Getting Started: How to contribute to open source

Rikki Endsley

ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange

Aug 19, 2010 GMT
Rikki Kite

Ruth Suehle wrote an on that can help you wade into the world of contributing to open source: Ready to be an open source contributor but don't know where to start? Ruth recommends and explains OpenHatch.

How is it that I've never visited before? The site allows you to find a bug you want to work on, ask for a bug to be assigned to you, create a contributors page for your project, find people to work with near you, and much more.

I clicked on “What projects are my neighbors working on?” Find contributors near you in hopes of finding some people in my area. There are a few people listed around here, but I'd love to see more.

UPDATED: I got really excited when I saw the Find a mentor link. I wrote about how hard it can be to find a mentor in our September issue, and OpenHatch looked promising. Unfortunately, I clicked the link and discovered that there are zero people listed as mentors. UPDATE: Thanks to a quick bug fix from the OpenHatch folks, you can now see 43 people who have offered to be mentors.

Have you heard about OpenHatch before, and if so, what do you think about it? And if this is the first time you've heard about the site, do you plan to use it?

Thanks for telling us about OpenHatch, Ruth!


  • Updated post!

    Thanks for the bug fix! I'm glad to see 43 people already offering to be mentors, and I updated the post. Hopefully that list will grow quickly as more people hear about this great idea.
  • I just fixed the "0 mentors" problem...

    Hey Rikki! Glad to see you discovered the site. The "0 mentors" thing was a bug; just fixed it!

    When you said there are 0 mentors, I thought, "That can't be right...." Turns out that the front page linked to search for "can_mentor=C", which returns 0 hits. That's invalid syntax for our search engine. Searching for "can_mentor:C" returns 43 people (right now).

    So I fixed the problem by correcting the link on the front page.

    I'm really glad you gave it a look! The site is an active open source project, with a GSoC student and community contributors. We're always looking for more feedback, and we really encourage people to hang out on #openhatch on We have big dreams about making the community friendlier, and we can always use more people involved on the project. gives more ways to join the discussion.

    We're also working with another group, Teaching Open Source, that's very active. They have a similarly radical mission -- get more students to active within the free software community. They're at
  • OpenHatc mentors is fixed

    OpenHatch's mentors link should be fixed now.
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