Leslie Hawthorn, Cat Allman
Getting Started in Open Source: An Overview for Newbies
Google Inc

Leslie Hawthorn is a Program Manager for Google's Open Source Programs Office, where she's the Community Manager for the Google Summer of Code community. She recently conceived, launched and managed the Google Highly Open Participation Contest, the world's first global initiative to get pre-university students involved in all aspects of Open Source software development. Leslie has also organized more than 100 open source conferences and hackathons, most held at Google's Corporate Headquarters in Mountain View, California, USA. When not wrangling FOSS developers, she's usually speaking about Open Source, FOSS in education, and community building or writing for the Google Open Source Blog. Prior to joining Google, Leslie got her feet wet in Silicon Valley high tech at a small communications semiconductor startup, where she worked in Marketing and Public Relations. She holds a Honors B.A. in English Language and Literature from U.C. Berkeley and her personal website is http://www.hawthornlandings.org.

Cat Allman is also a Program Manager for Google's Open Source Programs Office, working primarily on events that support the Open Source comunity at large. From her first experience with Decus in the 1980s while working for Mt Xinu, and later at Sendmail, Inc, the USENIX Association, and Google, Cat has loved bring together geeks to talk tech and get things done as cheaply as makes sense. She has also done time as a Systems Administrator, IT Manager, and in marketing and sales. Together, Cat and Leslie have years of experience with the social side of Open Source and collective knowledge of the people mechanics of dozens of Open Source projects.


As adoption of Open Source code and development practices continues to gain momentum, more newcomers have become interested in getting involved and contributing to Open Source. However, getting started contributing to an Open Source project is not as easy as those of us who are already here might imagine. This talk will examine some of these barriers to entry for newbies and how to overcome them. Do you want to get involved with Open Source and don't know where to start or would you like to help ease the way for newcomers to your project?

This session will give you an overview of where and how to dive in, including:

* How to choose an Open Source project

* Areas for contribution for non-programmers

* Understanding and effectively articulating what you can offer to your chosen community

* Project communication mechanisms and how to best make use of them when starting out

* Social interaction in Open Source projects

* Welcoming newbies into your community and helping them be productive