In early 2009, as the stories of many websites begin, a few college friends were considering what kind of project they might start together. In this particular case, the result was OpenHatch.
OpenHatch is a place for developers who want to be involved in open source but don't know where to start. You can go to the site and search for a way to contribute based on a language you know or a project you like. You can even search for "bite-size bugs," the bugs that have been tagged by a project as being specifically good for new contributors.
Want to find a project that has people physically near you? Try the map feature to find mentors, people who want to help a given project, or just people near you who are a part of OpenHatch. From the homepage, click "Find people to work with."
Educators interested is using OpenHatch in their classes could search for local people who might be interested in speaking to a class. Or to find mentors for students. They could help students find other local students at area schools to collaborate with and learn together.
And it's not just code. Around 500 bugs are documentation-related, and the scope may expand to include design and UX issues as well.
A new feature called "training missions" is currently under development as a part of the Google Summer of Code. The vision statement describes it as "interactive web pages for learning skills you would use when contributing to free software... A training mission shuns “manuals” and long, boring blobs of text. Instead it says, 'Here’s a short, concrete task to perform. Interact with this web-based robot here, and it will tell you if you succeeded.'” The site equates them to the training level of a video game, where you learn to play without dying. The beta includes using tar, diff and patch, and Subversion.
So what are you waiting for? Go find something to work on.
You can also follow @openhatchery on Twitter or Identi.ca or subscribe to the blog at http://openhatch.org/blog/.