Join, code, contribute

Feeling generous? Open source software community gives shelter to code

Sarah Schlothauer
open source
© Shutterstock / Genevieve de Messieres

Open source communities have never been as bustling, and joining the fray has never been easier. Are you looking for a new project to work on? Do you have some code that you’d like to donate? We take a look at some organizations that deserve a time in the sun and your attention.

In the spirit of giving, how can you help support free and open source software? We all know about the big names such as Apache, the Linux Foundation, and The Eclipse Foundation. But let’s explore some of the other open source communities out there dedicated to the world of FOSS.

CodeShelter adopts old projects

Take refuge from the bitter cold and bring your code to a warm, welcome place. Code Shelter is “a collective of volunteer software developers that aims to help with maintaining popular open source projects whose authors no longer have time to”. If you have open source code, don’t leave it out in the cold. Donate it to the shelter!

Projects hosted on GitHub and GitLab can be released to Code Shelter by giving them access to the repository and releases. (The FAQ states that support for BitBucket is coming soon.) Donaters have nothing to fear about adding their project because according to Code Shelter, “You are always in control, but you will have extra help from our maintainers”. Find out how to add a project here.

Don’t have a project to donate? There is also the option to become a maintainer. However, not all applications will be accepted and high quality work, as well as trustworthiness, is expected. Code Shelter asks that potential maintainers have made “significant open source contributions of their own”. Of course, this is a vague term, and we do not have any information on how much is expected. The pros of this mindset is the knowledge that any donated code will stay safe and creators know that their projects are in capable hands.

Think you’re up for the task? Apply! There’s nothing to lose.

SEE ALSO: “Red Hat being acquired by IBM proves that open source software company value has reached a new high water mark”

Currently, some of the adopted projects under Code Shelter’s wing are: angular-timer, tbvaccine, microchatter, and several others.

The FSF fights for free software

The Free Software Foundation made headlines in January 2018 when they received a 91.45 Bitcoin donation from the Pineapple Fund. (That’s valued around $1 million USD!)

FSF has had a hand in the open source game since 1985 and is always looking for new community members.

Together, FSF maintains LibrePlanet and offers local groups of open source contributors. Take a look at their current campaigns and see how you can help the FSF achieve some of these goals.

Join the The Document Foundation

Chances are, you’ve heard of LibreOffice and used it for all your word processing needs. The open source alternative to Microsoft Word is much beloved and for a good reason.

While you can donate a monetary amount to cover all the college papers that you typed up using their software, have you considered applying for membership? The Document Foundation’s board of trustees help contribute their skills to great open source projects used around the world. Find out more about membership and what it entails.

Besides knowing that you’re supporting a great cause, members also get a email address. (Honestly, isn’t that prestige reason enough to apply?)

FOSSASIA incubates around Asia

Sometimes the Internet can feel a little United States-centric. For open source contributors out of Asia, FOSSASIA is focused on community and incubating projects. They host events such as Science Hack Days, and summits around the continent. Students looking to expand their open source horizons should look into their University internship programs.

SEE ALSO: Securing the future of open source

Check them out on GitHub to see what they are currently working on.

Jazzband maintains Python projects

Tune your instruments, because Jazzband is “a collaborative community to share the responsibility of maintaining Python-based projects”.  Jazzband and CodeShelter have similar goals. Code authors can release their project to Jazzband in order to keep it going when they can no longer find the time necessary to work on it.

Currently, the community helps maintain over 30 projects. Be sure to read the guidelines and see what is expected of all the band members.

Of course, we can’t possibly mention all of the great communities focused on open source software. There’s just too many, and that’s a great thing!

What are your favorite organizations that we missed? How else can people help keep open source code alive and well?

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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