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"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Linux Site O' The Month: SourceXchange

By Sean Lamb

What's This?

This article is the the current installment in an ongoing series of site reviews for the Linux community. Each month, I will highlight a Linux-related site and tell you all about it. The intent of these articles is to let you know about sites that you might not have been to before, but they will all have to do with some aspect of Linux. Now, on with the story...

SourceXchange (

In past columns we looked at places to find information about troubleshooting your Linux installation. We looked at some language and development sites. We looked at some of the tools that you can use to put together GUI-based apps quickly and efficiently. So, now that you're an accomplished developer-hacker... Wouldn't it be nice to get paid for developing open source applications?

You bet yer sweet petootie it would be nice. After all, that new dual Athlon system was a little more than chump change for the month's allowance. This month, we look at SourceXchange.

SourceXchange is a member of the network that has been getting a bunch of press this month, especially with Sun's announcement that they'll be opening the source to Star Office (yes, I'm already on that mailing list, and I hope to be able to help out with some documentation or code), and hosting the project on servers. SourceXchange offers quite a bit to the budding and established open source developer, including peer reviews, project hosting, spec writing and the chance to get paid for your work.

We'll get to the money in a little bit, but let's take a look at what else is there first. SourceXchange's goal is to unite open source developers with projects that fit a need. If you've taken a look at some of the development boards recently, there's a growing list of developers who are looking for projects to work on. The "what should I do now?" question seems to be popping up more often.

With this site, the developer doesn't have to spend the time and energy to work up a challenging project, hop over to the RFP (Request For Proposal) section and see if any of the unbid projects are of interest. As this article was being written there were RFPs for accessing image manipulation utilities, developing a message board in PHP, and a few different RFPs for BXXP support in various utilities. Each RFP includes what the contractor is looking for in terms of skills and deliverables and how much the contractor is willing to pay, both in cash and materials. If one of the RFPs strikes your fancy, you can comment on it and express interest in offering your services to the project.

If you want to help out but don't want to work on the code itself, SourceXchange also offers Peer Reviewer positions. The Peer Reviewer is just that, a peer reviewer; this is someone who will help the developer and guide and review the progress toward the goal, acting as a third-party mediator to ensure that the project is both completed and done well.

Once all the players are selected, and the teams are finalized, the work can begin. SourceXchange provides a convenient place to post the status of the deliverables as well as the developer and reviewer information, project location and mailing list information and other pertinent details about the project. Developers are free to use whatever tools and hosting methods they need, according to the terms that have been decided between them and the project sponsors.

When the projects are complete, SourceXchange ensures that the developers recieve the peer review that is necessary to provide complete, accurate and robust code, as well as the compensation that they were promised from the project sponsors.

You can view the RFPs and project invormation without registering, but to really get the most out of this site, you do have to sign up and work. If you want to be a part of a growing interest in open source development by big business, you owe it to yourself to register as a developer and get on one of these projects. These projects may be substantially more than the Hello World applets that we all know and love, but the compensation offered is nothing to sneeze at either.

Copyright © 2000, Sean Lamb
Published in Issue 56 of Linux Gazette, August 2000

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