Third one's a little more in-depth:

3. What free software communities would you recommend joining if you're brand new to contributing, and why?

@brandon Are there any? Too much divisiveness and infighting in all of the ones I am aware of. I prefer practicality to extremism, so I do not fit well in any of them. Though, perhaps the BSD communities are the most accepting from a personal standpoint.

@SuperFloppies I think it's because of the difference in license ideologies.

I'd say that GPL is more dictatorial than the BSD license

@brandon join a mailing list for your favorite distro, hop on forums, maybe browse Reddit, and be friendly and helpful to people asking questions

@matt Hmm, I'd refrain from /r/linux myself ;) At least for now :3

@brandon true dat, but /r/Debian, /r/Ubuntu, etc., should still be fairly sane.

@matt Fair enough, the debian folks often tend to be more level-headed

Especially since they're pretty much the longest standing Linux distro



KDE is a super community including a very nice way to document the little stuff. Great for being an involved user when not a code slinger.



If you want to be a free sofware "insider" get involved with the FSF itself. It is the home of what free software means. Get to the LibrePlanet conference and enjoy yourself.

@Algot I'm terrified of getting INTO the FSF tbh :P Mostly because of Stallman. But I take it that most never actually interact with him, right?


I have seen him, maybe said hello, but there are a whole bunch of great people who present at the conference and talk in the halls.

And, you can always be like me, a member who supports and lurks since I don't code.


When I taught school, I made a grade calculation program in BASIC . It worked great but the vendor with whom I was working turned it down after a year of my effort. They didn't feel it would pay them back their $50,000 production costs.

I turned it into public domain before the FSF started. It went nowhere there either.

Now, I'm too old to have the fire to code seriously. I just fiddle and have fun.

@Algot Do you still have the code for that calculation program? Would you be interested in recoding it in another language?


I probably do. I have trouble disposing of my former work. 😁

Please understand that it was later possible for me to redo the same features using a spreadsheet.

All successful grade calculation programs now MUST integrate within a broader learning management system and be web based so the school/district can easily do the grade reporting centrally.

A rework of the original code would be a mere shadow of what's needed today.

@Algot I get what you mean. A lot of schools today have an online system for students to access their grades, starting from higher education moving downwards rolling out slowly :P


Brandon, thanks, again, for the conversation. I'm shutting down for the day to go watch Red Sox baseball to see if they can actually set a new franchise record for wins in a season.

Go ahead and ask more questions, but expect answers in my tomorrow.

@Algot Algot, it's been a pleasure conversing with you! You've got a lot going on and you're quite the character :) I'm glad you joined in on the series today :3


Honestly, I'm not bitter. I loved teaching, enjoyed it for 36 years. I'm not sure coding would have been as satisfying and I really don't think I would have been good at the "business" side of things, whether it was GPL or proprietary.

Nah...I wouldn't go for proprietary these days.


As it is, if you consider it coding, I am having lots of fun doing #3dprinting with OpenSCAD.

The code for all my published creations is GPL licensed.

If you care to look, check the website link at the top of my Mastodon profile.

Thanks for the interaction.

@Algot wow that's a lot of stuff you've got there on your site!

and the 3d printing stuff there is quality! I'm surprised you didn't say you use blender for that

@brandon 3. Ubuntu, because they have lots of documentation for how things work, including the contribution process. They also have many people willing to assist.

@wasbeer Funny how one of the most beginner friendly distros has a beginner friendly community :3

@brandon I can't really say that I've come across many "beginner unfriendly" communities. The community just have it their stuff better documented 😜

@brandon Forums, if your into some common interaction.
For non-devs and non-native English speakers I totally recommend l10n/i18n teams. There is the place where you get in touch with alike people and have a very low barrier for "giving back".

I started around 2009 and still am actively translating lots of stuff to German: Xfce, Gnome, openSUSE and many other small tools.

@vinzv why openSUSE as opposed to other distros? Is it because of your location?

@brandon No, not at all. I kept away from openSUSE for a very long time but with the recent path they went (Leap and the going on par with SLES) I gave it another chance and kept it.


These days it is less necessary to join the forum community for your distro or the app you use than it used to be although, this is often a good idea as it represents a good way to be able to feedback to the projects you use, although there are some toxic communities out these that are best avoided.

I would suggest joining a good Linux or OpenSource centric fediverse instance also
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