an open source developer, I really enjoy giving to the community. Sharing my posts on Linux Audit, do presentations, or working on our security auditing toolfor Linux/UNIX systems. Surprisingly, when I give more to the community, more good seems to get returned.

One of the small projects this year was helping students to understand the basics of Linux system hardening. They gave me feedback, which many of the normal Lynis users never gave. Then I created many blog posts to cover security, from different point of views. It resulted in a lot of new readers and great feedback. When proactively connecting with people on LinkedIn, I received actually some new offers to work together or share ideas. I’m truly amazed about this thing of giving. It is definitely working and 2016 will be the year of “more giving”!

Is There Room For Asking?

One thing I never was a fan of is asking for things. Probably giving is more my thing. At the same time, I learned you can’t always give. Sometimes you have to ask. This can be asking for a sale, or a favor, or someone to take his/her responsibility. I now start to believe there is actually some room for asking. The reason for this post is actually about the fine line between asking and giving, and it is related to open source. Let me explain…

Open Source Contributions

This year I spoke to many people about Linux security and open source. What surprised me, is that a lot of people want to contribute to open source projects, but can’t. Well, they can, but simply think they don’t have to offer anything special. Because they can’t do any development. So then I will tell them that they can help with documentation, provide feedback, or improve the design of the project.  It is till recently that I came up with a very simple thing you always can do: promotion. So even if you think you can’t help an open source project in any way, you can still promote it. Tell your friends, share it on forums, or vote for them.

I Have To Ask…

The idea listed above came from a website I really like: ToolsWatch. They collect open source security tools, and Lynis is listed there as well. When a new release is available, they help to promote it within the field of information security. Very valuable for open source projects like ours. Open source projects may be free (in price, in speech, etc), but still need different forms of promotion to reach a bigger audience. The power is definitely in numbers.

Now ToolsWatch is having a “best security tool of 2015” contest. This is your chance to help, within less than one minute. Here is how you contribute to an open source project you like:

Let me thank you for contribution to our open source project. I’m sure every single new user, which found the project due to this contest, will be thankful as well.

Giving feels good, right?

Source: LinkedIn Pulse



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