2016 is still in the beginning stages, and many companies and developers are considering going open source to maintain relevancy. If you’re an open source novice and are thinking of making the leap, it’s important to understand the boundaries and regulations before you get in too deep. Consider the tips below your beginner’s guide to open source:

Open Source Adoption

Consider your first installation a practice run: Think of the first time you install an open source project as a chance to get all the bugs worked out and try different things before you take it live. It’s a good idea to create a throw-away or virtual environment for first-time installations. This way, you can test the software and even start over with no harm done.

Start out safe and isolated: Avoid downloading your new open source package to a server or machine, particularly one that’s connected to a network or that runs other important software and systems. Take time to figure out how your new open source application works and behaves with other running applications before you create dependencies and, thereby, conflicts you can’t reverse.

Use your information resources: Read and understand the regulations before you start. The open source community can be a good resource for getting questions answered, so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Spending a little bit of time reading through discussion forums can often provide answers to your questions. After all, chances are others have encountered similar issues.

Manage your code: Ensure that responsible code management is top of mind and that you use a structured approach when building your software being sure to manage licences, copyrights, vulnerabilities and any obligations.

Join the community: Some of the biggest advantages of open source are networking and collaboration. Keep in mind that, in many cases, you’re a novice walking into an established and experienced community. Enjoy the social aspect of open source, just respect the established members and their boundaries.