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I have very little programming knowledge but have plenty of design/graphic/branding/marketing/web skills (Architecture, web designing and e-commerce background). How best can I contribute to the free/open-source/GNU/Linux world? Where would be the best place to start? I'm looking for communities which make it easy for and appreciate people from my background.

Alternatively, if there are communities which don't make it easy for people with my skills but could use my contributions, I'd be interested to know.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think that a lot of these answers are good, but don't address the answer in a general fashion. Two of them lead you down the right path, asking specifically for your help. I think one of the best things you can do is find a piece of FOSS that you feel passionate about, maybe because of the problem they solve, or the group they are trying to help, and then ask if they need contributions.

Also, lots of websites of projects now have links specifically for people looking to help, and break it down into various categories such as programming, design and translation (the three biggest areas).

Just look around and talk to people who you think are doing good work or solving cool problems, and they will be more than happy to bring you on board if they need you.

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All projects need web sites and icons, you can start by contacting various projects you are interested in and seeing if/where they need help on those topics. You can also start your own project developing an open source icon suite (although you'd be better off contributing here: Tango Desktop Project).

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Not only website and icons, but I think a lot of open source projects could use some help with their UI design. –  akid Sep 19 '10 at 10:37

I think the easiest and most productive point of entry will be UI design for a community that's used to working with non-developers, such as Ubuntu (currently working hard on next month's release). Once you have some experience of working with developers, and better understanding of the “scene”, you'll be better able to appreciate who can use your skills and who you want to bring your skills to.

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I would love help over at http://betterthangrep.com/ and http://tidyp.com/

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