Inspirational book for students who are at a fresher level.

Detailed review

The book is small and you can read it in a day or two. The author has mentioned important points for a newcomer with plenty of quotations. I believe these words are good advice for students. Some guidelines are very realistic. Even I have faced them during my academic years. The book depicts the wise experience of the writer. Your confusions with FOSS will mostly be resolved after reading this book.

Following are a few of my observations:

  • Giving away email access to social networking sites
  • The importance of sending plain text emails
  • Not responding to email digest
  • Time management of project
  • Avoiding last minute changes in the code
  • Habit of daily committing the development work
  • Difference between shallow and fast vs deep and slow learning
  • Taking project decisions without informing mentors due to overconfidence
  • Selecting the programming language for your project
  • Not to fall for market trends
  • Ways of reporting a bug
  • Importance of automated build and deployment systems
  • Diverse types of documentation and their usage
  • The value of reading and writing and how to amend them
  • Benefits of going to conferences, hackathons etc.

I would like to suggest following improvements to this book. Some references are repeatedly cited, I think they can be referenced commonly without repeating them at the end of chapter. Examples of source code is not written with a different font. It is good to have syntax highlighting for keywords of programming language used. While informing students on mailing list etiquette, it will be good to guide them about mail encryption technologies (GnuPG, etc) too. As a reader, I would have preferred to have one common section of coding related guidelines rather than small section in many chapters.

Overall this book deserves “must read” if you are a student or you are an experienced professional who don’t have much exposure to FOSS. The book is “worth reading” even if you are a contributor of any project. It clearly explains the initial steps of FOSS mentorship. The book is an independent piece of work and is not specific to any FOSS project or community. The guidelines given in the book are applicable for any FOSS community or project. I congratulate Shakthi for his inspirational writing. Such efforts are required to inspire upcoming generation.

Buy Amazon.in

Proofreaders: Shakthi Kannan, Dhavan Vaidya