How to become an open source contributor

by the end of this week

VALA Tech Camp 2023


A bit about me


CC-BY-SA Graeme Bartlett

Open source contributions

Koha ILS CiviCRM Mastodon
BookWyrm ephemetoot Library Map

A bit about you


Concepts and Workflows

  • distributed version control
  • bugs/issues
  • patches/pull requests

How open source projects fail


  • writing documentation
  • updating and improving documentation
  • reviewing documentation
  • translating documents and interfaces into other languages


  • documentation!
  • user interface design and user testing
  • tours
  • training


  • bug reports
  • templates and guides
  • triaging

Keeping things moving

  • templates for PRs and patches
  • reviewing, “signing off” and testing code
  • advising and onboarding contributors

Building community

  • moderating discussion spaces
  • hosting code, documentation, collaboration spaces
  • hosting and running events

Avoiding burnout

  • everything we’ve talked about!
  • writing code

What now?

Start with what you’re using, and what they’re using

Read the docs

Write the docs

Start small

  • good first issue
  • first-timers-only
  • documentation

How to…

Can I get the slides?