I have attended over dozen conferences and gave presentations/talks too on OpenStack. Most of the time I meet bunch of motivated students/professionals and one common question was “I am not a developer tell me how can I contribute to OpenStack?” My simple answer to their question was like any other FOSS project OpenStack too needs a lot of volunteers in many domains apart from developing the software. I would mention the areas in which one can contribute to OpenStack project.
Documentation is a key component/part of any FOSS project. With so many components and codes getting added in every new release maintaining a quality doc is big ask. I would suggest this as a best place to start off with if one wants to join the OpenStack community. To understand how over all documentation process/workflow takes place this wiki.
It happens at times when you are trying out deployment & you noticed something which might be a bug. So you can simply report the bug along with explaining your environment setup and if possible attaching log file, screen shot. This will help the developers in reproducing and triaging the reported bugs. Also before filing the bug make sure to check if it has already been reported or not. One can file bugs related to the various OpenStack components.
We also have https://ask.openstack.org where people come and ask their questions, its one of the place where you can share your knowlege and the community. Also don’t forget to check the FAQ before you starting to answer the questions.
IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat, most FOSS projects has their own channels similarly OpenStack projects got some channels like : #openstack, #openstack-101, #openstack-dev, #openstack-doc on freenode server. In case you are not sure/aware how IRC works and which channel to be in this link will be helpful.
Success of free software depends on its adoption. Its always good to have lots and lots of people involved in spreading words about the software.
One can do it via many ways:
a) Social Media: Spreading information about the development , upcoming announcement, feature release on Twitter, facebook or your own personal blog. One can even create screen cast, podcasts & spread it among the peers. One can follow official OpenStack twitter handle.
b) Conferences & Meetups: Speaking about OpenStack at local meetup or opens source user groups or Conferences. One can even form a small team in his/her college/workplace & educate others about OpenStack, hosting a demo day would be a good idea as well. If you want to organize meetup in your town/city/county join this group. if a group already exists be part of it, help it.
OpenStack project has users from over 85 countries & English might not be the prime language of teaching. So if one wants he can be part of translation team & help us in putting OpenStack resources in his/hers local/prime language. The link will be helpful.
I have tried my best to add most of the ways of contribution but chances are i might have missed few, if that is the case kindly comment in the blog & i will try to add & modify the content.