Getting Started in Free and Open Source

Fundamentals, People
Location: Ballroom A1
Average rating: ***..
(3.14, 7 ratings)

Leslie Hawthorn, my colleague in the Google Open Source Programs Office, and I co-present this talk for beginners who are interested to getting involved with free and Open Source software but don’t know where or how to start. We cover the basics of:
-why you might want to get involved
-what you can get out of participating
-more than coding is needed
-how to chose a project
-how to get started
-etiquette of lists and other communication
-dos and don’t of joining a community

The overall focus is on encouraging non-coders to get involved successfully with the project of their choice.

Photo of Cat Allman

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.

Photo of Leslie Hawthorn

Leslie Hawthorn

Red Hat

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 Oregon State School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Industrial Advisory Board and 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 and her personal website is or you can find her on (lh) and Twitter (lhawthorn).

  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Facebook
  • Gear6
  • Kaltura
  • Liferay
  • MindTouch
  • Novell, Inc.
  • Open Invention Network
  • Rackspace Cloud
  • Schooner Information Technology
  • Silicon Mechanics
  • Symbian Foundation
  • Twilio
  • WSO2
  • Yabarana Corporation

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