Essential Features of an Ideal Open Source Contributor

Open source leaves a lot of room for flexibility and creativity. It makes programming more enjoyable for developers. Different developers get connected with each other when they are working in the open source community. Developers contribute differently to the open source community. Great contributors stand away from the crowd due to a number of traits. It is not necessary that only a person having expert technical knowledge can contribute greatly. In this article, I present some factors that are important for an open source project’s contributor:

Ability to Write Well:

All communications in open source are through the written word. Be it documentation, bug reports, discussion on implementation, almost everything is written. What you write must be understandable by people. Clear communication is essential to voice out your creative ideas. Contribution of code must accompany documentation. Patches should have a summary description of the changes made or new things introduced in the code. Clear explanations of the actions increase the chances of your project acceptance. If it is easy for users to understand your documentation then people will readily go with it.

A Bias for Action:

Great contributors not only report bugs, but also try to solve them. They write a bug report, which includes a fix or provide a patch to the documentation. Though reporting a bug is an important part in improving software, taking an action to fix it makes you an ideal contributor.

Poise and Diligence:

The open source community gets the contribution of different people with different priorities. If one person has an urgent need to fix a bug, it doesn’t imply that everyone on the team can drop whatever they are doing and go on to fix the bug. People with different priorities exist on the team. They may also have something important to do than fixing bug for you on a short notice. Hence, it is important to maintain poise of mind and have loads of patience if you wish to be a great contributor.

Team Spirit:

The pen source project is not run by an individual. Most of the projects are being handled by a bunch of contributors. The contribution of each contributor may be varying. A great contributor understands and acknowledges the contributions, queries and concerns of every individual on the user base, irrespective of the technical skills possessed by them. Every contribution holds a value.

On the other hand, great contributors should also respect the contribution made by them. Raising ideas at regular intervals makes the team feel that you are interested in the project.