Open Source Contributions

OSD600 Week 2 Deliverable

The world of Open Source communities is a special, magical place for developers to collaborate and contribute to projects that has the chance to affect millions of people. We, as a technologically driven generation have integrated applications into our lives that, developers built on top the foundations of open source platforms. With this statement, it’s easier to understand how a single algorithmic improvement to a code base shared among thousands of applications may benefit not just the developer, or the primary user of the program itself, but the entire populous which works with these applications daily, unaware of said applications dependence on the program you just contributed performance improvements and bug fixes to.

Contributions can improve a great many things, such as adding comments to others code, translating documentation, bug fixes and testing, performance improvements, new features, and specific requests from the development community such as migrations, integration and refactoring of code bases. With this, even the simplest addition of a key:value pair can benefit an application where appropriate. Take for example, popular npm packages such as glob, request, and mysql had a crucially important key:value pair missing from their package.json file (which is meta data read by npm for package discovery and information). Each missed the keywords element, which would allow others to search using general terms and discover said packages. Though these packages are popular, with some being install other 10,000 times a day currently, this element could potentially make or break the success of a package. In OSD600, our open source lab was to find and contribute the -missing-keyword fixes to packages that lacked said element, doing so with pull requests that followed the contribution paradigm set by the developers.

One critical platform stands among the rest for revolutionary Open Source projects, that being Linux. I’ve attached a video to this post explaining how Linux is built, which was published by the Linux Foundation in 2012. Needless to say, the potential that is enabled through Open Source is incredible.

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