All of the MinnowBoard development boards and the firmware operating on them are open source—meaning the firmware is open source software, and the hardware is open source hardware. Everything you need to recreate the hardware and software is freely available, whether on this site or on other sites we link to from here. Anyone versed in the art can take these materials and create the same or derivative designs—for free!
In this Best Practice, we highlight some community resources where you can post feedback, give guidelines on how to submit bug reports and feature requests, and provide links to projects where you can contribute your own fixes, patches, or derivative source code.
1 GitHub: Issue tracking, website feedback and code repositories
Getting an account is the first step. Go to GitHub to set one up.
SEARCH EXISTING ISSUES
Before you submit a new issue, take a moment to scan the existing open and closed bugs/issues list in GitHub MinnowBoard bugs and help, enter a few keywords, and check to see if your question has already been answered by the community.
Feel free to comment or reply to those issues that have already been posted to join the discussion. You can also reopen a thread if it is the exact same issue.
Type your search terms into the search window after the already populated “is:issue” parameter, which makes sure you only see issue results and not pull requests or other repo events.
SUBMIT A NEW GitHub issue
Any question you want to ask about MinnowBoard development boards can be posted as an issue. Issues tracked on GitHub range from hints on power regulator repair and replacement to bug discovery and reporting, and detailed diagnostics and eventual resolution (and sometimes not…).
You can also make feature requests and suggest enhancements, comment on how great this or that feature is, or lament about how this or that is just not quite what you need. However, if the topic pertains to a particular tutorial or page, a better place for those matters would be in the Wiki page dedicated to that tutorial (details in the Feedback section below).
With a GitHub account, any member of the community can:
- Search and read prior issues/bugs
- Ask a question by creating a new issue
- Add their input/contribution on any issue
- Respond to any/every issue
When you submit an issue, please be considerate to those of us reading and responding to it. While it may be entirely obvious to you what board you are writing about—after all, it is sitting right in front of you smoking faintly—the rest of us are not privy to that crucial piece of information. So please remember to mention the board you are working with, the firmware version you booted with, and the OS version and patch level if you are running an OS.
GITHUB Wiki for Feedback FORUM
The wiki pages that are part of the MinnowBoard.org project on GitHub form the nexus of our feedback for this site. Every tutorial has a wiki page where you are able to add comments and suggestions, relate your experience with the tutorial, and even post success stories and photos. And while we don’t anticipate other sections on this website generating that kind of response, there is nothing preventing you from creating a wiki page to capture comments or feedback for any page on our website.
The wiki pages are also where you can add material that augments a particular tutorial, or deepens a particular aspect that other members of the community would find helpful or illuminating in their own exploration of the MinnowBoard development boards.
Please do raise an issue, as expounded in the previous section, for downright mistakes and critical omissions, or misleading, confusing, or outdated information.
GitHub source control
GitHub is fundamentally a source code and file repository. Much of the open source software and firmware available for the MinnowBoard development boards are source code controlled in Git or GitHub repositories.
Each open source software project has its own guidelines for submitting patches to its code-base. Please read these guidelines carefully—they are often archived as part of the code repository at the top level of the tree.
Email address use: The short story
The firstname.lastname@example.org email address is intended for questions that pertain to the MinnowBoard Foundation, this website, and our mission.
Email address use: The long story
The email@example.com email address is live and monitored by the MinnowBoard.org Foundation. And as such, it is best suited for questions you might ask an organization, for example, Can I use the MinnowBoard logo on a derivative product that I sell commercially? Or for marketing questions about presenting or participating in showcases, hackathons, or conferences.
It is also a good place to direct comments about this website, for example, improvements, suggestions, and omissions are all welcome. The website administration is not community sourced, though the content is licensed under the Creative Commons license. We welcome community sourced technical content as well.
Some of us are very technical and can attempt to tackle questions such as:
I plugged an RS-232 serial port cable from my old IBM XT into the MinnowBoard Turbot, and despite verifying and double checking ground, Tx, and Rx are correct, nothing happens. [Sorry, mate. Your SoC now has blown transceivers on the Rx and Tx line. It will never communicate over those pins again.]
But these types of questions deserve to be seen by the entire community—both as a service to them, so this particular learning is widely available, but also for the much broader experience base that is out there. The goal is for this collaboration to provide insights, theories, and solutions that in turn might spark further inquiry, investigation, and improvements. And the place to ask those questions is on the GitHub issue tracker mentioned above.
3 MinnowBoard Twitter
The MinnowBoard Twitter account (@MinnowBoard) is our most active social media outlet, more so than Facebook. We love to see @MinnowBoard mentions displaying how you are using your MinnowBoard development boards on your projects (with bonus points for pictures or article/blog links!), or mentions that show us when you see a MinnowBoard development board at a conference or in the field.
As for tweet volume, we try not to inundate followers with excessive or overly marketing-type tweets…you can help hold us accountable to that! But if you do follow our @MinnowBoard account, you can expect to see the following types of tweets:
- board launch updates
- firmware release notices
- cases studies
- new tutorials
- new OS or project support
- conference showings
- hackathon brag photos and the like
4 MinnowBoard Facebook page
The MinnowBoard Facebook page is where the MinnowBoard community shares information about events and activities that are happening in the community. It is also where the MinnowBoard Foundation makes announcements about new releases or updates, and where the foundation and the community at large share news about exciting projects and products. There are no restrictions on what can be posted, but content has a higher likelihood of remaining on the page if there is at least a tangential bearing on something MinnowBoard.
That said, the intention is to encourage open discourse on any topics that arise in the community of professional developers, innovators, and makers engaged with and using the MinnowBoard designs. Critical reviews are welcome, as are raving success stories about what you discover with these amazing powerhouses of innovation and open source hardware. We are particularly interested in stories of uses we could never have imagined!
5 Best behavior
The below is obvious but worth noting:
We are a community of professional developers, innovators, and makers. Profanity, personal attacks, flaming, and trolling are unacceptable behavior. We will not tolerate them on our site.