Programming, Software and Code

Everybody has a cause

Everybody has their own cause, that's something I've been saying for a while now. People, in general, are willing to volunteer their time and their energy to specific causes. This is a lesson that people learn quickly on Wikibooks, because even though people are all ostensibly there to help write books, our volunteers will tackle that goal very differently. Some people write, some people edit, some organize, some protect against vandals, and some people do other tasks entirely. While it's tempting to say that having all these different jobs available reduces focus and causes unnecessary divisions in productivity, that's just not the case. If all our books were perfectly organized, the people who focus on organization would not switch over to become authors or editors. Put simply: if we had no need for organizers, they would likely all leave Wikibooks. People come to Wikibooks because they can perform the specific tasks that they are the most interested in performing. People leave when those tasks are available to be done.

I have a few personal problems that really prevent me from getting too involved in a project like Perl6, or MediaWiki, or any of the other cool open-source projects that I've grown interested in. The first, of course, is that I just don't have a lot of time to spare for these projects, so it's hard to justify getting involved in a half-assed kind of way. Once I have time, I plan to be spending more at Wikibooks anyway, so it probably won't free me up to do more coding work. Second, It's hard to jump into the middle of a big project. There is simply too much code to read through in projects like MediaWiki, Perl6, Parrot, Octave, or other similarly-sized projects. Many of these don't have accurate and prioritized lists of things that need to be done anyway, so in addition to familiarizing myself with the enormous code bases, I have to try and deduce the kinds of things that are considered "bugs" and the places where desired features are missing. I'd be willing to write documentation for projects like these, but I figure that if I'm going to be writing large amounts of documentation on these subjects, I may as well just cut to the chase and write a wikibook about it.

I would like to write books about Parrot, Perl6, and MediaWiki, and once I have more time I will likely try to get into projects like these. I am still interested in getting into Perl6/Parrot eventually, but it just isn't feasible until my thesis gets complete.

This entry was originally posted on Blogger and was automatically converted. There may be some broken links and other errors due to the conversion. Please let me know about any serious problems.