The Basic principles of Open-source Software

The WordPress Foundation aims to educate the public about WordPress and related open-source software (OSS). Towards that end, the WordPress Foundation created the Introduction to Open-source workshops, which shed more light on the potential of open-source software, particularly in countries where there is less participation in OSS projects. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these workshops have moved online. The WordPress Foundation hopes to see more open-source workshops held online this year to help spread awareness about the importance of open-source software.

What are open-source software and Free Software?

Open-source software is software whose source code is available for anyone to view, modify and enhance. Free software refers to software that complies with “four essential freedoms” – to use, study, modify and distribute software for any purpose without legal restraint. Open-source software is characterized by the public accessibility of its code, while free software focuses on the capabilities for using and sharing the software.

Advantages of Free and Open-source Software over Proprietary software

Proprietary software is distributed in executable files where the source code is encrypted and not available. Free and Open-source software enables users to read and modify the code, thus allowing a host of advantages such as little (or no) cost, faster distribution, greater customization, and easy availability of bugs and security patches, to name a few. 

The Introduction to Open-source workshops cover the difference between different software types, the history of open-source software, its advantages over proprietary software, and how this applies to WordPress. The workshop also explains the differences between free and Open-source software and highlights the different types of software licenses. 

Want to learn more about Free and Open-source software? Participate in an Introduction to Open-source workshop!

There are four ways you can participate in an Introduction to Open-source workshop! 

  1. You can attend the Introduction to WordPress workshop from the comfort of your home! Learn WordPress now features an Introduction to Open-source video workshop that you can watch at your convenience. 
  2. Community members can also now host or participate in Introduction to Open-source workshop discussion groups in the Learn WordPress meetup group for a global audience. Sign-ups are now open for the following two discussion groups:

If you would like to host an Introduction to Open-source discussion group for a global audience, please apply to become a discussion group facilitator. 

  1. WordPress Meetup groups worldwide are also encouraged to organize an Introduction to WordPress watch party + discussion group (based on the Learn WordPress workshop on Introduction to Open-source) as part of their meetup (it does not need any prior approval). 
  2. Lesson plans for the Introduction to Open-source workshops are available! Meetup group organizers can plan their live open-source workshop based on the lesson plans. 

The WordPress Foundation invites community members across the world to join these open-source workshops and to organize workshops and discussion groups in their communities to help spread our mission of serving the public good with the help of Open-source software.

Meetup groups organizing Introduction to Open-source workshops will be featured on this website. All you need to do is to reach out to us with a brief write-up about your workshop along with pictures, and we’ll publish them here!

do_action hackathons and open-source workshops in 2021

In 2020, we saw do_action events and open-source workshops move online. Around the world, community members organized 5 do_action hackathons (4 of which were online) and a handful of open-source workshops last year. In moving these events online, community organizers not only brought their WordPress community closer together, but they were also able to make a positive impact on their local or regional community in an exceptionally-difficult year.  

Seeing this impact, we would like to help more organizers host even more of these online charity hackathons (do_action events) and Introduction to Open Source workshops in 2021. This post shares more information for community organizers who would like to organize do_action events in 2021.

do_action charity hackathons

Based on feedback from the community members, do_action events so far have been quite impactful in how they bring participants together to help non-profits establish an online presence, something all the more significant in 2021. Here is how we plan to support do_action events in 2021:

  • Improving the online do_action event documentation: The community team is currently working on revamping the documentation for online do_action events to include tips on remote collaboration, using collaboration tools, remote project management etc. Additionally, we will be reaching out to past do_action organizers to share recaps and help share task lists to help organizers get used to the online event format. 
  • Sponsored accounts: Organizers can reserve and use Community-sponsored Zoom Pro accounts for their events. 
  • Countrywide do_action events: There were a few countrywide do_action events in 2020. More regional/countrywide events are encouraged. 
  • Linking do_action events with WordCamps and mentoring: Since WordCamps are also online, organizers can organize do_action events in tandem with their online WordCamps, for more impact. Similarly, new do_action organizers will get mentoring from past organizers/mentors/community deputies.
  • Technology changes: The following changes will be implemented on the doaction.org website in 2021 to support our organizers in a better way: 
    • doaction.org to Google Workspace / G Suite (so that organizers can use custom emails – get access to a branded Google Workspace account) – Due March 2021
    • Doaction.org will be modified to support multiple event dates. – Due June 2021
    • The do_action application will be moved to doaction.org.- Due June 2021

Does all of this sound exciting? If you would like to organize a do_action event in your locality, please send in your application through this form! Community deputies will get back to you shortly to take it forward.

