The 10 Best Open Source Projects You Should Be Volunteering To Help With

Saikat Basu 28-05-2012

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] Why You Should Contribute To Open Source Projects [Opinion] The concept of open-source software is not new, and with huge, successful projects such as Ubuntu, Android, and other Linux-related OS's and apps, I think we can safely say it is a proven model for... Read More . You aren’t a coder? Read 8 Ways To Help Open-Source Projects If You’re Not A Coder 8 Ways to Help Open-Source Projects If You're Not a Coder We’ve covered why it’s important to contribute to open-source projects, but what if you’re not a coder? You don't have to learn how to program to help your favorite open-source projects. Many non-programmers volunteer some... Read More . 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.

Mozilla Developer Network

open source projects to join

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.

The community support forum is also a place where you can contribute your knowhow by troubleshooting problems. Mozilla Forum has subject specific mailing lists and newsgroups. Hiring and work related information can be found here. Mozilla also has The Mozilla Reps program for volunteers. While you are on the Mozilla site, don’t forget to check out the well-designed Learning section for links to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript tutorials.

The Chromium Projects

open source projects


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 Software Foundation

open source projects

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.



open source projects

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.


open source projects that need help

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.



open source projects that need help

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.


open source projects that need help

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.



The 10 Best Open Source Projects You Should Be Volunteering To Help With open source projects08

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, 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.


The 10 Best Open Source Projects You Should Be Volunteering To Help With open source projects09

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.

Speed Dreams

open source projects to join

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.

Other games you can contribute to are Xonotic, 0 A.D, and VegaStrike among many others.

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 check out these opportunities to volunteer from home 24 Ways to Volunteer Online From Your Home Do you have free time? Use these online volunteering opportunities to make the world a better place without stepping outside. Read More .

Related topics: Careers, Charity, Job Searching, Programming.

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  1. Shane
    December 22, 2016 at 8:50 pm


    • Saikat Basu
      December 23, 2016 at 6:49 am

      Ah, thanks for this Shane. My father and brother are doctors. I will definitely pass this to them as well :)

  2. anonymous
    April 7, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Try to help out with an issue with Gnome and they were downright nasty about it. I've written code and sent patches to several projects before and since. How about listing projects that actually want volunteers instead of just projects that claim they want volunteers.

    • Saikat
      April 7, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      Your feedback is important but I wouldn't be in a hurry to jump to a conclusion that the whole community behind the project is bad. You know, as in the real world, our perceptions often get colored when we meet one negative character across the counter!

  3. Lukas
    November 23, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    If you looking for more informations about social networking scripts, heres some:

    [Broken Link Removed]

  4. azmath
    June 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Please volunteer to write Khan Academy inspired textbooks at [Broken URL Removed] This is an opensource project to create world class educational textbooks freely available to students across the world. Please volunteer.

    • Saikat Basu
      June 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks for this really useful link. Didn't know that there was such a project out there. Just imagine the help this could be for students in countries which do not have access to good study material.

      • Azmath
        November 8, 2012 at 8:06 am

        Dear Basu,

        Thanks a lot for your appreciation. We are desperately looking out for volunteers, would you mind spreading the word through your blog?



  5. jay13213
    June 3, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    open source should be the only way allowed some more info on
    [Broken Link Removed]

  6. jay13213
    June 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Im after open source projects and idea 100%, open source programing should be the only allowed way to publish online
    some other scripts some of them open source
    [Broken Link Removed]

  7. Maneesh
    June 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    All of them are awesome..

  8. Jon Smith
    May 31, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Its nice that you guys have a joomla guide but could you also make an apache guide?

  9. Shehan Nirmal
    May 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Live FREE with "OPEN SOURCE"...

  10. Anh
    May 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I like all of them

  11. Hitesh Nair
    May 30, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I love the BEST for FREE technique !!

  12. dmachop
    May 29, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Plus any linux distribution support group for the next release!

  13. Kyem Ghosh
    May 28, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Open Source gather million brains at one destination n so they r d best.

    • Saikat Basu
      May 29, 2012 at 6:18 am

      Not necessarily, but they are a vital movement and one that could define a lot of things for the greater good. It also equates to independence.

      • Tanguy Djokovic
        June 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm

        I agree with you, Microsoft word is better that libreoffice I think, much more user friendly with the pretty colors, but Libre is free which Word is not!