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Open Source projects: How to join one?

Alex Ayzin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 10, 2001
Posts: 107
Hey guys,
I've decided to join some Open Source projects, but how to actually find and join one? Are there sites besides SourceForge that do just that? how hiring process go? how they(hiring people for Open Source [project) determine, if you're actually suitable for that job and so on... Any feedback's appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
--Alex Ayzin
David Weitzman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 27, 2001
Posts: 1365
Different projects do it different ways.
At Jakarta you can submit a bunch of patches and either wait until one of the commiters has found you helpful enough to nominate you for commiter access or you ask for it. If at least 3 commiters vote positively (and none negatively) agree, your in.
At Mozilla, you ask for commiter access and hopefully get a 'voucher' -- someone with commiter access who will nominate you and take responsibility if you cause any damage. Then at least three 'super-reviewers' examine what you've submitter so far to look for any red flags. They want to make sure you know how to write good code and understand the Mozilla architecture.
Something like Eclipse is run by a consortium, and I'm not sure they'd let you join as a commiter (although I'm not sure about that).
What goes on in the millions of projects out there with 1-10 developers? It doesn't make a huge difference. Some people will jump at the idea of having some help. Others feel comfortable with the way everything is going and don't want any. Basically all you can do is find a project you're interested in and ask.
[ September 10, 2002: Message edited by: David Weitzman ]
Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
You can also check out the 'Project Help Wanted' section of http://www.sourceforge.net
Good luck!
Ashok.


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Frank Carver
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 07, 1999
Posts: 6920
The main thing to do is find (one or more) projects that you think you understand the source code for, and join their development community (mailing lists, bulletin boards etc.).
Then, lurk for a bit to see how that community does things. Then join a few discussions of faults and features and so on, but be careful about treading on any toes. Then, when you've been involved enough that your name is recognized, report some bugs, suggest some changes, submit some patches or whatever. Your suggestions will then also be discussed by the other members of the community, and may be added to the code base.
Somewhere along that road you "joined" the project. Most projects don't have a structured way of dealing with this, but just accept help from any credible source.
I'd like to turn your question round, though: What do you want to get out of "joining" an open source project? Unless you know what you want, it's very hard to tell whether you have got it!


Read about me at frankcarver.me ~ Raspberry Alpha Omega ~ Frank's Punchbarrel Blog
Alex Ayzin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 10, 2001
Posts: 107
Originally posted by Frank Carver:

I'd like to turn your question round, though: What do you want to get out of "joining" an open source project? Unless you know what you want, it's very hard to tell whether you have got it!

Thanks for replying, guys.
Well, lately I was involved a lot with .Net applications, so I want to broaden it up a bit and think that's the best way for me to start working on something intresting, yet with oppotunity to gain is by joining an Open Source project.
P.S: Hopefully, I won't get banned just because I use MS.Net nowadays.
--Alex Ayzin
Frank Carver
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 07, 1999
Posts: 6920
OK, so you want to work on something interesting. The best thing to do is to spend a few moments thinking of keywords to describe projects which interest you, and do a few google searches.
I just tried "open source server software", for example and it came back with all sorts of interesting links.
Once you find one or more projects which catch your interest, download the source code and play with it. If it still seems interesting, join the associated community (as described above) and off you go.
There are a lot of open source projects all over the web. I participate in half a dozen or so, but there are thousands more. The main thing is to find something you are interested in.
But I don't think you have really answered what I was trying to ask. Are you looking for personal satisfaction, something to uuse your spare time on, peer acclaim, experience for your resum´┐Ż, ideas or skills to start your own project, code samples you can reuse, or whatever? In practical terms, ask yourself how you will know that you have achieved your aims in this endeavor.
 
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