Every day, more and more open source projects appear in the software landscape. But not only that, communities of volunteers from all over the world revolve around these projects to support their growth and development. And we, the end users, benefit from this collaboration by having access to free (or at least affordable) software to help us get things done and take care of business.
And, if you’re particularly passionate about a certain project, you can contribute without ever touching a line of code — more about that below. In this article, you’ll find an eclectic mix of open source projects you should keep on your radar. Maybe you’ll just enjoy using these tools, or you may want to contribute.
The Best Ways to Follow Open Source Projects
If you find an open source project you’re interested in, there are many ways to follow along with its progress. Most open source projects will have a website or a blog that is updated regularly. (Tip: check to see if the blog has an RSS feed.)
Likewise, a lot of open source projects are hosted on GitHub. If you you have a GitHub account you can follow individual projects and receive updates. You can also issues, and even your own code.
You don’t have to be a developer to contribute to an open source project — though if you are a developer, it’s a great way to help out. There are many other ways to contribute. You can submit issues, bugs, or feature requests. You can also write documentation or wiki pages.
This public domain app, written in the python scripting language, allows you to download videos from YouTube. If you need to archive a video for various reasons, this utility makes it easy. However, this script requires a command prompt or terminal emulator, and so it may not be preferable for those who prefer a graphical user interface (GUI).
But how is this most useful? Imagine you uploaded some videos to YouTube, but you lost access to the account. You could contact YouTube support, but this could be a long and tedious process. With youtube-dl, you can archive your videos and save them locally, in the cloud, or you can re-upload them to another YouTube channel that you manage.
Likewise, if you find yourself in a situation in which you need to extract a clip from a video on YouTube to use in your own work, this script will help you accomplish the task—provided that your usage is compliant with fair use provisions.
Plain and simple, you should be learning and watching Git.
Git is one of the most popular version control systems in the open source landscape. And it’s the backbone of the GitHub website, which is basically a host for projects managed with Git.
According to Open Hub, Git is highly rated for security and has developed a mature codebase worth to attract a long-term commitment. So you don’t have to worry about learning Git only to see it abandoned by its many contributors.
If you’re interested in contributing to Git you will need to be familiar with the C language.
You can get updates on the Git project by following the official newsletter.
Have you ever gone to the Internet to search for a recipe, found one that looks good, and picked it from the search engine results only to find that the page is taking forever to load? And once it does load, it is obscured by ads so large that you can’t view the recipe itself?
So if you’re looking for a new recipe to try you could do worse than to check this project out. You can also submit your own recipe.
Where WordPress goes, most of the Internet follows. WordPress has swallowed up the majority of market share with regard to content management systems. And we at InMotion Hosting have a whole hosting package that specializes in serving a fast WordPress experience. If you want to understand, and have never done it before, WordPress is definitely the best way to start.
Contribution to the WordPress project involves the coordination of many individuals from around the world in a variety of different functions. You have theme and plugin developers as well as core contributors. You also have marketers and writers. All of these skilled professionals bring their talents to help grow and develop WordPress across these many dimensions.
To follow along with the WordPress project, you have a lot of options:
- WP Tavern
- This popular blog focuses on WordPress and the open source community around it.
- The official WordPress.org support forums provide a way of getting help for WordPress itself or the many plugins and themes hosted by WordPress. You can get or give support by participating here.
- Five for the Future
- A benchmark for contribution, this initiative encourages individuals and/or organizations to give 5% of their resources to WordPress.
Finally, NGINX is becoming one of the most popular open source web servers out there. InMotion Hosting uses NGINX as part of our optimized WordPress hosting stack.
When comparing various web servers, what are you talking about? Uptime, right? NGINX has earned a passionate community of users who have built large fleets of servers and experienced very high uptime through services like load balancing and reverse proxy caching.
You can follow along with the NGINX community via the official NGINX blog, and there is also a GitHub mirror.
More Information on Open Source Projects
Check out these other resources from the support center: