01 Introduction to Tools for Participating in Free Software

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the course on tools for participating in Free Software. This
is the first post, and is purely administrivia. You're welcome to start
asking questions about course content and so on now. If there's anything
you'd particularly like to see covered under a planned lession, please
post about it.

--- Lesson format and availability ---

Lessons will be mailing list posts to the LinuxChix courses list.
Lessons will be archived with the list mail at
http://mailman.linuxchix.org/pipermail/courses/ and will also be
available from http://www.linuxchix.org/content/courses/tools/

--- Participating ---

You participate in this course just like you'd participate in any other
mailing list thread. You can ask questions, add extra information,
express an opinion or disagree like in other discussions. The only
difference is that there will be a scheduled post to start up
discussion. Other people reading who know the answer to someone's
question are welcome to post.

Later in the course there's likely to be "homework": exercises you can
do to develop your understanding. People will be encouraged to post
solutions, so you may wish not to read the thread until you've tried the

However, there is one technical detail: PLEASE include the string
"[Tools]" in the subject of any post to the list about this course, so
that people can opt out of receiving this course if they're only reading
for another course. If you're replying, it will get included

--- License ---

At the end of the course, I'll edit and republish all the lessons and
make them available under a distribute-and-modify license, probably
Creative Commons Sharealike. Until then, you're welcome to pass around
links to http://www.linuxchix.org/content/courses/tools/

--- Lesson plan ---

As per the announcement, the posting schedule is:

Sun Sept 18: Introduction and overview

Thu Sept 22: Ways you can contribute to Free Software (code, documentation,
user help, artwork...)

Sun Sept 25: Coordination tools: bug trackers and mailing lists

Thu Sept 29: Community tools: Chat programs, blogging and conferences.

[Now we get to the meaty stuff with version control, so I'm going to
post once a week from here on.]

Thu Oct 6: an introduction to version control 1: what problem does it

Thu Oct 13: an introduction to version control 2: concepts (versions,
checking out, committing, respositories)

Thu Oct 20: introduction to our three VCSs: CVS, Subversion and Bazaar
(version 2)

Thu Oct 27: checking out, making a change, and committing it

Thu Nov 3: conflicts: what happens when your changes clash?

Thu Nov 10: setting up your own repository

[from here on, we'll be working exclusively with Bazaar 2]

Thu Nov 17: an introduction to version control 3: distributed version

Thu Nov 24: simple distributed version control with Bazaar