AutoWikiBrowser is a Windows application written in C# and licensed under the GPL. It allows users of Wikipedia and other MediaWiki installations. On English Wikipedia, it is used by more experienced editors to do semi-automated cleanup and maintenance.
It’s very useful but a bit hacky. There’s lots of feature requests: if you are a Windows programmer and know C# and Visual Studio, it’d be great if you could hack on some of the many feature requests.
Wikipedia’s sign up procedure is pretty complicated. Go to Facebook’s homepage and the signup procedure is exceptionally simple. The amount of text on the Wikipedia sign-up form is about 10 times higher than that on Facebook. Wikipedia’s sign up form has all sorts of scary warnings about policy and so on.
The Account Creation Improvement Project is something Wikimedia are trying to do about this: by doing surveys of why people sign up and trying to find ways to simplify, streamline and make a lot easier the process of signing up for a user account. Why bother? Well, you need a user account on Wikipedia in order to create new articles, to move pages and to not be pestered by CAPTCHAs. If you don’t have an account, you cannot edit semi-protected articles or articles that are part of the Pending Changes trial. Plus it’s harder to collaborate with people.
If you are a designer, a developer, copywriter, or a user experience expert, your help would be appreciated. In addition, the project will need to deal with making sure any solution is standards-based, accessible and translatable into other language editions of Wikipedia. Whatever your skills, there’s something to work on here.
Darwin is the underlying kernel and key components of Mac OS. It’s FreeBSD based and open source. PureDarwin is attempting to make an independent distribution of Darwin. They need testers and people to get involved.
Have some free time? There’s a whole stack of free and quite interesting content that could be transcribed from video: the videos from the annual Wikimania conference.
Basically just do the Wikimedians an act of kindness and transcribe one of their videos. Go to the Wikimania homepage, choose a session and write down everything the speaker says, then post it on the session page.
A new, open source programmer’s text editor for Mac OS X. The code is online on GitHub, so if you know Objective C and Xcode (or want to learn!) you might want to download the code and start hacking with it.
Or if, you know, you are fed up waiting for TextMate 2…
Git# needs C#/.NET developers. It is a Git implementation on .NET much like JGit is for Java and Dulwich is for Python. As it grows, it may also be possible to use it as a replacement for the C Git implementation on Windows, plus it may be possible to use this to implement Git support in Visual Studio and MonoDevelop.
Multiverse 3D (MV3D) looks like a really interesting project: it is a sort of distributed Second Life type system. By their own admission, it is very ambitious. The idea is anyone can run their own MV3D server and then link them together to produce a distributed virtual world. It’s all written in Python and it looks like they are trying to do a lot of testing of what they are doing. This could be a really fun way of getting involved in anything from 3D graphics programming to helping implement a network stack.
Do you know about accessibility? The GNOME project and other free desktop environments like KDE and Xfce need help being made more accessible for disabled people, blind people and people who have physical issues that prevent them from using a computer in the standard way.
If you work on making open source operating systems and desktop environments more suitable for people with accessibility issues, you are helping them in a direct way: if a disabled person can use open source software, it reduces the cost of technology for them and this software can be modified to fit specific disabilities and issues.
Time for the first real post on Lend Me Your Skills! (Blame Tumblr being down for it not getting started quicker.)
XML - Managing Data Exchange is a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike book written on Wikibooks, the free textbook sister site of Wikipedia. It is a featured book on the site and covers a wide range of XML technologies including namespaces, DTDs, XPath, XQuery, XSLT and schema formats, and also various XML formats including XHTML, SVG, VoiceXML, DocBook, RSS, RDF (RDF/XML that is), KML and XMLRPC.
If you know about XML or any of these technologies in particular, you might want to review the documentation and edit it, or just post comments with suggestions.
If you can speak another language, you might want to help translate it into that language. There’s a developing French version. And Wikibooks have also setup an Italian version, Russian version and Chinese version, although there doesn’t seem to be much there so if you can speak those languages, you can definitely help.
We’ll be featuring more Wikibooks on programming and other technologies soon. There’s plenty to get involved with.
It’s finally time for me to do something about this. It’s been buzzing around in my head for a while. So, damn it, I’m going to get it out of my head and onto the web.
There are plenty of people who have great ideas or who start projects and who need programmers, hackers or volunteers to help out. And not just programmers: designers, system administrators, illustrators, photographers, translators and a whole range of creative people.
Those great ideas might be open source projects, open community projects, collaborative knowledge projects and other stuff like that.
And there are plenty of people who want to help.
Lend Me Your Skills is a sort of public matchmaking service for just that.
The idea is that said creative people can subscribe to the blog and a wide range of projects can post up things that need doing or ways you can help. Think of it like a job site but for people who just want to do neat open source things.
What sort of projects should get involved? Everything from the smallest five-minute hack you’ve just flung up on your blog to huge projects like Wikipedia or Ubuntu.
The rules are simple:
It’s gotta be open source or something roughly like that. Need people to write documentation under a Creative Commons license? Sure. Need people to inspect an open standard? Fine.
It’s not a commercial thing. No paid job adverts, no bounties, no commercial projects.
This is not a way to get consultants on the cheap.
Make it interesting and socially valuable.
Speak in English, not bullshit corporate marketing drone speak.
Make it easy to get involved: you must provide instructions or a link such that a person who is new to the project can jump straight in without much work.
No bureaucracy. If you require people to sign NDAs or legal bullshit, it won’t get posted.