Open-source software is a type of software where the original source code of the software is made available freely and is published under a license so that users can download, modify and customize it according to their requirements or for research. Today open source is not only used by individuals but most multinational companies and organizations like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, etc. are heavily dependent on free and open-source software. Contributing to open source not only helps you sharpen your skills but also helps you develop a great hands-on experience with real-world problems while maintaining a great portfolio!
Contributing to open source seems daunting to beginners at first. According to a survey, close to 60% of newcomers do not know where to start from and more than 10% feel it is overwhelming at first. This may seem difficult initially since anyone can get confused after looking at a huge code base of open-source software or the open issues may not make sense to you. The best way to get started is to find issues that have a “newcomers”, “good first issue” or “easy” label. These issues are comparatively easy and therefore could serve to be a good starting point. Also, you can choose repositories that are beginner-friendly. Therefore, we will be discussing the top 7 open-source projects, especially for beginners so that you can get started!
Mozilla’s Firefox Source Tree contains dozens of projects on which you can get your hands dirty. Not only they are welcoming new contributors, but they also provide extensive documentation on how to contribute to their projects. Since the whole process seems long, they have a separate and dedicated channel where you can ask doubts and ask for help. On their documentation page, they have a column where they have specially mentioned websites, bugs, open issues, etc. for students and people who want to start contributing to open source.
While programming or building a project we all have used Visual Studio Code, isn’t it? So why not contribute to the software you have a great about! VS Code is a huge open-source software currently having more than five thousand open issues. This means there is a great scope for new beginners to find bugs that they can resolve and open other issues that they find while using VS Code itself. There are many ways in which you can contribute to their project. This can be either by submitting bugs, reviewing source code changes, submitting new feature requests, reviewing documentation and finding typos, or adding new content.
This powerful Python package is widely used in data manipulation and analysis and if you’re into data science, data analysis, or machine learning, you would have definitely used it. You can also contribute to the project activities as it currently has more than three thousand open issues to be resolved! The project is open to bug fixes, documentation improvements, and bug reports. They have a contributing guide and if the code seems confusing to you at first, try resolving issues in the documentation.
It is a Python module built over SciPy for machine learning. It also has a huge number of open issues and provides an issue tracker to get the latest updates about open issues so that you could jump right in to start contributing. The project welcomes contributors of all levels and has a development guide that lists information about contributing to the code base, documentation, tests, and more!
It is one of the most famous deep learning and machine learning libraries which is majorly used as a replacement for NumPy and as a deep learning reach platform providing a great deal of flexibility and speed. Since it has a 90-day release period, you can file a new issue if you find a bug. You can also contribute new features, utility functions, or extensions to the core by opening a new PR with discussion. It also has more than five thousand open issues, and therefore it could be a good place to start!
From the planning phase of your open source project to the final submission of your patch, participating in an open source software project is fun, rewarding, and can be interesting too. Whether you’re just starting out or are an experienced open source contributor, there are several tips and guidelines that you can follow to help get you started contributing to an OS project.
There’s still a lot of room for improvement as most open source projects are not as welcoming as they should be. However, over the last decade things have improved to a good extent and the level of professionalism has risen quite high. Non-developers can also find a niche and welcome place in the open source community. So get involved, contribute and prove yourself to be a valuable team player.
These were some repositories where you could get started with the issues marked for beginners. The projects are maintained by a lot of people who are always there to help. Not only that, but the open-source community is huge and there are people which will help you whenever you get stuck. So get going!