What would it take to be mentored here?

Jonathan Curtis latiligence at gmail.com
Tue Jun 17 09:56:31 UTC 2008


I was intrigued by this statement on the FreeBSD News Flash page: "The
FreeBSD Project is always willing to help mentor students learn more
about operating system development through our normal community
mailing lists and development forums. Contributing to an open source
software project is a valuable component of a computer science
education and great preparation for a career in software development."

Presently, I'm quite unqualified to contribute to an open-source
project, but I definitely want to make this a goal.

I'm currently in my first year of studies in Computer Science and
Programming. After acquiring an Associate's Degree from a technical
school, I intend to transfer to a traditional university. I
self-learned C++ starting at about age 15 but left off for a little
while until finally starting college (later than most). My knowledge
of C++ programming is probably on the high end of intermediate (my
high school programming class was a joke, and I was able to complete
the final projects for college Introduction to Programming before even
starting the course), although I have little experience doing
practical programming work.

I was attracted to free/open-source software because of its quality
and the high technical competence of its users. I started learning
Linux, but after some research I quickly realized that FreeBSD is
probably a much technically superior operating system (although all
OSes have their use). I have a basic knowledge of Unix-like operating
systems in general. I've been learning about FreeBSD by lurking on a
few of the mailing lists, but haven't yet had the courage to subscribe
to the hackers list.

Since I'm still such a beginner and experienced developers probably
don't want to "mentor" the basic programming skills learned in school,
I'm not looking to contribute to a project anytime soon. (For example,
I saw Gabor Kovesdan's student project posted to the wip-status list.
I'm familiar with regular expressions, but I can safely say that I
have no idea how I would implement even a basic grep program.) But
since I enjoy computers both as a hobby and an intended profession, my
goal is to be eventually skilled enough to make valuable contributions
to the free software community. I'm intelligent, a good learner, and I
certainly won't limit my knowledge to what they teach in school.

I would like to know what specific skill sets the developers here want
to see in a student to be mentored, as well as some more specific
examples of the kind of work performed by mentored students, in order
to have more crystallized goals towards which to focus my effort and

Thanks a lot,

Jonathan Curtis

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list