Pre-requisites: IRC client installed. Web browser installed.
Learning objectives: Know about the common real-time-ish communication tools used by projects (IRC, mailing lists (including Google Groups)). Be able to join IRC channels. Have a sense of etiquette on IRC channels and mailing lists. Be able to read mailing list threads and find answers embedded in them. Understand that idling is a good thing, especially when waiting for an answer. Understand how to search pipermail/mailman archives. Understand that most projects have a -users and -devel separation in mailing lists, and know when to use each one. Understand how to find answers to e.g. Ubuntu programs via Googling and finding them on e.g. a StackExchange-type site. Learn about Linux Users Groups and any existing ones in the community.
(Generally, be able to ask questions the smart way.)
- Start by showing a program that doesn't do what you need. Overall idea: where are the humans on the planet who can help?
- What are mailing lists like?
- Share a story of getting serious help on a mailing list (e.g. reiserfs+lkml in 2001-ish, or Dovecot, or something else)
- The list is often just the actual developer
- but that person's presence is actually somewhat remarkable
- Show mailman and Google Groups archives
- Share a story of excellent humor on a list
- Explain digest mode
- Show an example of inline replies
- Show some mailing list spam, and then explain that you must generally join to post
- 5 min digression: Debian's OpenSSL patch, or "How this can all go horribly wrong"
- What happens on IRC?
- Sometimes fast-moving...
- (animated GIF of unreasonably fast channel)
- User questions
- Developer discussions
- Sometimes slow-moving...
- screenshot of super slow moving thing
- Explain existence of separate networks
- Sometimes fast-moving...
- 5 min: How you can help yourself
- Googling the problem
- Searching bug trackers for the issue, and discovering workarounds
- Showing up on IRC and just listening
- 5 min: General help communities
- Local groups! (LUGs, computer clubs, etc.)
- Show an example of people in other countries posting to San Francisco groups
- The Gentoo and Arch Linux wiki (even though they're supposedly specific)
- Stack Overflow, and how it influenced Debian and Ubuntu's "ask" community
- Cultural example: Debian's emphasis on email for development over IRC
- Students, with their IRC clients that they set up during Laptop Setup, join the same channel
- Students read an email sent to a public list, where someone asked for help, and discuss its quality with the student sitting next to them
- Find the website of a local linux users group (e.g. Philadelphia's PLUG) and join the IRC channel for it and say hello
- Showing up on IRC is success!
- We can idle in the IRC channel of the local LUG
- Student next to you discusses rankings