It's that time of the year, folks! The one that fills our hearts with a great sense of community and a shared motivation to contribute to the open source landscape. Whether your October is full of pumpkins or spring breezes, it's time for… HACKTOBERFEST!
What the 'hack' is Hacktoberfest?
Celebrated all across the globe annually, the trademark event of DigitalOcean is a 1-month open source festival encouraging people to participate actively and contribute to open source projects hosted across GitHub and GitLab.
After making four accepted pull requests to any participating repositories, Digital Ocean will reward you with a t-shirt, or if you choose to forgo the t-shirt, they will plant a tree in your name instead.
Ultimately, Hacktoberfest promotes contributing, managing, and sponsoring OpenSource projects.
Why contribute to Open Source? 🤔
If you are a seasoned open-source contributor or project maintainer, you might already know the answer to this question. But, if you are starting out in tech, then like everybody else, I am sure this would be your first question. And indeed, I won't blame you!
Suppose you started learning the Go programming language, and you are pretty excited with the scale and capability it provides. You have learned all the basic syntax and the programming paradigm and have even built some personal projects. What's next? Here's where open source can help you out. Take up issues from open source projects which use Go and start working on them. Working for open source organizations enhances your resume and helps you simulate a corporate software development lifecycle.
When you start solving issues, be it technical or non-technical, you are a part of the lifecycle. You get to meet fantastic community folks working unconditionally for their passion for open source. Once you become a contributor, you can also have regular meetings and learn how to work in a global team.
Regarding technical development, firstly, you get exposure to huge codebases generally consisting of multiple micro-services. Secondly, you get to learn the best industry practices while you try adding your code to the application. Due to numerous iterations of your pull request, you know the DOs and DON'Ts while writing code. And thirdly, you get the freedom to choose what you want to work on. When you start working for an MNC or a startup, you get an assigned project on which you have to work on. In open source, you neither get forced to do a particular task nor have a deadline to finish the job.
The open source world has become enormous, and open source software is being used everywhere. Recently it has been shown we only write 10% of the code, whereas we import 90% of it as dependencies. Most of these imported modules are open-source software. Developers who have started the applications always need someone to take over, so new contributors are always required in open source to keep the projects active. Ultimately, open source is about giving back to the community!
Imagine a time when your code helped solve an issue that thousands of users faced. How cool would it be to say: "Remember that huge bug because millions of users were complaining? Well, I fixed that and also added some new features 😎."
Impact of Hacktoberfest
The mission of Hacktoberfest is to motivate project maintainers, organization admins, and even seasoned developers to create issues, build a beginner-friendly environment, and help neophyte jumpstart. All issues created for Hacktoberfest have a label "Hacktoberfest" to make everyone's life easier. Last year, around 74,000 repositories had Hacktoberfest-labelled issues.
Two years later, 2.2 billion contributions to projects on GitHub from more than 65 million developers were made. Around 600k pull requests were tracked, and over 140k participants contributed to open source.
Not only is Hacktoberfest designed for beginners, but the fest also gets the attention of senior developers as well. Getting their attention helps organizations to complete projects faster and ship new versions. Last year Gatsby shipped version 4.0, Ember JS released 4.0, Streamlit released 1.0, and so on. The above chart shows the releases made during October of 2021.
How to Contribute?
The best part about open source is the community that welcomes your efforts, shares feedback, and always expresses gratitude for whatever little contribution we make.
There are a few steps to get you started with open source. Let me give you a simple guide. The first step is to decide that you want to contribute. Once you do that, you are halfway done. Now let's see the following steps:
Register for Hacktoberfest on their official website.
Check out projects participating in Hacktoberfest on GitHub. Type
label:hacktoberfest is:issue is:open or go to this link. If you want to code in a particular programming language, you can also add a language label. If you are a beginner and can't find good issues, you can add a
label:good first issue filter that filters out issues for beginners who want to contribute.
You can now comment on any issues you have selected and get them assigned to you. You can say something like, "Hey! I am interested in working on this. Could you please assign it to me?". If you feel the issue requirements are not clear enough, you can even start conversations and ask questions in the comments on the issue.
Submit a pull request. Try and submit at least four pull requests and wait for them to be verified. The maintainers might ask you to make some changes or give you feedback on your PR, so the process of the PR being accepted might take longer than you think, depending on the quality of the PR. And that's it! You're done! 🥳
Registrations are now open and will be available till October 31st in any time zone. It is necessary to sign up on the official Hacktoberfest website for your pull requests to count.
