Anyone here involved in any open source projects?
If so what do you do in the project and how did you go about getting involved in it?
I would like to improve my programming skills and also gain some competence in a new area, so having been looking at sites like freshmeat.org.
Is it hard to contribute?
I might be naive because I haven't been largely involved in any large open source projects (the furthest is creating an add-on module and submitting bug reports), but I will write about my opinions and observations.
Large open source projects that are very established (which means having a rather large number of users and developers) usually have their own "barrier" of entering the developer inner circle, not because they have monopoly but more on how hard it is to understand and contribute substantially to the project code (small contributions are important, but they don't entitle you a significant person for the project). However, open source works by meritocracy, so you can first help in small things like testing and reporting bugs, move on to creating patches, then try to tackle "critical issues" in the project (for example, implementing a much-needed feature, fixing a serious bug, or manage the community better). Also, if you become prominent in a project then you will have a kind of authority over the project (such as the ease of people to accept your ideas) but in the same time a huge responsibility.
I heard that Frihost has already started a project of its own the FriMS CMS. I think it would be easier to contribute to smaller projects like that, and your contribution will shine through (especially because very few people already made it).
Thanks for the reply, some great info. I´ve been doing my own searching around and they all more or less suggest something along the lines you´ve already mentioned.
The one important thing they added was to work on something that really interests you, start off testing, become active in the forums helping other people along and work your way up that way.
I´m not expecting to be making contributions to the linux kernel or something major like that but I do see working on an open-source project as another means to developing competence in an area especially if your current work doesnt allow you to work in that area much.