Re: Finding an open source project

Subject: Re: Finding an open source project
From: Fox Cole <foxcole -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2009 23:27:30 -0500

On Fri, Sep 18, 2009 T S <tens00 -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> Hello! I am a technical writer who has been in the business in various
> ways
> for over 15 years. I am currently unemployed and am considering
> contributing
> my documentation skills to an open source project. Has anyone does this? If
> so, what is the best way to find a project that needs help? I did some
> googling but didn't come up with anything very useful yet. Any information
> would be greatly appreciated.
>

I second all three suggestions offered so far, with a couple of additional
notes.

OpenOffice is very high profile in the open source arena, and is among, or
might even be first, in development and testing activity, so documentation
needs are constant. It's a great place to start if you're looking for
high-impact contributions, and I personally know they're actively seeking
help with documentation.

OpenOffice and Firefox are two projects that have a well-structured
documentation team, so both offer tech writing experiences that would be
well worth your time donation.

SourceForge is unbelievably rich in open source projects (because, of
course, that's why it exists). Many of the projects here are small, by user
base standards, or very specialized. Find projects you enjoy, can believe in
and can use, and offer your services. It's important to realize, however,
that not all projects are in active development so you'll want to review the
rank. activity and latest update stats to aid your choice. Although any open
source project you put your name on can enhance your résumé, you might want
to choose projects that will expose your contributions to comparatively
large audiences. But of course, that's up to you. Maybe your contributions
can catapult a dim star to the top of the universal heap.

Floss Manuals is also a nice resource, I agree, because it offers a pipeline
into open source projects that are actively seeking documentation help.

All of the suggestions are spot-on and were my first choices to suggest.
Good luck and have a great time documenting!

Cheers!
---Fox

If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle. -- Rita Mae
Brown
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control! http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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