It’s that time of the year again: pumpkin spice lattes, candy corn, and Hacktoberfest! You might hear this term a lot and perhaps, like myself a few years ago, wondered “WTH is Hacktoberfest!?”
Don’t worry, this blog post will give you a better understanding and step-by-step breakdown of the basics and hopefully answer some common questions, like:
What is Open Source and why is it so important?
What is Hacktoberfest?
How can I participate?
Why should I participate?
Open Source is a term thrown around a lot, and the general definition (via Wikipedia) is as follows: "Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution.'
Open Source projects exist in public-facing repositories, such as Github or GitLab, and as such benefit from contributions made by large developer communities. This open project community structure allows developers to collaborate and achieve greater goals rather than try to do everything as an individual—or as my grandfather used to say “many hands make light work.”
Open Source is great, but now you might ask what IS Hacktoberfest?
Hacktoberfest is an annual Open Source hackathon challenge that happens in October.
The event is designed to facilitate a space for folks who are brand new to the Open Source community. Hacktoberfest encourages participation in a variety of means: creating and/or completing pull requests, hosting or attending local events, and donating money/resources to projects. The point of it all is to celebrate and champion all things Open Source and help drive growth of the community.
Hacktoberfest requires no particular skill or background – any and all are welcome to participate. However, if you plan on contributing to an Open Source project (whether code, translations, documentation, or design work), you must have a GitHub or GitLab account. If you’re an event organizer you can participate by hosting events in order to bring people together (e.g., mentorship programs, collaboration events, meetups, etc.).
Participating in Hacktoberfest helps not only the Open Source community growth but also your professional growth. Some perks include:
Meeting and working with other experts in your field
Collaborating in one of the largest Open Source events of the year
Discovering new techniques or solutions (you will always learn something new)
Grab that swag! (if you attend an event)
The registration for most Hacktoberfest events began in late September, but there is still time to join in on the action!
Check out the complete list of Sauce Labs Open Source projects you can contribute to this Hacktoberfest.
This year the Sauce Labs community team is organizing a series of events around the celebration, and everyone's invited. Below is the schedule:
October (entire month): Would you like to participate, but don’t know how to get started? Throughout the month, Sauce Labs’ Paloma Oliveira will be available to answer your questions about what open source is, and what you can do to find a project and become a contributor.
October 11, 14, 18 & 21: Ever wanted to watch how engineers solve problems in unfamiliar code? Enjoy shouting at people who are Wrong on the Internet :tm:? Want to learn new debugging techniques? Keen to contribute to Hacktoberfest, but aren’t quiiiite brave enough? Join Dylan Lacey, Sauce’s Manager of Developer Relations, for a series of Twitch Streams on topics related to Open Source.
October 20 (in person in Berlin): Open Source Hack Night - Hacktoberfest Special with PyLadies. PyLadies is an international mentorship group for marginalized genders, such as but not limited to non-binary people, trans people, and women in tech, with a focus on helping our community become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community. Would you like to participate, but don't know how to get started? Have you never contributed to an open source project before, but are interested and would like to explore this space? Join us! We are here to support you. This event is also for people who already have experience and would like to happy hack together. We offer the space, and the environment so that you can contribute while feeling supported by a friendly and chill environment.
We hope to see you this Hacktoberfest!