The joy of contributing to a well-run open-source project

By | February 25, 2023

While being between jobs isn’t so great in terms of what it’s doing to my bank account balance, it has its upsides, one of which is that I’ve been able to spend time fixing annoying things that I just had to put up with when I was working. One thing that means is tracking down the root causes of issues I’ve encountered in open-source software (OSS) I use, creating fixes, and getting the fixes merged in upstream.

There are all sorts of horror stories about OSS projects that are unpleasant to contribute to (*cough cough* GNOME *cough cough*), so I think it’s important to counterbalance that by recognizing projects that are doing it right. In that spirit, I want to give a big shout-out to the Ansible project.

I’ve recently submitted several fixes to Ansible. Each of my submissions has needed some work to get it into a state the project maintainers were willing to merge. The people who worked with me to get that done were unfailingly helpful and polite, and the changes and improvements they requested were consistently reasonable and appropriate. They made sure I knew that my contributions were valued while at the same time ensuring that what got merged had good quality.

You can judge for yourself if you’d like:

Thanks very much to the Ansible project maintainers for helping to produce and maintain this critical software and for welcoming small-potatoes contributors like me and working with us to make the software better.

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