Giving Back to the ColdFusion CommunitySunday, March 16 2008
Lots of great stuff coming out of the recent Blue Dragon open-source announcement.
Vince has a GREAT write up on his blog - in particular point #6 which I'm going to quote because it is so good and really explains what is so important about open-source:
It's often said that most people are only interested in the "free" and not the "open" in "free open source." That is, most people only care that they're getting something they don't have to pay for and aren't interested at all in the source code. I happen to believe this is true; I've used (and still use) many open source software products for which I've never cared to look at the source code (Firefox and MySQL, to name two). That's OK; the reason "open" is important is that it guarantees that "free" means "free forever." Unlike free--but not open source--commercial products such as ColdFusion 4.0 Express or the free BlueDragon Server edition, which can be "taken away" at any time by their corporate owners, an open source license can never be rescinded. Releasing under the GPLv2 provides confidence to the user community that the free open source BlueDragon edition and all future enhancements to it will always be both "free" and "open."
Another interesting thread has come up within many of the comments - how does one contribute TO these open-source projects?
Every open-source bit of software I've used before usually has had contact information included within a readme, the author may have a blog, etc. But YOU need to be proactive. Mark Drew didn't come to be and beg me to work on the CFEclipse site.
I love CFEclipse, know nothing about Java, but still wanted to contribute something to the project. I initially started out adding bits of content to the Trac wiki. I became more involved on the mailing list. I setup the FAQ on the wiki. Recently I asked Mark if he would like some help maintaining the website (he agreed!) and I recently relaunched the 'new and improved' CFEclipse.org site. Mark Drew is too busy working on CFEclipse (and his regular 9-5 job) to hound people to help out, and I imagine that is the same case with all the other popular open-source folks in our community like Ray Camden.
So... If you have a particular project you like - get involved: Contact the author! Join the mailing list (or start one!) Ask them what they need help with! Even if you don't program there are usually lots of things like documentation, mailing list assistance, and a host of other things that you can help out with.
There is a GREAT list online: How to Contribute to Open Source Without Coding
Go get involved!