What's new this year?
Open source contributions aren't just for technical folks who wish to write code. There are many opportunities for using your professional skills to support open-source projects. This year, Hacktoberfest is trying to encourage contributions that require zero to some technical experience. This means no matter your experience, you can participate in Hacktoberfest!
Here are some ways you can contribute without coding:
|WRITING||Technical Documentation||Translating and copy editing|
|DESIGN||Testing||UX testing, graphic design, video production|
|ADVOCACY||Talks, presentations, technical blog posts, podcasts, case studies||Social media, blog posts|
How to earn a Swag Kit?
Before we see the how let's have a look at the prize! 🎁
You get a lot of stickers and an awesome T-shirt. You even had the opportunity to plant a tree in your name and help Hacktoberfest 2022 be carbon neutral. Now, let's get back to the question of how we can get one.
For your PR to count, it must be submitted in a public repository, and the project maintainer should label the PR. In addition to that, the PR will count if it has been submitted to a repository labeled
hacktoberfest and merged or approved by the project maintainer.
T-shirts are awarded to the first 40,000 participants who completed the Hacktoberfest challenge on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive a mail when you complete the challenge.
In past years, T-shirts have arrived in December or January, depending on how far you lived from San Francisco. The Digital Ocean team will contact you later, asking for your shipping address and shirt size. Please be patient with the swags as they are shipping thousands of shirts, so that the process might take a while.
Don't miss this tremendous opportunity! Get a limited edition T-shirt and a jumpstart to open source!
What you need to keep in mind
- Pull requests can be submitted to any repository with the
hacktoberfestlabel on GitHub or GitLab.
- The pull request must contain commits from you only.
- If a maintainer reports your pull request as "spam" or "invalid," it will not be counted as an accepted PR for Hacktoberfest.
- If a maintainer reports behavior that's not in line with the project's code of conduct, you will be ineligible to participate.
- To get a shirt, you must make four approved pull requests (PRs) on opted-in projects between October 1-31 in any time zone.
- This year, the first 40,000 participants can earn a T-shirt.
- Whenever you want to contribute to a project and plan to work on issues, ensure you get the case assigned before you start working on the issue.
What not to do?
In line with Hacktoberfest value "quantity is fun, quality is key," here are examples of the PRs that we consider to be low-quality contributions (which are discouraged):
- PRs that are automated (e.g., scripted opening PRs to remove whitespace/optimize images)
- PRs that are disruptive (e.g., taking someone else's branch/commits and making a PR)
- PRs that a project maintainer regards as a hindrance vs. helping
- Something that's an attempt to simply +1 your PR count for October
- Last, one PR to fix a typo is OK. 5 PRs to remove stray whitespace… it's not.
You can join the Hacktoberfest discord server to connect with the community and network with other open-source enthusiasts, ask questions and find projects join the server.
More ways to contribute?
Apart from being a contributor, there are two crucial roles in open source - maintainers and sponsors. Without the maintainers, there are no project contributors who can send pull requests!
Maintainers are keystones of Open Source.
Hacktoberfest 2022 has a new, added focus: empowering open source maintainers.
- Maintainers decide which projects participate. They can simply opt-in by adding the
#hacktoberfestproject topic to their repository.
- If you're maintaining and participating in an open source project, you can now win the same thank you gifts (trees > tees, etc.) as the contributors. Don't forget to register!
- If your project is registered through GitHub Sponsors or OpenCollective, sponsors can view your project and help you out through the donation page.
How Can Mergify Help Maintainers?
Suppose you are a previous Hacktoberfest maintainer or plan to maintain a project during Hacktoberfest. In that case, I must warn you about the traffic you would be getting. Contributors are super-pumped to push in their code or content in your repository. Handling all the PRs manually can be time intensive and leave room for many errors.
Teams at Shopify, Uber, and almost every other company have faced the same issue with merging and found the same tool to solve the problem. Nowadays, many engineering teams and open source projects include merge queues in their workflows.
If you are confused about how you tackle so many problems with little time on your hand, we have a solution for you. Use Mergify 🦾. It would help you improve the code merging process by defining workflows, queueing merges, and removing manual interventions.
Mergify has many features, including a merge queue feature that is super easy to set up and configure according to our needs. It's forever free for open-source projects. Give this a read if you don't know how to use Mergify.
Mergify is bringing in some fabulous projects to promote the open source culture among new developers. Follow Mergify on GitHub to keep an eye on what changes we bring to make the world flow in sync with the tag "Hacktoberfest."