More than 46k people participate in Hacktoberfest 2018

The fifth-annual event marks solid growth in participants, pull requests, community events, sponsors, and more.
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Lots of people in a crowd.

The fifth-annual Hacktoberfest, the month-long event that encourages people around the world to contribute to open source projects during October, was a tremendous success.

During October 2018, 46,088 participants completed the Hacktoberfest challenge: making at least five pull requests (PR) to any public repository on GitHub. This is a 44% increase over 2017 participation levels, even though this year's event required five pull requests instead of the previous four. Everyone who completes the challenge is rewarded with a free, limited-edition Hacktoberfest t-shirt.

Hacktoberfest showed its global reach—participants hailed from 143 countries (based on their shipping address). Additionally, 267 community-organized Hacktoberfest events (a 124% increase over 2017) were held in 50 different countries.

Participants opened 412,324 PRs to 106,582 repositories, an increase of 71% and 66%, respectively, over 2017. They accounted for roughly 25% of all PRs opened on GitHub in October.

Because PRs don't have to be labeled in any way, it's difficult to tell what kinds of contributions were made; however, of the 7,442 pull requests labeled "Hacktoberfest," approximately 27% were JavaScript, 17% were Python, and 16% were HTML. And 90% of those PRs were closed.

Growing sponsorship

The event's growth was evident even before it began when Twilio joined DigitalOcean and GitHub as a sponsor. Twilio is "widely recognized for their work shepherding developer communities," says Daniel Zaltsman, developer relations manager at DigitalOcean. "Having Twilio on board gave us the promotional reach and the funds to expand the program to the numbers we see today."

Microsoft also participated by offering its own T-shirt giveaway for anyone who submitted a PR to a Microsoft open source repository. Since Microsoft's open source repos are hosted on GitHub, these PRs also counted toward the five PRs required to complete the Hacktoberfest challenge.

Building community

Hacktoberfest promotes not just contributions, but community. A participant at an event in India told Digital Ocean: "This year's Hacktoberfest was a blast! We got lots of our college mates to learn how to use Git and make a pull request. We organized a successful Hacktoberfest event in our college with over 100 people participating and more than half of them ending up making a pull request, most of them being freshman."

Hacktoberfest "is about creating an inclusive community that builds together to make the world a better place," Zaltsman wrote on the DigitalOcean blog. "What happened during Hacktoberfest will have a lasting impact on people long after October 2018. This is why quality is preferred to quantity and why we'll continue to improve the program to support this core value."

One of the improvements the team is working on for 2019 is reducing invalid pull requests, which accounted for about 3% of this year's contributions. But Zaltsman says the custom t-shirt rewards will remain a part of Hacktoberfest in 2019 and beyond.

Ben Cotton is a meteorologist by training, but weather makes a great hobby. Ben works as the Fedora Program Manager at Red Hat. He co-founded a local open source meetup group, and is a member of the Open Source Initiative and a supporter of Software Freedom Conservancy. Find him on Twitter (@FunnelFiasco) or at

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