The success of Open Source projects has defied the old saying – too many cooks spoil the broth. If you doubt the success of the open source initiative, you just have to look at Firefox and WordPress, probably two tools that are helping you to read most of the web. Then, you probably are fixing up a date on an Android phone.
My colleague Erez explained Why You Should Contribute To Open Source Projects [Opinion]. You aren’t a coder? Read 8 Ways To Help Open-Source Projects If You’re Not A Coder. You could be a writer, a designer, a translator, just a Facebook or Twitter junkie, or someone who wants to just donate money for the cause. There are different levels where you can put your two bits. And here are ten of the many open source projects where you can.
This is where Firefox, Thunderbird, and other Mozilla projects were born. The Mozilla Foundation’s wiki has all the documentation and tools you will need for the Mozilla platform. About:mozilla is a weekly round-up of news and contribution opportunities. You can also watch out for the News & Update section on the wiki homepage where application development information is posted regularly.
Chromium and Chromium OS are the open-source projects that develop the Google Chrome browser and Google Chrome OS. The Chromium Projects site hosts the documentation and code related to the Chromium projects and is the single point of reference for developers interested in learning about and contributing to the open-source projects.
Both project sites are neatly organized and you can follow the links which tell how you can volunteer and join the development (for instance, the beta and dev channels). You can also submit patches or do something as plain as join a discussion group. Check out the slideshow which shows you the life of a Chromium developer.
The Apache web server project isn’t the only one for this open source community. You can start with the catalog of projects that are in development or in the pipeline and pick one to volunteer for. The open projects are lined up in categories. Developers and users join mailing lists, download releases, report on bugs and errors, and contribute patches. Dive into the Get Involved page to read more. More than any other open source community, the Apache Foundation seeks consistent commitment and membership is granted only to volunteers who have actively contributed to Apache projects over the course.
Drupal is a leading CMS (Content Management System) and is widely used for web authoring. Free and open source, recognizable names like NASA, The White House, Ubuntu, Zynga etc. use Drupal. Drupal has nearly 16000+ themes and 1300+ modules for building rich websites. As a volunteer you can contribute to this development and many more like working on translations and documentation. Hit the Getting Involved page for more details.
GNOME is a desktop environment that works with most Linux distributions. The GNOME project is an international community that is always actively calling for volunteers. If you are a writer, you can also find a place in the GNOME development community for working on developer guides and other content. Each individual role is clearly laid out with guidelines. Coders can head straight to the GnomeLove page which is basically a getting started guide.
Ubuntu is a Linux distribution and behind it a large community of interested developers. The ContributeToUbuntu page introduces you to the kinds of work you can contribute to the operating system. When you think that Ubuntu usually has a six-month development cycle, there’s always work available. Ubuntu, quite uniquely has an Ubuntu Women section. This section encourages women to get involved in the use and development of Ubuntu.
The Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment is a popular open source learning platform. The platform gives you powerful tools to develop full-fledged learning course online. The Learning Management System is constructed with PHP. As the site says – We welcome PHP programmers of course, but you can also contribute through discussions, testing, feedback and documentation. You can contribute to the development of the core platforms or the various modules and plugins.
Joomla like Drupal is content management system for developing full-blown websites. Joomla is built using PHP and MySQL. It is the second most popular CMS after WordPress. From little homepages to e-commerce sites, Joomla sees many applications. In fact, Linux.com is a Joomla site. Joomla has 200,000 community users and contributors. On Joomla, anyone can contribute on any level, even newcomers. You can join any of the Joomla working groups and help the platform reach its open source goals.
Python is an open source programming language (basically a scripting language) and it runs on Windows, Linux/Unix, Mac OS X and can be ported to the Java and .NET virtual machines too. From Wikipedia – Among the users of Python are YouTube, and the original BitTorrent client. Large organizations that make use of Python include Google, Yahoo, CERN, and NASA. The Python Software Foundation pushes the development of the language. The Python’s Developers Guide and The Python Mentors Group are the two go-to sources if you want to volunteer here. Also read the Developer FAQ.
An open source game had to be on the list. And though there are many, I have chosen this. The open source and free car racing simulation game is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It is derived from the open racing car simulator Torcs. As an end-user you can suggest improvements and as developer you can send in your codes and patched for testing. See the Get Involved page for more details.
Well, that’s definitely not all as the open source world is a vast one. Here is a list of open source project repositories where you can find work on many small and big open source projects looking for help:
Also, look into our posts on what’s open source. You can find a few more projects that are looking for help too. In the meantime, we would like a feedback from you – have you worked in an open source project? What was the experience like? What advice would you give to beginners who are looking to take the volunteer path?