Home arrow Practices arrow Getting Help the Free Software (and Open Source) Way

Getting Help the Free Software (and Open Source) Way

What happens when the effectiveness of your favorite search engine turns against you, when it becomes almost too effective to be useful, giving you so much information that you're not sure where to start?... Well, my overworked friend, you're in luck. Today, I'll be covering the holy grail of information gathering: asking people... In the process, I will also show you some of the better locations to begin your searches and give you a few pointers in getting the most out of your queries.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. Getting Help the Free Software (and Open Source) Way
  2. What You Should Know Before You Get Started
  3. Newsgroups
  4. Mailing Lists
  5. IRC Channels
  6. Putting it All Together
By: Norbert 'Gnorb' Cartagena
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 9
October 09, 2003

print this article
SEARCH DEV SHED

TOOLS YOU CAN USE

advertisement
Here's a scenario: The boss just chose you to head a new project in line with the company's new cost cutting, Open Source initiative. He gave you this assignment because somewhere in your resume you said that you're an expert in Open Source technologies: Red Hat, PHP, Apache, Zope - you got it all. In fact, you claimed you've been using Linux since the infamous version 0.99. Of course, this must all be true, because you would never lie on a resume, would you? Anyway, so your boss made you the go-to guy when it comes to Open Source. Now, you're hard at work on your new Open Source project. You're humming along and all the pieces are falling into place. Still, somewhere along the line you run into a problem that doesn't seem to be covered in the included man or info pages. But you're not worried. After all, someone must have run into this problem before, right? Since you're dealing with Open Source software you know that all you have to do is point your web browser at your favorite search engine and begin the quest for your answer there. You're sure that some friendly people out there in Internet-land must have put up some documentation when they ran into this problem. Since you don't really know how to describe the problem or what it is, you start with a vague search and then try to narrow it down. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?

What happens when you've narrowed your search and you're still stuck looking through 100,000 or more pages worth of information for something which needed answering five minutes ago? What happens when the effectiveness of your favorite search engine turns against you, when it becomes almost too effective to be useful, giving you so much information that you're not sure where to start? Of course, the first forty websites that come up are wise enough to use SEO Chat, so their sites come up first, but they're not quite what you're looking for. Conversely, what happens when you can't find your answer anywhere, when your search yields no useful results? You've done the footwork, but nothing has come up. You're getting frustrated. Your team is getting impatient. You need those answers now!

Instead of going through all of this, do you ever wish that you knew someone, anyone, whom you could quickly tap for information on specific subjects so that you can get on your merry developing way? Well, my overworked friend, you're in luck. Today, I'll be covering the holy grail of information gathering: asking people. I'll be discussing some of the most popular methods and locations for free, live help available: Newsgroups, mailing lists, and IRC channels. In the process, I will also show you some of the better locations to begin your searches and give you a few pointers in getting the most out of your queries.

 
 
>>> More Practices Articles          >>> More By Norbert 'Gnorb' Cartagena
 

blog comments powered by Disqus
escort Bursa Bursa escort Antalya eskort
   

PRACTICES ARTICLES

- Calculating Development Project Costs
- More Techniques for Finding Things
- Finding Things
- Finishing the System`s Outlines
- The System in So Many Words
- Basic Data Types and Calculations
- What`s the Address? Pointers
- Design with ArgoUML
- Pragmatic Guidelines: Diagrams That Work
- Five-Step UML: OOAD for Short Attention Span...
- Five-Step UML: OOAD for Short Attention Span...
- Introducing UML: Object-Oriented Analysis an...
- Class and Object Diagrams
- Class Relationships
- Classes

Developer Shed Affiliates

 


Dev Shed Tutorial Topics: