Getting things done in Flightgear

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I'm trying to become a regular contributor to the flightgear code base.

I'm working on getting a working development environment, actual c++ practice beyond a c++ class taken 25 years ago, and the ability to identify causes for specific flightgear issues. Easy? Not! Wish me luck!

For larger projects, there's a process to how things get done. I'm writing about that here. This material is part of an e-mail message on Flightgear-devel.

I think there are not committees, just small informal ad-hoc working groups addressing a single issue. The flightgear community as a whole is niether a working group or a committee.

Things get done when one or a few people take action. The people involved have to have among them:

- the desire to do something specific
- the ability to describe an achievable aim
- the knowledge of how to get it done without disrupting the community
- the time to do it
- the will to get it done
- the authority to integrate it with flightgear

If you want to get something going, you don't have to wait for the authority to accept something into flightgear yourself. Present what you have as something specific that you yourself are willing and able to do and complete. Make sure it's something to move flightgear forward. It should not be disruptive to other flightgear development activities.

Prepare for a cycle of discussion. If it goes on too long, you'll need to step back and rethink things.

Don't be afraid of rejection, criticism or suggestions, even if the wording is less than perfectly polite. You'll see that sometimes. Ignore the tone, look for substance. If there are any slights, don't point them out. Don't ask for or expect apologies or changes in personality. It's a waste of time all around.

Don't ever think you have all the answers. Study. Read Code. Research your technical questions before asking the flightgear devel community. But do ask for help and advice as needed.

That's what I'll be trying in a couple of areas. We'll all see how it goes.