I'm a 16 year old kid and I see the potential of Linux and open source software in general. But big companies like Microsoft and Apple take the whole consumer market leaving some of the nerds behind using Linux. Since I still have my whole life ahead, I'd like to learn to support, contribute and help Linux as a platform.
Until now I have been learning Linux system administration, (as in setting up my own lamp server and a couple game servers here and there, plus maintaining them) some web programming (HTML, CSS and getting into some PHP for teaming the website with a MySQL server). I also have some basic knowledge of C# programming under windows, python and Java.
Not long ago I have started to switch from windows to Linux. I will still keep windows for gaming and do all my other stuff on Linux. Since I don’t game on my laptop I decided I'll just single boot with Linux and have a windows VM just in case.
My question for you is how can i contribute to the open source community. For now I just need something to get started with something like a book or a series of videos.
I'm open to different suggestion.
Going full OSS doesn't mean just committing your hardware to Linux. It means giving up proprietary software, being able to fix most issues yourself, and giving up most codecs. Now contributing to the FOSS movement is easy. Contribute bugs and fixes (Fedora is your best bet here), upload patches for unsupported hardware on Source Forge, and finally making your own programs, then uploading the source to say, the Forge or Github.
Even just talking about it, and using it helps. Make sure you know the difference between Open Source and Free Software.
Can something be free software without being open source? Or vice-versa? If so could you give a hypothetical example?
What Eden said is right. Just by using it you are helping to give devs incentive to make things for Linux. You also can submit bug reports, and just talk about Linux to other people in general.
However if you want to develop for Linux, that is highly encouraged. Go for it.
For the most part open source software is free software and vice versa, free software generally is more towards protecting a users freedom where as open source is mainly concerned with opening the code.
There are open source licenses that are not compatable with free software, though youll notice its not many. , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_free_and_open-source_software_licenses#Approvals
You can read more about the difference here and kind of hits the point in why I think its important to know why theres a difference and why its important (for some people at least, me included).