Open source projects?



  • I'm quitting my job in a few months (I'm having a baby) and will probably not be working for the next two or three years. Aside from changing nappies and hobnobbing with other moms, I'd like to keep up with my computer programming, albeit in a much reduced capacity. So I was thinking about maybe helping out at an open-source project. Does anyone have experience with working on open-source projects? Any comments on which are nice to work with, which aren't? My main languages are C++ and PHP. There's a lot of crappy, poorly written open-source code out there, so I'd appreciate some pointers on where to look :) Thanks.



  • I recommend picking one you care about and see yourself using.  Bigger name projects give you a better chance of the project staying alive, but they also minimize the amount you can do (and often result in an incredibly stultifying bureaucracy).



  • Work on something you like to use yourself.



  • @bstorer said:

    Bigger name projects give you a better chance of the project staying alive, but they also minimize the amount you can do (and often result in an incredibly stultifying bureaucracy).

    Man isn't that the frigging truth...

    About a year ago I wanted to contribute to wine. I gave up. I think I have a higher chance of successfully contributing to the next version of Windows without even being employed at Microsoft than I have at getting anything contributed to Wine. I have seen completely functional and working patches being crushed by bureaucracy in that project. My time I could spend on such projects is limited enough, if anything I would want to spend it coding and not jumping through hoops to appease the project overlords so that maybe after sufficient virgin sacrifices they'll grant me the blessing of accepting my patch.

    Another project I've had better luck with back when I used to use it was wxWidgets. I had actually found a few bugs by using it and submitted patches to fix them which were accepted without any hassle. Now that is something I can work with.

     



  •  @ammoQ said:

    Work on something you like to use yourself.

    I wanted to work on Celestia, but was seized by a sudden onset of lack of ambition. That, and the fact that when I made a snazzy splash for it, it was received well (really!) but feedback quickly turned into somewhat-informed bickering over details of the "let's iterate some more" school of thought.



  • @cablecar said:

    ...Any comments on which are nice to work with, which aren't? ... There's a lot of crappy, poorly written open-source code out there, so I'd appreciate some pointers on where to look :)
    Whatever you pick, take a look in the forums before you dive in as they will quickly tell you what the lead developers will be like to work with. Some are pretty self-centred and hold "their" projects close to themselves. You should be able to spot that by how they address others in the forums. While it's a very nice editor, I couldn't imagine working with the Notepad++ guys on anything (freely or paid - although one of the plug-in authors is pretty cool). As noted by another poster, the Wine project has a crushing hierarchy, and will make you fight to get anything accepted.

    If anything, find a piece of software you like using and help out with it.

    Alternatively, why not look at contributing some documentation to Wikibooks or a similar documentation project? Or both - some coding, some doco?


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.