Open source software is developed by hobbyists and professionals alike. In fact, 65% of respondents to this year's GitHub open source survey who make contributions to open source projects do so as part of their job. However, the survey indicates that employers often lack a clear policy on employee contributions. A new project from GitHub aims to increase contributions to open source projects and to educate employers on why it's important.
Stemming from an idea developed by Andrew Nesbitt (of 24 Pull Requests) and GitHub's Mike McQuaid, Open Source Friday is about sustainable effort. But, Open Source Friday isn't a hackathon; it's a weekly reminder to give some time back to the projects that power your daily work.
McQuaid says the project has a simple goal: "An increased number of people contributing to open source on Fridays and a conversation starting and continuing in how open source contribution during work hours is essential for businesses to encourage." In line with these goals, Open Source Friday has no prizes or swag to giveaway. The site just shows a user's activity.
Although the main target is contributions made during regular business hours, it's open to anyone who wants to make a contribution. "We do hope to attract everyone from first-time and sporadic contributors... to active maintainers," McQuaid told Opensource.com. The Open Source Friday website includes links to help new contributors learn about participating in open source projects, as well as suggestions for finding a project to work on. It also includes resources to help project maintainers make their project welcoming to new contributors.
And of course, because it is geared toward workplace contributions, the Open Source Friday website has resources for employers. The businesses page offers simple explanations for how open source benefits a company. GitHub's annual survey "revealed that significant numbers of people use open source at work and found it important to getting their current role but are unclear how to do so in their workplace," McQuaid said. "Open Source Fridays provides a framework for this work during work hours and explanations of why it's important for businesses to embrace this approach."
Open Source Friday publicly launched today. Participation is free and requires a GitHub account.