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Saharsh Laud
Saharsh Laud

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Open Source Community: How to Become an Active Contributor

Open-Source development has truly transformed the technical revolution all around the world and the open source community has grown rapidly from its initial stages when Richard Stallman introduced the GNU project, the first “free operating system” to the present scenario where more than 70% of the software codebases around the world consist of some open-source components.

Linus TorvaldsOpen source refers to source code that has been made available to the public to view, use, modify, and distribute under a license.

The open source community collaboratively helps in developing and maintaining open-source projects. By becoming a part of the open-source community, you can not only enhance your technical skills but also hone your people skills like communication, giving and receiving feedback, emotional intelligence, etc.

As a beginner to the open source environment, it can be quite intimidating and confusing as to how one can become an active contributor to open source projects. Today, we’ll explore some strategies that anyone can use to kickstart their open source journey and ultimately become an active contributor.

Finding projects for contribution

One of the most important aspects of becoming an active open-source contributor is the selection of projects to contribute to. Always try to select a project which is familiar to you and you have some prior knowledge about.Working on projects that you already use gives you an edge when contributing because you’re already pretty familiar with its details and this experience will definitely help you in contributing more often towards the project and becoming an active contributor. You can even suggest features that you want in the software or any problems faced while using the product.
GitHub Labels
GitHub’s explore page is a great way to find projects based on your preferences and you can even use the search tool by entering beginner-friendly contribution tags like good-first-issue, beginner-friendly, easy, etc.

Ways to contribute to open source

Contributing to an open-source project doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to provide exclusive code for the project, you can contribute to a project in many ways. You can make a contribution by making comments on existing code and APIs to add context or by writing documentation for the project. If you like to code, you can open a pull request to provide your code contribution or even open an issue to discuss and get help on a new feature or an issue.

If you don’t want to contribute to existing projects, you can even create your own open-source project which might also serve as an alternative to commercial software.
Ways to contribute to opensource

Tips for a successful contribution to open source

Projects generally list the work that needs to be done and to build up your confidence and credibility you should start with the easiest and smallest contributions first that take the least amount of work. Read documentation related to the task to get a better understanding of what to do and always try to reach out to the community to ask for help, clarification, or mentorship. Once you’re confident enough on a task and know how to go about it, write some code and submit a pull request. Submit your work as per the contribution guidelines and if all goes well, you shall become an active open-source contributor in no time!
GitHub Pull Request

Go ahead and get started!

Contributing to an open-source project can be an amazing learning experience since it allows you to be a part of a great community and also helps in developing your technical skills especially since you do not have to know every little detail about a project to make a contribution. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up a project and a community that supports new contributors, and get started with your contributions.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find this article helpful !!

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Top comments (4)

seokjeon profile image
Se-ok Jeon

Thx for this! This is really what I wanted. Helped A LOT.
Can I translate in Korean this post? If you don't mind, I wanna share this awesome post in Korean. Surely, There will be a linke directing to this original post.

saharshlaud profile image
Saharsh Laud

Hey Se-ok glad you liked the content.
Sure you can translate it to korean, I believe that knowledge expands by sharing so go ahead and share it with your community!

hstrejoluna profile image
Héctor Sebastián Trejo Luna

Richard Stallman not started the "Open Source" you need to rewrite that introduction may cause disinformation and confusion about the terms "Open Source" and "Free (As in Freedom) Software".
Useful information from the GNU Project:

saharshlaud profile image
Saharsh Laud

Thanks for the clarification. Although I did not mention that Richard stallman started open source but that he had a huge impact at the initial stages of this movement. He is known as the Father of Open source since he began the spark which later transformed into the open source movement which was my motive to explain.