3 reasons why devs don’t contribute to open source. Discuss!

Fabio Zammit on November 23, 2018

Overview I came across this survey from Digital Ocean that takes a deep dive into understanding what devs think about contributing to ... [Read Full]
markdown guide

If one is doubting they have the right skills, they're probably right.

  • If I take a bug/ticket/etc. and spend some hours on it, how do I know if somebody else isn't already working on it, and my time was spent for nothing?
  • I prefer working on software used by end-users, and not by other developers. The latter is much more prominent in OSS, IME.

Hi, Fabio.

I have called for several friends of mine to contribution to some open source projects recently.

doubting they have the right skills

As long as I have experienced, this seems almost true.
They said they were not confident in their skills about not only technology but also English.
Futhermore, one of them said he felt shy because he was unsure to continue contribution.

And I'm in the way to cheer them up, saying, "Nobody may care. Some help will be. Shall we take small steps?"

Companies not giving their employees time to contribute

Sadly, I understand this situation... 😅


I would say that maybe when you are working for a whole week Mon-Fri or sometimes maybe Sat, it's important to go to diffuse mode on Sundays so that you can get to focused mode for the upcoming week.
Also getting lazier after work and switching to netflix or amazon prime videos or youtube for a movie or tv series instead of contributing.
For me these were the reason of not contributing to open source even though I had contributed earlier.


We publish to OS everything that has a generic value, that is not strictly tied to business.

The thing is I do not believe in encouraging people to contribute. There might be tons of verbal excuses, like being shy and not knowing where to start; all are still excuses for being lazy.

My first PR was obviously rejected, so was the second one, as maybe ten in a row more. My intent was to help people and to share the goodness. So I continued and I ended up maintaining several libraries in both Ruby and Elixir and constantly contributing here and there.

The same is with StackOverflow. Some whine about how unwelcome the environment is and others—who indeed want to help, not to be praised—do contribute.

I doubt endorsement might help people to start willing to be better. They should come to that themselves. And in my experience, all good companies never prohibit employees to participate.


Thank you everyone for the comments :)

Very interesting to see it from your perspective.

code of conduct - report abuse