I'd like to help the OpenSource community, but I need your help

I'd like to help the OpenSource community, but I need your help

Come and say hi, I promiss the idea is a nice one!

Fernando Doglio's photo
Fernando Doglio
·May 12, 2022·

6 min read

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Getting into OpenSource is hard.

Think about it, it’s 2022 and getting into Open-Source is not only “not trivial” but actually hard.

This is not acceptable.

OpenSource powers a great portion of the software that is used across the globe, but we still have no proper way of dealing with an OSS workflow — at least not in a standard way.

Let’s see if we can do something about it.


Getting into OpenSource is not trivial

Mind you, there are multiple ways of getting into it, but they’re not good enough — at least not in my opinion.

People can help you

On one side, you have people who do all they can to help. People like Eddie Jaoude who runs a huge community of developers trying to actively help each other.

On the upside, a community of people that help each other is a fantastic way to get in. Maybe ask specific questions and get recommendations. Some people from those communities might write articles, and share videos, they’ll give you all you need to get started.

But having the info doesn’t mean you can find the right project to help with. Because finding a project is not as easy as opening Github and clicking on the first recommended project. What happens if that project hasn’t been updated in the last year? Would you want to spend your time on it? Or what if it’s filled with reported issues, but they’re not attended to by the repo’s owner? Finding the right repo is not a trivial task.

There are some apps

There are apps out there that show you the door, like GoodFirstIssue where you can get a list of issues labeled as good-first-issue . This is a common practice in some repos to show newcomers where they can get started .

This is a fantastic way to start.

But what happens afterward? What if those projects are stale and not maintained anymore? We’re back to the problem from before. How do you know these repos are good for you?

Mind you, you can go directly to the source

Of course, you can use Github directly and search for OSS projects to contribute to.

After all, they have most of the information and their search is quite nice.

But you only get results, it’s up to you to make sense of them and find the right project on your own. That’s work you have to do to get into it. Do you have the time? Do you trust your lack of experience in OSS to make that decision?


And here is where the real problem comes in

What if you’re not a developer, but rather, a startup with an OSS project looking for contributors?

Companies that have OSS projects usually need a community to form around those projects. And they need part of that community to find their projects and contribute to them. KPIs like Github Stars, number of Forks, reported Issues and more are crucial for them to showcase how great their product is (after all those metrics show engagement from their target audience) to their investors.

How are companies finding OSS developers right now? They’re either using some kind of content-based marketing strategy (i.e a tech blog) to get in their face, which takes time and lots of effort/money. Or even worse, they’re contacting them directly asking for help. And I’m sure we can all guess how well that works (spoiler alert, it doesn’t).

Out of all parties involved, new companies with OSS projects have it worst. Ironic, isn’t it?


Wouldn’t it be nice…

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a single place where developers could find the best projects for them to contribute to AND have companies find the right developers for their projects?

A place where companies can publish their OSS projects and developers can find out about them, but also, get updated stats about them. Things like:

  • Average time to resolution of issues to know how active the maintainers are.
  • A commit timeline to understand how often the repo is updated.
  • The number of forks and stars, to get an idea of how popular the repo is.

And many other metrics that will give you the certainty that your time will be spent working for a project that will benefit from it.

That’s what I want to build for the OSS community


Looking for Pull Requests

Where open-source projects and contributors come to find each another

imagen.png One of them is you, the other is the company owning the OSS project, get it?

I know, it’s a silly comparison, but the idea is that this will be a place for developers looking to get into OSS can easily do so. And companies looking for help, can also find developers already looking for them.

In other words:

  • Are you a Developer? Find the best OSS projects and get updates from them.
  • Are you a startup? Find the ideal developer eager to contribute to your project.

This will be a free service for developers, and companies will pay a small monthly fee, mainly because this is going to cost money and I’m not made out of it (that would be cool though).

I’ve created a landing page to validate the idea, and I would love it if some of you could take a look and tell me what you think.

I need to validate this idea before I embark on months and months of development so if you could just check it out it would help me quite a lot:

https://lookingforpullrequests.carrd.co/

imagen.png

But wait, there is more!


The vision

The features listed on the landing page show the starting point of how I’m hoping to launch version 1 of “Looking for Pull Requests”.

That said, this is a project I’ve had in mind for almost a decade (I’m not lying, I built a version of it in 2017), so I’m not planning on stopping here. If things work out (and I’m counting on you to help me get there), I want to turn LFPR into a Medium for OSS developers.

I know, I keep making senseless comparisons but hear me out.

Medium takes a portion of the $5 members pay monthly, and distributes it amongst all read articles. That way, if you’re a writer for the platform, you can earn money for your work.

I want OSS developers to get money for their contributions. My end goal for this platform is to take part of the monthly income generated by the paying companies and distribute it amongst all developers who end up working for them.

I think this model would turn OSS into a valid way of living for some people, but to get there, I first need to launch version 1 and make it viable.

Would you like to earn money for your contributions? Let’s start by getting “Looking for Pull Requests” built and deployed!


If this idea gets validated, I’ll be sharing my progress publicly on Twitter, so make sure to follow me, I think we’ll all benefit from it.

Do you have questions? Ideas? Leave a comment down below, all feedback is welcome at this point!

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