About OpenHatch

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Where we're coming from

Free software happens through a community of people supporting, nagging, and cheering one another on. However, we believe that our community loses tons of prospective members because learning how and where you can fit in is difficult.  New people often have to overcome confusing jargon, a fear that their effort might not be welcome, and a lack of personal connection to the community. OpenHatch is an ongoing project to address these issues, through our website and in-person outreach efforts.

How to use this website

For new contributors, the OpenHatch website is an entry-point to friendly people and projects from across free software. Self-starters can browse thousands of volunteer opportunities from projects and find one that matches their interests and skills. We encourage the sense that the community is nearby through people search, the ability to find mentors within a project, and a map to help you find participants in your neighborhood. On project pages, the existing community makes personal appeals for help. You can privately learn skills related to paticipating by using the training missions. (Read more about how new contributors can make use of the site.) Projects can use the OpenHatch website as a set of resources for making open source comprehensible to a newcomer. You can send new contributors to our training missions to speed up the tutoring process. The Q&A on each project's page explains to people where they can fit in. Projects can list their bite-sized bugs in the volunteer opportunity finder. Your project's ability to get utility out the OpenHatch site scales up as you put in more effort. (Read more about how current participants can use OpenHatch.) You can also use the OpenHatch website as a place to build a profile of your presence in the community. As free software contributors, our identities are scattered across commit histories, email lists, and IRC channels; your profile on OpenHatch can help people understand who you are in the community. We automatically import some types of contributions, and encourage you to round out the picture with the rest. (Read more about the profile importer.)

The company

OpenHatch was founded in May 2009 by three alumni of the free culture and free software movements. The company was part of startup incubator Shotput Ventures' inaugural class. Our core product is an open source software involvement engine. For developers, we provide tools to demonstrate and broaden their experience and expertise in the open source community. Our vision is to make the open source community better connected, more productive, and ultimately well rewarded for its expertise.

The team

Asheesh LaroiaAsheesh Laroia - Data seducer, co-founder Asheesh has seduced language through computing (B.A., cognitive science, and three minors, 2006; M.S.E., computer science, 2007). At the same time, he deployed hundreds of inflatable pink flamingos, wrote testimony for an Electronic Frontier Foundation lawsuit, came to love the S.C.U.M. Manifesto, and juggled fire. He has volunteered his technical skills for the UN in Uganda, the EFF, and Students for Free Culture, and remains active in Debian. Until recently he engineered software and scalability at Creative Commons in San Francisco.
Raphael Krut-LandauRaphael Krut-Landau - Undersecretary for Whitespace, co-founder Raphael gets his kicks from (ordered by time of discovery, ascending) the Oxford English Dictionary, the history of philosophy, and oatmeal. He is responsible for the web site's Look-'N-Feel.
John StumpoJohn Stumpo - Mission Commander John is a rising sophomore computer engineering student at Johns Hopkins University. He is a sysadmin for the Johns Hopkins chapter of the ACM. He has worked on a variety of open source projects over the past few years, from rhythm games to kernel modules that act as bootloaders. With Asheesh, he proposed a new email header. Throughout the summer, John will primarily be working on OpenHatch's training missions for his Google Summer of Code project.

Alumni

Parker PhinneyParker Phinney - Code Monkey Parker is an undergraduate student at Dartmouth College, majoring somewhere at the intersection of computer science and the digital humanities. His proudest work involves promoting freedom and openness through computing tools. This pursuit led him to intern at Creative Commons in the Summer of 2009. A long-time member of Students for Free Culture, he leads its web team and founded its Dartmouth chapter. Besides freedom and code, Parker also likes frisbee, thrift stores, and hummus. You can check out his writing, photography, and other goodies at madebyparker.com.
Karen RustadKaren Rustad - Director of business development, research, and art Karen graduated in 2008 from Scripps College with a B.A. in Media Studies. She served on the board of Students for Free Culture from 2005 to 2008 and helped organize a number of campaigns related to free/open source software there. She has also worked on viral media and outreach for library advocate SPARC. Karen enjoys meteorology, indie rock, and berrypicking excursions.
Nelson PavloskyNelson Pavlosky - Co-founder Nelson met the other co-founders of OpenHatch through the organization that he co-founded in 2004, Students for Free Culture. He has been a tireless advocate for free speech, free software, and the freedom to set off fireworks without the cops bothering you. He is also one half of the songwriting duo behind Wrong Side of Dawn, and is inseparable from his green acoustic guitar, Kermit. He graduated in 2007 from Swarthmore College with a BA in Philosophy, and is currently on hiatus from law school at George Mason University in Arlington, VA.
The photo of Asheesh is by keenduck, CC by-sa.