Contributing to large open-source projects

Hello everyone,

Recently I was in discussion with some enthusiastic students and many of them were keen to know how to contrinute to large opensource projects. These people are self-learners, already contribute couple of small opensource projects, some of them did GSoC and have built resonably complex applications themselves.

I thought it may be a good idea to run a series of sessions inviting the people who are already contributing to large opensource projects like Linux kernel, Python, postgres, prometheus etc. to give a talk about their journey and interact with the students.

I’ve asked @Devdutt, one of the students who initiated that discussion, to take the initiative to run these sessions, taking care of all the logistics of hosting, recording and outreach along with other vounteers and he happily agreed.

I would like to hear inputs and comments from everyone before moving foward.


Large projects like Firefox allow for multiple types of contribution. I’m sure the speakers will bring that up even though an individual’s journey might be what made the best sense for that individual.

Considering that, it might make sense to add a section after individual journey where the speaker talks about various contribution pathways in the project.


I agree. I’m assuming the speaker would be wise enough to share all those details. I’m sure the students will ask so many more questions and the best out of the speaker.


The projects I contribute to/manage contributions to are in no way “large open source projects” but I’m interested in being involved. Ref if people find them interesting.


Hey all, so we have created a group to coordinate activities related to our planned FOSS contribution, experience sharing sessions.

While this is yet another telegram group, we hope to make it a proper, no non-sense, positive place with strong restrictions on what messages are allowed.

The plan for this group is to function as a drop-in chat room for AMAs with our guest speakers. The sessions will be spaced out and there will be ample time within which one can pose questions to the speaker, who may at their discretion post their answers here, or on the livestream/teleconference that we plan to conduct on a schedule, twice a month.

What we expect to get from speakers:

  • A brief on the focus project/repo.
  • A gentle introduction to the field/area of interest surrounding the project.
  • Their contribution story, with code showcase and notes on interesting learnings.
  • Where is the project headed and how can beginners help?
  • Am I the right contributor?
  • Lots more.

Come join us and learn from contributors involved with some really interesting projects!

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I would like to update everyone about the first session of the First Commit series with Goutham Veeramachaneni, it seemed to have been a successful first attempt at creating content to help answer doubts of new contributors. The discussion was streamed on the FOSSUnited YouTube channel.

For the sake of documentation, let me mention the process I followed for curating this session:

  • Did some research on his work and found some articles on the internet. This helped me write a short profile, which we posted on
  • Spent some time framing a few questions that came to mind, talked with him and @Anand to prepare a reusable framework for the sessions, created a form to collect community questions in advance.
  • Created a YouTube stream and with help from @Ganeshaaa created reusable promotional material. Used the room created by @WishArya to host Office Hours where the speaker interacted with the focus project maintainers, discussing the project and sharing his own journey as a maintainer, Vishal also helped with publishing onto all FOSSUnited social media.
  • Released promotional material not more than a week in advance of the session, speaker’s retweet helped generate some interest we might not have seen otherwise.
  • Have asked Sreeram Venkatesh to help out by writing a condensed form article of the discussion.