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The best place to look for open source projects that you can get excited about, is http://www.sourceforge.net
Some questions that one might consider when picking a project are:
1. How excited are you about what the team is doing?
2. What skills can you bring to the project?
3. What skills would you like to gain on the project?
4. What is the size of the project team? (small teams hopefully give you more mindshare from key developers).
As for language, pick a project in any language you are comfortable with or in a language you are interested in becoming proficient in.
I agree with Cohan. I’d also add http://www.freshmeat.net/ as a place to look for projects.
As well as being interested in both the language and the project, you also need to find a project whose lead is enthusiastic to have you on board and is will to take the time to help you out when you need it.
I’ve posted some more thoughts on this on my blog at http://jtauber.com/blog/2005/12/26/contributing_to_open_source_python_projects
Burning Thirteen is finding an artistic challenge for 2013
If you are not sure what or how to start, I would recommend writing small projects for yourself. Even if it seems too small or stupid at the time, do it. It will get you in the habit, give you ideas and may lead to something bigger.
This way you may start your own project or discover exactly what you are looking for and then search for it on Sourceforge, freshmeat or even Rubyforge (if you are interested in Ruby)
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