I have been into open source pretty much since the first time I encountered the idea.

As a user, of course—who's to say no to free (as in beer) software? With forums where you can contact the developers to ask for help or new features? And the possiblity, for a programmer (like myself), to tweak here and add there and make it do exactly what you want? Even before I started considering the meaning of free as in

For years, however, I felt a bit uncomfortable. Taking was good, but what about giving back? My own fixes were often too hacky and personal to be shared with others. And what about all the non-technical people I was trying to convert to the cause? What could they contribute?

And then I met the Dotclear community.

I was on another continent. Blogging to keep in touch with the homeland, one way or the other. That's how I started using the software. Little by little, I also started exchanging with the contributors. Pouring over the documentation; asking for help in the forums; and, more and more, reading their blogs. Soon enough, this had become much more than a piece of software; this was a group of pals, thrown together into an adventure. An adventure I wanted a part of.

I started by the proud "powered by Dotclear" footers on my webite(s). If I could make only one person switch blogging engines, or decide for Dotclear when starting their own blog, that would already be a big deal.

And then I realized Dotclear was also an association. To which you can donate money.

Since then, I have moved back closer to the headquarters, first on the other side of the Rhine, now on the same side of the Seine. I have started contributing a bit more directly (mostly by translating blog posts once in a blue moon, but hey, I'm part of the team).

But still, if you like Dotclear, and that you want to contribute, there's no need to have the skills, time and desire to become a core dev. You can start by becoming a Dotclear member, and donating to the association.

Don't hesitate!

For full disclosure, I should also add that this is the kind of attitude that leads you to wanting to meet other Dotclearians, and from then on to picnics, crepes, beers, and fits of laughter.