Confused on where to start

Need help with C, C++, perl, python, etc?

Confused on where to start

Postby ninjaspydr » 2007-01-05 16:28

Hey everyone,

I have learned a few programming languages. Unfortunately though, they were taught at a community college, where it's monkey see monkey do. I really want to start contributing to open source projects and make my own possibly. The thing is I'm not sure where to start either.

When it comes to open source projects, I'll start to look at one and just get completely overwhelmed and confused by what's going on.

As for making my own programs, I really want to but it seems that any program I could need is already available, or if I have an idea for one I'll study into it and it just seems so complex that I give up.

Any advice on what I can do?
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Postby awfulman » 2007-01-05 16:35

Did you read a nice article "How to Become a Hacker"?
http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html
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Re: Confused on where to start

Postby stream303 » 2007-01-25 07:38

ninjaspydr wrote:As for making my own programs, I really want to but it seems that any program I could need is already available, or if I have an idea for one I'll study into it and it just seems so complex that I give up.

Any advice on what I can do?


Hmmm... you can help open source without actually programming. Helping your fellow user in forums / mailing lists is one way. Perhaps contribute to documentation / update man pages etc.

Have you thought about looking into existing programs and updating them? Off the top of my head, two ncurses-based apps I'd like to see kept updated are the SC spreadsheet and the HNB notebook. Maybe find a cool program you really love, and see if you can help find/fix bugs.

Perhaps shell scripting! Maybe start out with a simple utility-menu with various utilities for those who don't dig the command line, but would be happy behind a shell-script menu system. ex:

1) Show largest file in filesystem
2) Show largest directory in filesystem
3) Quit

Taken further with scripts, link them up with Lynx, wget, curl, etc to find, retrieve, and format information in a way that you like.

I haven't seen a moon-phase script for surfers yet. You get the idea - perhaps your imagination is limiting you from doing something you love if you put a time-frame on it. Relax and let it come to you..

...just some random thoughts ...
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Postby Guest » 2007-01-25 14:35

Gratzi to both of you. :)

Guess i need to just stop "trying" so hard and just let the creativity take over.
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Postby plugwash » 2007-01-25 21:06

programming is far more about the mindset of the programmer than the syntax of the language though certain languages are certainly better than others for certain tasks. Unfortunately mindset is something that is very hard to teach through strutured lessons.

one thing with opensource is that much of it is written in C. C is a pretty unfriendly language for the newcomer because it forces you to do a lot of stuff yourself and because the real operation of the program can be obscured by the use of macros etc. Programming in C demands a good understanding of pointers, stack, heap and the issues of managing memory which many newbies find it difficult to aquire (especilly those newbies who started out in scripting languages treating string handling as free and easy).

even for an experianced coder finding your way arround someone elses codebase can take time, even more so for a newbie. Don't let that put you off and feel free to ask here if you are having trouble finding something that you know should be there.
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Postby garrincha » 2007-01-25 22:24

Hi ninjaspydr, if you want to do learn to do some programming I guess that it all depends on your experience of any form of programming. My only advice is that if you have no experience of it is to start very simple. Beginner going waist deep into C programming is something that I frown upon, I'm speaking as someone who used to do C+ and C++ programming back in the early 1990s, though not anymore. Taking myself as an example, if I tried to go back to C programming today I might get by with some very simple stuffs but will get bogged down with more ever more complicated codes. I don't do programming anymore, if I do it is only for an occasional bit of funs and more as a learning tool.

Anyway, if you like I suggest that you could start by learning Python which is a good object oriented program, very useful in software development and it runs in several systems including Linux. You have Python 2.4 installed as standard in your debian box - so make use of it!

http://www.python.org/
http://awaretek.com/tutorials.html
Maurice Green on Usain Bolt's 9.58: "The Earth stopped for a second, and he went to Mars."
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Postby _FOCUS_ » 2007-02-01 09:21

I had read before how to be a hacker article and I decided to learn python. When I involved it I saw that I can write everything with python if I learn it good. Blender writed in python. Almost every red hat package ( firstly anaconda red hat installer ) writed in python. And this programs can run in many platforms. Mac dos unix and some mobile. But python not stoping at here. I can develop with python web applications. May be you know gmail help pages and some yahoo pages writed in python.

So what I want to do. İf I want to make a program or developing web or scripting. Python ready to work for me. Easy to learn and if you learn it ones it is a way to realise your imagination. I don't know but as if there is no need to learn another more ( :D ) python make me feel so .
If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If it's run over by a car, you don't want it.
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Postby freda » 2007-03-20 02:08

I have also learned a few programming languages in university, but i am not good at it. Can you give me some advice?


:D
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Postby maxamillion » 2007-03-20 23:47

Find a project you like that you would like to help, join the -devel mailing list for that project and ask what needs doing/how you can help. Just let them know what you are capable of and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
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Postby javahaxxor » 2007-04-09 18:47

start small. keep things simple. write many small scripts, and eventually things will come to you. if not, keep on helping others, and forget about programming
running Debian testing
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