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open source hacker wannabe

 
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I want to contribute to some open source project, but i dont know wich one. the thing is i'm a junior software developer, it will be kind of cool to both gain experience and have something cool to put on my resume , i want to focus on web-dev may be even something a little bit at a lower level(tcp/ip or dom) i know java and a little bit of C and C++, Here are a few choises help me decide: linux kernel(gain experience in c and better knowledge of tcp/ip perhaps), gecko engine(better understanting of how internet apps woks and gain experience of c++ and jscript), spring framework(focus on java ftw)
 
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I like to encourage people to contribute to open source projects, but I gotta say - you picked some seriously high profile projects there! My guess would be that there's no shortage of very experienced people wanting to contribute to those, so you -who characterizes himself as junior- may have an uphill battle.

Maybe there's a slightly less famous -but still well-known- project that you like yourself? And that's really a prerequisite - the work must be of interest to you, so it keeps you engaged for a long time. If you pick something based solely on its name recognition, but have no real interest in it, you're bound not to contribute much.
 
Jorge Bendahan
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I really like those projects and also i'm a big fan of them, but you might have a good point, any sugestions? did i mention i love coding...
 
Ulf Dittmer
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Just take a look at those that you've downloaded and used in the past. A quick look through my hard disk shows (in no particular order): iText, JFreeChart, JasperReports, HTMLUnit, jWebUnit, Stripes, the numerous Apache Commons and Jakarta projects, JExcelApi, POI, Lucene, ImageJ, Tomcat, Apache James, DisplayTag, FlyingSaucer, PDFRenderer, HSqlDB, Derby, SquirrelSQl, iSql, Hibernate ... - and those are just the ones written in Java. (Admittedly, some of them are high-profile, too.)
 
Jorge Bendahan
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tomcat sounds pretty good , still too high profile dont you think? btw do you think it's better to focus only on java and hence become more proficient at it or adding c or c++ to my belt could contribute to something.
 
Ulf Dittmer
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Indeed, Tomcat is high profile. But even there may be bugs lingering that the core team doesn't get around to fix. Or maybe you can think of Realm or Valve implementations that would make useful additions.

While most developers I know are proficient in several languages, it's kind of rare to go deep in two languages like C/C++ and Java simultaneously. More common would be to use one of them heavily at any given time, and maybe a scripting language in addition to that.
 
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I've made some OSS contributions and they have always been:
1. something that I needed to get my work or a pet project done.
2. something that no one else wanted to do.
As Ulf says, you should look at what applications you use and think about what they don't do or don't do well and work on that.
One thing every OSS project needs that you can contribute is documentation. Writing or improving the documentation for a project will demonstrate that you understand a project, at least from the outside, and the developers will love you for taking that burden off of them. It could provide you with the "in" you are looking for.
 
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