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Contributing to Open Source, It's Easier Than You Think

C8bdfe1bd864e57b23a7baee65d99a45?s=47 Forrest
October 24, 2014

Contributing to Open Source, It's Easier Than You Think

Using my own experience within the Salt community we'll go from making your first commit to an open source repository to being one of the top project contributors. Attendees will not learn about how to use tools, but how to interface with communities and push themselves out of their comfort zone to help contribute to their favorite projects.



October 24, 2014


  1. Contributing to Open Source, it’s Easier Than You Think Forrest

    Alvarez KISSmetrics
  2. What I Am Not An expert programmer A professional technical

    writer Especially smart
  3. Status of the Room How many people currently contribute? How

    many people would like to contribute?
  4. None
  5. The First Foray Openstack is cool I should work on

    that Confused how to contribute
  6. 6 months later 3000 emails 0 contributions

  7. Feel Familiar? No direction Lack of familiarity Confusion and frustration

  8. Meet the team behind Salt Decide to try contributing again

  9. First Steps Read through the documentation Hang out in the

    IRC Review existing issues
  10. First Contribution

  11. Next Steps Keep answering questions Document things people ask about

    all the time Create and resolve issues people encounter
  12. Some Example Issues

  13. A Pull Request

  14. Do You Feel Better Now? How many people feel they

    could do this?
  15. Current Status 6500 IRC messages in the last 5 months

    Top 25 contributors (#25) 101 commits, 2600 lines ++
  16. Key Pain Points Lack of project knowledge Fear of rejection

    Lack of direction for where to start
  17. Lack of Project Knowledge ? new = good

  18. Fear of Rejection Are my commits good enough Will this

    reflect negatively on me Am I wasting other people’s time
  19. Lack of Direction How do I get started What needs

    to be worked on Is this even an important aspect
  20. Overcoming These Issues Learn about the tool, through use or

    research Realize that your contribution is appreciated Review issues and see what people encounter
  21. Prior Discussion on the Topic DevOpsDays Atlanta 2013 Open space

    at Pycon 2014
  22. Project Owners are Just as Lost Project owners want you

    to work on their project They want to help you get started They appreciate your help
  23. What Makes a Good Project Friendly and welcoming community Very

    few open pull requests Active channels of communication
  24. What Makes a Good Contributor Interest in the project and

    goals Desire to improve skills Ability to take constructive criticism
  25. That’s All Folks IRC: forrest GitHub: Gravyboat Twitter: failvarez Website: