Before starting a mentorship

As a Lino contributor you need basic experience with certain technologies. You don't need to be perfect, and we will help you to learn, but there is no way around these technologies if you want to become a Lino developer.

This page gives an overview, the next page will give concrete learning resources.


When you want to become a Lino developer, there is a first requirement that might sound hard for those who never tried it: you need to say goodbye to Windows and move on to Linux. Welcome to the world of free software.

Lino itself has no specific OS requirements, but on proprietary operating systems you are likely to encounter problems that are not our business. For example some dependencies are more difficult to install on these systems. If you are using Windows as your primary OS, we recommend to switch to Ubuntu before going on.

You can remain in the Windows or Mac world and still be useful to Lino, e.g. as a trainer or analyst or consultant, but you won't be a developer.


Lino is mostly written in the Python programming language. You need to know for example

  • what's an object, a string, a list, a dict, a float

  • the difference between a class method and an instance method

  • what's a generator

  • what's a decorator

  • when and how to use subprocesses and threads

  • what are the following standard modules used for: datetime, sys, os, re, decimal, logging, ...

  • the major differences between Python 2 and 3


Lino applications are Django projects.

  • You need to know how to get a Django project up and running. (You should have followed the Tutorial) You need to know what a file is.

  • You need to know most about Django's model layer : the Model class, the field types, executing database queries, ...


Lino is hosted on GitHub and GitLab. You need to know how to use these collaboration platforms.

  • You have read the GitHub Help pages, especially the "Bootcamp" and "Setup" sections.

  • You have created a free account on GitHub and made a fork of Lino.

  • You are able to make some change in your working copy, commit your branch and send a pull request.

HTML, CSS and Javascript

  • You need to understand the meaning of tags like <body>, <ul>, <li> ...

  • You should know what an AJAX request is.


Lino is a part of Django and therefore uses relational databases (SQL). You don't usually need to write SQL yourself when using Lino, but it is of course important to understand the concepts behind a database. And on a production server you will have to deal with database servers like MySQL or PostgreSQL when doing database snapshots or running migrations.

The UNIX shell

Lino is a web application framework. You are going to install it on Linux web servers.

  • You know the meaning of shell commands like ls, cp, rm, cd, ls

  • You can configure your local system and know about files like .bashrc and .bash_aliases.

  • You know how to use shell variables and functions.

  • You know what is a pipe, what is redirection

  • You have written your own bash scripts.