If I'd had a pound for every time some KDE user has said something
along the lines of "If I could code, I'd contribute to KDE," I
wouldn't be writing this on a laptop that was bottom-of-the-line when
I bought it three years ago.
So, if you're a KDE user who has at some time or another thought or
said exactly that, what can you do? Well, there are two options:
Learn to code! I get the impression that some people think that the
KDE coders entered the world with innate knowledge of C++ and Qt,
and wrote their first KDE application just before saying their
first word. They had to learn it just like the rest of us. It's not impossible to learn C++/Qt/KDE. Granted, it's not as easy as some other programming languages, but many
contributors have proved that it can be done: just ask annma.
Get involved with one of the very valuable non-coding tasks that
help make KDE better. They range from writing docs and doing
translations, through artwork and usability studies, to maintaining
websites or doing bug triage. While these might not have the same
"wow" factor as coding that killer feature, or fixing that
long-standing bug, they're still extremely important to KDE, and
can be just as satisfying.
For example, take bug triage: KMail alone receives about 30
comments to bugs every day. The majority of these are users
either reporting new bugs/wishes or adding a comment to existing
ones. The small team of developers working on KMail can keep up
with these bugs a lot more easily if someone has already looked
through them and removed duplicates, confirmed those bugs which are
reproducible, and added any other useful information.
It won't make you the next Linus, but it's one way to get to know more
about KDE, and in the end it helps make KDE better.
I think I'll write a few blog entries over the next few weeks going
into more detail about specific ways to get involved. Maybe I'll even
polish them up enough to become dot articles. Which reminds me, I have
some notes of Aaron's "10 ways to get involved in open source" talk
which I should turn into full sentences so they can be article-ized.