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Roshan Sharma
Roshan Sharma

Posted on • Updated on

How do you dive into large open source projects?

I recently got started with Golang. It's a pretty awesome language.

I decided to contribute to Hugo, but I eventually became afraid to start. It felt like I'll take forever to acquaint myself with a code base that large, let alone finding bugs and solving issues.

On the other hand, I've also heard people say that you do not need to know the entire code base to start contributing. I've started to think if that depends on the nature of the project perhaps.

I would appreciate if anyone has advice on what should be the preferred mindset, and/or their experience in such a situation.

Much thanks!

Discussion (2)

rimutaka profile image
Max • Edited on

I had a patchy history contributing to larger projects. I later figured they don't really want small random contributions because we are a drain on maintainers time. It's more productive for them to work on larger contributions or major issues. My bug fix PR for Terraform was sitting in the queue for weeks even if it was just one line of code. No blame. They have their priorities too.

  1. Smaller, upcoming projects may be more welcoming.
  2. Starting with docs is a good entry point. It's low risk for the project, you get time to learn and establish yourself.
  3. Being unwelcoming to new contributors was one of the top issues in GitHub 2017 survey, so it's not just you.

Don't be afraid. Ask what a good first time issue can be and do your utmost best.

roshnet profile image
Roshan Sharma Author

Absolutely agree. I'll see if I can find my way around some nice issues in the repo.

Thanks for the advice, Max!