Introduction to Open-source workshops

Introduction to Open Source workshops help spread knowledge and understanding of the open web and open source. They have also been instrumental in onboarding new contributors to WordPress. With the Learn WordPress workshops on Introduction to Open-source, meetup groups could host a watch party of the recorded workshop or organize a discussion group. Here’s how community members can organize open-source workshops in 2021. 

Organizers can feature these workshops and discussion groups in the WordPress Foundation blogs by reaching out to the community team. Since open-source workshops are online, there is no cost involved in organizing them, but organizers can always request paid zoom accounts for their event

The WordPress community has the power to uplift and empower people across the world by organizing these events. Our community organizers have already done stellar work in 2020, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we step into 2021, we look forward to supporting and seeing what organizers do with these online events to help their communities!

Open Source Workshops: November 2020 report

The WordPress Foundation has been organizing Introduction to Open Source workshops, as part of our continuing efforts to educate the public about WordPress and related open-source software (OSS). In 2019, as part of our goal of organizing workshops in parts of the world with less participation in open source, we held four successful workshops in India, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Thimphu. 

By March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had engulfed the world, forcing community organizers to cancel all in-person events. Unfazed by these challenges, our community organizers pivoted to online events by organizing four successful online charity hackathons in Japan, South Africa, India, and Nigeria, so far. The Introduction to Open Source workshops have also moved online. The workshop is now available online as part of Learn WordPress, which is a brand new initiative from WordPress contributor teams to help people learn how to use, build for, and contribute to WordPress. Community members across the world can now learn about Open-Source safely from the comfort of their homes and test their knowledge using the embedded quiz. The workshops are also followed by discussion groups, where participants can discuss their learnings in real-time and find answers to their questions.  

As of November 2020, the Introduction to Open-source workshop video has been viewed 757 times. Three online discussion group events with over 152 RSVPs were also held successfully. Sign-ups are open for two more discussion groups that are listed below:

You can watch the workshop video and participate in these discussion groups to learn about open-source software and find answers to your questions on open-source.

In addition to these scheduled discussion groups, community organizers can organize their own online discussion groups (based on the lesson plan)or hold online watch parties for the Introduction to Open-Source workshop

Given the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, WordPress Foundation events are likely to be held online in 2021. We will be announcing our plans for 2021 events later this year.

Charity Hackathons: August 2020 Report

In September 2019, we shared about the progress of do_action charity hackathons for the year. We went on to work with 15 local communities to organize charity hackathons in 2019, which is a remarkable improvement over the 12 events from 2018.

2020 brought in some unexpected challenges for community organizers across the world due to COVID-19. By March 2020, the pandemic had spread out to most parts of the world, and hence many organizers were forced to make the difficult decision to cancel their planned in-person events. Despite these challenges, community organizers worldwide joined hands with a firm resolve to help charities by organizing online do_action events. As a result, we have seen three online do_action events in 2020 so far, with more events in the pipeline. 

Volunteers of do_action Japan doing a virtual wave.

In pre-COVID-19 times, do_action events were local – with volunteers and NGOs belonging to the respective cities. However, since online events are location-agnostic, organizers decided to experiment with larger do_action events that elicited participants spanning an entire country! The first of such events – do_action Japan – was a success! The event was followed by do_action South Africa in June and do_action India in August. Community organizers have embraced the online event format and are excited about the process.

As geographical restrictions had eased, community organizers went a step ahead and used the opportunity to help out charities located in far-flung areas. Instead of a single day event, local communities experimented with spreading out the event over multiple days or weeks. Organizers, volunteers, and charities also used tools such as Slack and Zoom to collaborate during the event.

A screenshot from a do_action India launch event.

The three events that have already taken place in 2020 saw 359 participants helping out 23 non-profits build their brand new websites. Volunteers also trained these Non-profits on how to use their websites after each event.

Here are some of the websites built at these do_action events:

More than strengthening these charities’ web presence, the websites help these charities in furthering their mission by assisting them to attract volunteers, teach courses, receive donations, and help more people. Our community members’ excellent work goes the extra mile in taking forward the mission and vision of these organizations.

Volunteers of do_action South Africa are helping non-profits learn how to use the WordPress block editor.

We live in challenging times, where the actions of a global community have the power to uplift others’ lives. Unfazed by the challenges of COVID-19, our communities have done stellar work to support charities that contribute to the greater good. As we move forward to the rest of 2020, we are excited to see what our communities do for even more non-profit organizations, and how the do_action program will grow and adapt to an online format!