Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Top Ten Why Nots

We've had quite a few firsts and successes in the past ten months, but our biggest failure continues to be the lack of contributions from users and educators: while quite a few people are using our material, only one person has (so far) volunteered to create material for us. If that doesn't change, Software Carpentry will stagnate as soon as I have to move on to other things (which, given my lack of success in raising another round of funding, will probably happen this spring).

Coincidentally, Wynn Netherland recently posted a list titled "Top ten reasons why I won't use your open source project". It's not about contributing per se—I'll have to go back to Karl Fogel's excellent Producing Open Source Software to start figuring that out—but it's still worth going through.

  1. You don't have a README. We have an explanation of who this course is for and what it's about, but nothing that explains how to contribute.
  2. You don't include tests, specs, features, examples. Doesn't really apply.
  3. You have no project home page. We do.
  4. You need design help. I think we look OK.
  5. You don't have a domain name. We do.
  6. You don't have a Twitter account. We do.
  7. Your licensing is unclear. Our license is very clear and easy to find.
  8. You don't reach out to me. I think we pass this test.
  9. You don't speak about your project at conferences at meetups. We could do more; the question is where?
  10. You didn't submit it to the Changelog, which apparently is this week's hot "what's on in open source" blog. *shrug*

All in all, #1 seems like the only major gap. If we fixed this—if we wrote a "how to contribute" guide—how many of you would be interested in creating short screencasts for us? It would help your peers, and look shiny on your CV too...

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