How to get started with open source in 2020

New to open source?'s top 10 articles for newcomers will get you on the right pathway quickly in the new year.
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When launched in 2010, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said the site "is one of the ways in which Red Hat gives something back to the open source community." And that community has always included the growing number of people who are new to open source.

In 2019, we published many articles about the open source way of thinking, choosing hardware, the contribution process, and other topics geared toward newbies. If you're new to open source, this list of's top 10 articles from 2019 about getting started with open source should put you on the right path.

Why I made the switch from Mac to Linux

Have you ever considered trying out Linux but were not sure how to start? You are not alone! Trying something new is usually a little scary and involves a learning curve. In Why I made the switch from Mac to Linux, Matthew Broberg shares his story about adopting Linux and how his initial nervousness was transformed into an awesome feeling of accomplishment.

Getting started with Git: Terminology 101

Although there are many ways to contribute to open source (including writing about it, like I'm doing here), the most notable contributions come from the developers who provide source code to projects. They usually make their source code contributions to GitHub and GitLab repositories using the Git tool. Matthew Broberg's guide to Getting started with Git: Terminology 101 explains how to get started with Git so you can make your first commit to your favorite open source project.

Buying a Linux-ready laptop

Most people who want to try Linux are already familiar with Microsoft Windows or Apple MacOS, and they may know they can install Linux on their existing computer, for example, by using a virtual machine, partitioning their drive to install Linux alongside Windows or Mac, reformatting their drive to erase their old operating system and install Linux, or putting Linux on a second drive. But many may not know they can buy a Linux-by-default laptop from companies like System76, Slimbook, and Tuxedo. In Buying a Linux-ready laptop, Richardo Berlasso shares his experience of ordering, receiving, and using a Linux-ready Tuxedo laptop.

Getting started with Vim: The basics

Vim is an improved version of the vi text editor. It's is available by default on most Linux operating systems and competes with Emacs, another popular Linux text editor. Knowing how to use Vim can give you an edge in creating, modifying, and managing text-based files, whether they are programming files or simple words on a screen. In Getting started with Vim: The basics, I walk through how to start learning Vim to simplify your open source journey.

How to create a pull request in GitHub

Pull request, often shortened to PR, is a Git term that means something is available to be merged into another branch. Pull requests are an essential part of the open source contribution process: to contribute to an open source project, people fork or clone a branch to work on it, and the PR process is how they later merge their work back to the parent branch. How to create a pull request in GitHub by Kedar Vijay Kulkarni will give you a good foundation of knowledge to make your first pull request.

Bash vs. Python: Which language should you use?

Of the many programming languages out there, Python is definitely one of the hottest, driven mostly by the growth of data science. But for automation engineers, Bash always has been the primary script language to get the job done. So, what can Python do that Bash cannot? What are some Bash tasks that Python can't replace? Learn the differences by reading Bash vs. Python: Which language should you use? by Archit Modi.

How to use Ansible to document procedures

Ansible is a very popular and powerful infrastructure-as-code tool. Many enterprises rely on it to automate tasks in their cloud platforms. Among the countless things Ansible can do, one of the least obvious is the one Marco Bravo explains: How to use Ansible to document procedures.

A dozen ways to learn Python

Learning a programming language is always a daunting task. But Python has a number of features that make the learning process easy. Contributor Don Watkins offers A dozen ways to learn Python to take some of the stress out of the journey from getting started to becoming a Python expert.

What's the best Linux distribution for beginners?

Everyone has probably heard of Android, the most widely used Linux-based mobile operating system. And many have heard of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Ubuntu. Picking a Linux operating system can be difficult, but Lauren Pritchett's poll What's the best Linux distribution for beginners? might help you pick the right one based on the community's input. By the way, while you're there, make sure to vote for your favorite Linux distro.

My first contribution to open source: Impostor Syndrome

Contributing to open source can change your life in positive ways, but you can't ignore the technical challenges around it. Have you ever heard someone say, "Hey, starting with open source is a piece of cake? Everyone can do it!" Probably not, since it's not exactly true. Galen Corey shares some of the challenges he confronted in My first contribution to open source: Impostor Syndrome.

What else do you need to get started?

There are a lot of topics related to getting started with open source, which also means there are a lot of opportunities for to give back to new users by publishing articles to help them. Do you have ideas for other articles we should cover in 2020? Please share your suggestions in the comments, or even consider writing an article about your own open source journey.

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Bryant Jimin Son is an Octocat, which not official title but likes to be called that way, at GitHub, a company widely known for hosting most open source projects in the world. At work, he is exploring different git technology, GitHub Actions, GitHub security, etc. Previously, he was a Senior Consultant at Red Hat, a technology company known for its Linux server and opensource contributions.

1 Comment

Nice compilation!

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