Contributing to Open Source

I’ve used Open Source for a little over ten years now. I’ve been sufficiently indoctrinated that Open Source (Free Software) is both morally and technically the right choice. That’s not what this post is about. If you disagree with those premises, that’s fine. The idea here is that I use all kinds of Free Software all the time. I use Vim for a text editor. I use zsh as a shell. Firefox is my browser. This blog runs on Wordpress. The webserver we use at work is Apache. And the of course all of our code depends on Perl and numerous libraries.

We don’t pay for any of that software! Not a dime! And that’s fine, but nothing comes for free.

So far I’ve worked on three open source projects. The first was TOME, a book sharing system we used at school. Next I wrote some of the spec tests for Perl 6. And then most recently I’ve been doing some things for DBIx::Class.

One of the excellent things about the DBIx::Class developer community is that they really do their best to help you to work on the source.yourself. Recently they (or more specifically ribasushi) helped me add the full sorting capabilities to the SQL Server parts of DBIx::Class. More lately I’ve been adding things for the paging capabilities, which is great because paging with SQL Server is horrendous.

Anyway, the most important part of all of this is that I am part of something that will help me and other people. Furthermore, it really wasn’t that hard to add the code. They showed me where to add it, did a little code review to help me clean it up, and that was it! If only more communities were like that the Open Source world might be even more vibrant.

Posted Thu, Jun 11, 2009