This one got closed: https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/5030/freebsd-or-linux-or-something-else

But I have a sincere question here. I want to know from the pros what is better for a newbie to start working on. I want to learn/contribute.

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    I think this is offtopic. I'll check back later... you should ask on programmers. also there was a question on here somewhere about where to get started with unix, but I can't find it at the moment. Dec 21, 2010 at 13:01
  • @xeno I thought it was close-worthy the last time I closed it :). I hadn't considered off-topic, but you're probably right, this is a development question Dec 21, 2010 at 13:12
  • Closing as at least 3 out of 4 moderators think it is off-topic. Dec 21, 2010 at 13:18
  • Although many unix systems are open source, this site is not particularly about open source. You could try asking on Programmers.SE as xenoterracide suggests, and you may be interested in the open source projects proposal. But I recommend you make your question less vague: do you want to read the code? To know how the projects work? To patch an existing program? To create a new program? Is there any particular part of the system you're most interested in? etc. Dec 21, 2010 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


The book 'Producing Open Source Software - How to Run a Successful Free Software Project' from Karl Fogel is a good introduction to someone, who wants to start or join an OSS-project. The book is available on it's website - also as free download.


I think reading the following two books may be a good start.

Classical Shell Scripting(http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596005955) UNIX Programming Environment(http://www.amazon.com/Unix-Programming-Environment-Prentice-Hall-Software/dp/013937681X)

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    And if you want to dive into a actual project, you can browse sourceforge.net, code.google.com, etc., where there are many open source projects.
    – Shawn Xie
    Dec 21, 2010 at 7:08
  • Sorry but I am not sure how reading books you are suggesting is going to help. I am interested in differences in terms of opensource development methodology/ease/ethics/tools.
    – hari
    Dec 21, 2010 at 8:10
  • For methodology, I think Raymond's The Art of UNIX Programming is very good. For tools, as my experiences, I prompt Emacs for an IDE, sed,awk,m4,bash,cmake,make,git,etc. for your daily programming assistants. For ethics, I think Raymond had written some good articles and you can find out them with google.
    – Shawn Xie
    Dec 21, 2010 at 8:48

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