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Open Source for Newbies: Attracting and Retaining Talented People for Your Project

Time:13:30 - 14:15
Day:Thursday 21 January 2010
Location:Ilott Theatre (Town Hall)
Project: Google Summer of Code

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 minimize them, thus making your project most welcoming to the new contributor.

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

  • How to make your Open Source project most attractive to the uninitiated
  • Areas for contribution for non-programmers: articulating your needs to the widest audience
  • Making project communication mechanisms most effective for all audiences
  • Creating positive and useful Social interactions in Open Source projects
  • Welcoming newbies into your community and helping them be productive

Cat Allman

Cat Allman has been involved with the free and Open Source community since the mid 1980s, including stints at Mt Xinu, Sendmail, Inc, and the USENIX Association. Her outreach role in the Open Source Programs Office at Google is like slipping into a warm bath of global FOSS goodness.

Leslie Hawthorn

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 program. She also conceived 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 serves on the Advisory Board of the GNOME Foundation and the Open Source Business Resource. She also serves on the Steering Committee for the Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software Project.

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. Her personal website is or you can find her on (@lh) and Twitter (@lhawthorn).