Reverse Engineering

Since FSOSS my brain has been churning with many thoughts about my place in open source. According to Dave in this week’s class we are all more elite than we may think and we all have potential to do great things in open source. It’s hard to think that I can be in any way elite when I just failed a test in my data structures class…this is the first time I have failed anything school related and it doesn’t inspire a sense of “I can take on the world”. However, I know that it’s just a glitch in my otherwise strong school record and so I will get beyond this.

What I’ve been thinking about lately is how I came to be in this program, in this open source class and how I seem to be experiencing a bit of a feeling that I am reverse engineering all the concepts that make up the open source community. My background *is* community whether it’s theater, experimental films, activism, journalism, or just cultural – I have been and continue to be very active in a lot of communities. To me, a lot of the discussion about open source seems to be directed at technically sound cowboy coders who don’t know how to work with others, trying to extol the virtues of a larger community and their immersion in it. I’m in the opposite lane – I know that community works, how it works and why I should be involved with it but I am constantly playing catch-up with the technical knowledge that others seem to eat and breathe.

Learning can be so erratic, it’s challenging to stay focused and to not get discouraged at the fact that I often don’t understand what it going on around me. In order to keep my head up I try to do something every day that is connected to school and open source learning. That can look different depending on the day. A couple of nights ago it was doing a build on a MacBook to practice for when I have my own. Yesterday it was signing up for Miro’s tester mailing list and lurking on their irc channel (though that netted nothing…they are quiet folk).

One foot in front of the other, I will walk backwards and try to keep working on being a super user instead of just a user, try to be a contributor instead of a watcher, and keep telling myself that someday I will be an expert about something. That’s the dream, that someday people will say “Oh you need _______, Lukas is the best person for that”.

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