In a nutshell, create meaningful software to solve real world issues.
As far as I can tell there isn’t anything like this in Edmonton or anywhere else I checked (cursory Google search). Most “support” or “user” groups are very specific and focus on meeting up to talk about stuff, share knowledge, etc. This would be more practical, more hands on, but would cater to the same crowd(s) of social programmers. Organize a group of developers who just want to build cool things and share them with the developer/user community for free. The objectives of this team, or teams:
- Build on existing skills, learn new things
- Network with other developers
- Make software that matters and get it into the hands of people who need it
- Reviewing and contributing to other OSS projects (more info)
We have a problem with people who identify issues within a market or industry and think the best way to solve them is to start up a new company to build a product which does that for a profit (aka dirty, stinkin’ capitalists). This is an inherently selfish way to look at the world and we think we can do better. Money makes the world go ‘round, that is understood, but not everything has to be about money. This group doesn’t have to morph into just another startup, or an incubator for ideas which then go on to become startups. We are looking for like-minded individuals who are interested in coding because they genuinely enjoy it and don’t care if they get compensated for it (though there is always potential for that).
This is why open source is important, it proves you don’t always have to be thinking about how much you’re going to make off of an idea to build something awesome. Money doesn’t have to be the motivator, it’s just a bonus or a pat on the back for doing a good job. This isn’t really important to the overall function of the group, the end result would still be open source software projects, but I think this philosophy will help guide member recruitment and project selection.
Skill level isn’t important. The more students, self-taught or just learning individuals the better. These are the people who need to network and improve the most, after all.
The general idea of this group is, basically, a “distributed hackathon”. You can pitch an idea to the group, they’ll vote on it, and if enough people want to help build it it becomes a project. Management, direction and scale of the project is up to the person who pitched it, or project members who want to take on a leadership role.
Projects will be licensed ASF 2.0 (or similar), ownership really only refers to who is running the project rather than who literally owns it. Anyone, including any member of the project team or the group, is allowed to fork any project even if you want to use it to make money. Again, the philosophy defined above only intends to provide high level guidance as far as choosing what projects members can vote on and who should join the group, it does not dictate how group projects are managed.