Getting Started Guide
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Q: How do I start contributing to OSE? How to choose a project and a role to get involved in?
A: This page is a collection of notes and something of a guide towards either starting up an OSE project or joining one.
Choosing a Project
The Open Source Ecology project (OSE) is working to develop the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS), a collection of 50 machines intended to enable the development of local, resource-based communities. There are a couple of places where you can see these projects listed.
The main page of the OSE wiki finishes with a very nice chart, organizing the GVCS tools into six practical categories: Habitat, Agriculture, Industry, Energy, Materials, and Transportation. Each tool in the chart links to the detailed wikipage dedicated to that tool's project. This is a good way to see the whole GVCS project from a 50,000 foot view.
This page describes the GVCS concept and lists the GVCS machines. This page has the official tool icons and a short description. The status on this page has more to do with completion than project status. There are a couple of nice videos after the tool list and an interesting essay on enabling technology from an OSE perspective. At the very bottom is a description of the development process and working assumptions.
While the GVCS machines are the main projects, there are other, much smaller efforts that should be considered as well. Projects like the Open Source Stepper Motor Controller are focused on developing common components needed by the GVCS machines.
Joining a Project
There are many ways to contribute or participate in OSE projects. You can contribute to the OSE Forums or you can add new pages to the wiki. Becoming a True Fan is a way to contribute financially and highly recommended.
If you want to get involved on a deeper level, you might considering becoming a member of an OSE project team. The following pages can help you figure out what projects exists and who to contact about joining them.
The Development Team page lists pretty much everyone who is formally involved in OSE projects. Besides listing the OSE core team and the board of advisers, existing project leaders are listed. Contact one of these people if you want to participate in their project. A number of other teams with common skill sets are defined which are shared by all OSE projects. If you have one of these skills, considering joining one of these teams, which is largely a matter of adding your home page to the appropriate team category.
An example is the Development Team/CAD Team. Besides the CAD team, there are teams for Technical Review, Subject Matter Experts, Prototyping and Testing, Wiki Curators, Forum Moderators, Information Technology, Documentation and Video, Academic Research, Fabrication, Language Translation, and Natural Building.
Next, have a look at the advertised project needs. The first half of this document describes general OSE project needs and the later half focuses on specific project needs. As with other OSE wiki pages, project needs may be a bit out of date. Consult with the OSE project manager for that project to determine current needs.
Finally, it would be a good idea to check the current status of the GVCS tool project you are interested in. This page is a large table with the projects down the left side and various milestones across the top. This is a good place to see how far along a particular project is.
Getting Started Guides
The following guides help you get started in different roles:
If you have experience with project management, think you might, or are just too impatient to wait, you might consider leading an OSE Project. If an OSE project doesn't exist and you want to start it up, have a look at Starting an OSE Project. Be aware that all new OSE projects need to be approved by the OSE Executive Director (Marcin). If you are tapped to be a project leader, a bunch of useful tips are available at Managing an OSE Project. Leadership doesn't have to be manager role, either. If you see something that needs doing, just jump in and give it a try. Showing initiative is also a form of leadership.