Developers Assemble! We are twelve days away from Hacktoberfest 2020. I will join the fest for the third consecutive time in this unholy year 2020. Weirdly enough, in spite of the whole lockdown-induced pandemonium, I did not do much open-source lately. However, I spent some of that time learning Go which I intend to polish during this Hacktoberfest 2020 edition.
What is Hacktoberfest? The principle is simple. You have 31 days throughout October to submit five pull requests in order to gain a t-shirt and bragging rights as a proud open-source contributor. Basically you get some IRL evidence of your open-source contributions outside of using a Patreon or that daily pumpkin spice latte from all your Github Sponsors. Also it can be a good distraction that will give you a break from the insane news cycle.
I won’t pretend that going writing some code for free will fix your problems. However, this could help fix real-life issues. As you may know, I have been working in quite a few domains building solutions, sometimes using open-source software. And I know for a fact that it isn’t something specific to myself, my colleagues nor employer, open-source usage is widespread. This tiny bugfix you wrote six months ago might be powering some medical device that is saving lives today. Chances are that you will never know about it, but you need to be aware it is a possibility. However, know that it doesn’t apply if your PR is just about writing your name in a README file to cheat the system.
How do you join though? First and foremost, you need to be able to write code. If you can’t you’re more likely to join the ranks of these valueless PRs makers that want bragging rights for no reasons. You wouldn’t sport the merch of a karate dojo to enjoy the clout of their big tournament win without putting in the work, would you?
If you don’t know how to code, however, there are a wealth of free tutorials you can grab on OpenClassrooms (a little website that helped me a lot when I started learning dev during my IT school years which I will always remember as that little french website named lesiteduzer0). If you’re ready to shed a few quids, you can find some classes on Udemy as well. You’ve got 12 days to learn. Good luck!
Know how to code? Check. Now what? Next, you need a Github account and when the time comes, link it to the contest. Then in terms of actually contributing, Github as a comprehensive guide on contributing to open-source in general which is a great place to start. Once you went through it, you can find hacktoberfest issues because they will be tagged “hacktoberfest”.
Where to find issues? There is a couple of places to find accessible issues that anyone can solve. The first is the bug-hunting/fixing platform Huntr which I wrote about before and the second is the Up for Grabs website. There are definitely more places so don’t hesitate to share them with me.
Want more info on the contest? You can check out my 2018 and 2019 posts about Hacktoberfest. If you need even more details, go on DigitalOcean’s Hacktoberfest website. In the meantime, I’m just gonna wait here until I can open a few PRs to add a new free t-shirt to my collection. The white&pink style pick for Hacktoberfest 2020 will look great with my hair. Peace!