I am currently working on an open source project idea and am planning to release an initial version of it soon on github. 14 months ago
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How I did it: Created an account in sourceforge.net, and searched for which projects were needing help with what. Since the ones that actually needed coding didn't exactly interested me (either because I didn't have the skills, or I plain didn't find the project interesting), I joined in translations.
Helped with translating the wiki from a new programming language from french to english, and made the translation of a RSS manager (RSSOwl) from english to portuguese. It was an interesting experience! Read how I did it… 4 months ago
How I did it: In a word maybe it was GIT. The model used by GIT makes it very easy to contribute to open source projects because you can just "fork" the code and then request that your change be examined and incorporated.
This took me quite a few years because the older model meant first spending time proving yourself, building a relationship, and then being accepted onto the list of committers - and mostly I was just too busy.
But the other way was simply by being passionate about software, specifically about JENKINS, and then finding something that I wanted to fix. Small, yes, but then I spent several hours last night and this morning just getting familiar with the right commands to do what I needed to submit my fix.
It helped also having some familiarity with maven and java. Read how I did it… 13 months ago