Anyone can help Haiku. If you love what Haiku is all about, you can get involved. It's up to you what you want to do and how much time you contribute. If you are interested, send an e-mail to contact (at) haiku-os [dot/point] org or sign up for the Haiku mailing list. People wanting to specifically write code for Haiku can go here for more information. Read more below for specifics.
How can People Help?
Andrew Jackson once said, “One man with courage makes majority.” In other words, a sufficiently motivated person can make a marked difference in the state of things. This is how the whole project began and how it continues.
- Financial Donations - People can donate money. This kind of contribution helps Haiku pay for operations and other goods such as hardware for developers. U.S. residents get a tax deduction for this.
- Hardware - Spare parts, in good shape, can be a help when someone wants to donate without having much in their wallet. Working hardware components are necessary to write drivers. Sometimes Haiku developers need replacement components for a development machine. Sending an e-mail to the Haiku mailing list, or posting a message in the forums are two good ways to let the community know you have something to donate.
- Time - A person’s time has the potential to be just as valuable as a financial donation. Reliable, hardworking people who have time to contribute are in short supply on the Haiku project.
- Connections – Who you know can be just as valuable as money in the bank or even more so. In some cases, Haiku may have a need that you can fill because of someone you know.
- Create Awareness – Haiku is at the stage where it is growing rapidly and creating awareness is the best way to entice new people to get involved and contribute to the project. This can be as simple as just spreading the word or as involved as helping out at an event.
- Cash Donations – Just like individuals, businesses can donate financially. Businesses registered in the U.S. get tax breaks for this.
- Other Donations – Depending on the industry, it’s possible that a business can provide other donations, such as hardware, software, or even services. In such cases, contacting someone on the Haiku project is an excellent way to start the process.
- Hardware Specs – Hardware companies can help Haiku by providing hardware and/or specs to developers so that their hardware is supported by the operating system.
- Volunteers – Employee time spent working on Haiku is a donation of services and is a very direct way of helping the project, not to mention a great way to create a positive image in an emerging community and as an advocate of the open source philosophy.
- Hosting – There is always a need for hosting files or other services, even if it’s something as simple as mirroring large files or providing torrent hosting.
- Discounts – Discounts on products or services to Haiku members or the project as a whole is a cost-effective way for businesses to help Haiku. This could be anything from something completely free or as simple as a 10% discount. Everyone wins this way.
- Marketing – Open source software can provide a viable alternative to businesses who wish to distance themselves from proprietary software and who would like to be involved in the development of their platform of choice. Haiku can benefit greatly from adoption and awareness in the business world. Helping us spread the word and promoting Haiku to businesses is a great way to get involved.
Haiku's Manpower Needs
Your skills, your interests, and the amount of time you wish to contribute all play a part in determining how you can best help the Haiku project. Below are examples of many of the project's needs and how an individual person can help.
Keeping the books is not a time-intensive job, but it does require some specialized knowledge, namely, accounting. Someone who wanted to help Haiku with the books would need to keep records and prepare an annual report. It’s not a big job, but it would be a great help because it is a specialized job.
Legal expertise is a great opportunity for someone to be a sizable help for Haiku without having to do much. On occasion, there are legal questions which are best answered by someone in the profession. For example, earlier this year there was discussion about handling the Haiku trademark. While the majority of the need is for U.S. law, having legal counsel for other countries would be quite helpful, particularly in Western Europe.
A person with experience in graphic design has potential to be a very great help in ensuring that Haiku looks good and presents itself well to the public. The actual need for a graphic artist is only occasional, such as new graphics for the Haiku website or T-shirt designs. Designs for the Haiku store at CafePress are always welcome. While many people can draw or do a passable job, there is a noticeable difference in quality when compared to a professional.
New marketing material is always in short supply. One of the biggest challenges is to maintain a professional and serious image that is appealing to the general public and business community. The project can always use new and improved signs, posters, business cards or advertisements.
The reason why most people don't read software manuals is because they stink. Haiku needs people with good English skills who can write reference material for people who don't know much about Haiku. This includes both basic usage and tips and tricks. This can involve significant amounts of time or just a few hours here and there.
While we are all about Haiku as an operating system, the website itself is a entirely different beast in comparison. The website is currently maintained by a small group of people, and we can always use some help. If you would like to give us a hand editing content, managing spam, and other website related chores, contact us on the [haiku-web] mailing list. Some familiarity with content management systems would be a plus.
Forum Moderator / Forum Support
The forums on the main site are one of the first stops for people wanting to submit ideas and to ask for help about various Haiku-related problems. This does not necessarily involve lots of time, but people with skills and a desire to help others are desirable in this line of work.
Haiku cannot be a stable platform without people trying to find bugs in it and telling the developers. Testing is a very important job. Luckily, testers do not need specialized skills, such as the ability to write code, but they do come in handy. All that is needed is sufficient familiarity with computers to be able to install Haiku. The job merely entails seeing what works and what doesn’t under Haiku, particularly with existing BeOS applications. Once again, as a tester, you can devote as much or as little time as you desire.
Last, but certainly not least, developers are the driving force behind Haiku, and without them, we would not be where we are today. Conversely, this job can have the largest time investment. Even so, it’s hard to put into words the pleasure of seeing something you’ve built help many other people. Coders for Haiku need to know C++ and a willingness to learn the BeOS API if they don’t already know it.