OpenStack Upstream Institute eases the stress of joining open-source projects!

It has become incredibly beneficial for companies to be involved with open source. One reason for this, according to Kendall Nelson, Upstream Developer Advocate for the OpenInfra Foundation (OpenInfra Foundation), is “because the code that you are presumably using, that’s been cloned from some open-source repository, is going to be a lot better tested than anything you probably develop in-house because that code is being used by other companies who are testing it vigorously.”

And if an organization is using open source, they should get involved with the development of that code so not only do they have a better understanding of the project that their business relies on, but also they have a say in that project. Businesses should encourage their developers to get involved with open source. However, getting involved with a project doesn’t mean devoting an army of developers to that project to write new code, There are so many ways developers can get involved with open source. Nelson says, “…triaging bugs or even reporting bugs that might be affecting other people that are also using open source software is a really good way to contribute back to the community.”

To help developers get started with Open Source, the OpenInfra Foundation runs a program called OpenStack Upstream Institute. This institute is run around the time of events and it helps developers answer questions and address issues like “Where do I start?” “I don’t know what resources to go look at,” and “I don’t know who to talk to.” The foundation has also ave developed a contributor guide that covers everything from code and documentation to fixes and how users/operators can get involved. Those behind the OpenStack Upstream Institute have also built a network of people to call upon for help when developers have questions on getting started, which Nelson highlights with, “…we’re here to help get you to the right place. If we don’t know the answer to your question, we definitely know somebody that can answer it.”

The OpenStack Upstream Institute sees interest from a lot of developers, but also project managers and other management-level people that, according to Nelson, “just want to understand how contribution works,” so they can then bring this knowledge back to their teams and educate them.

To solve the issues (such as language barriers) brought about by geographic diversity, the Upstream Institute makes all of their meetings text-based (so they’re easier to attend). On top of this, all meetings are logged, so if anyone misses a meeting, the transcripts are available for later viewing.

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