Open Source Friday
Written by Sue Gee   
Wednesday, 28 June 2017

GitHub is inviting every one - individuals, teams, departments and companies - to join in Open Source Friday, a structured program for contributing to open source that started inside GitHub and has since expanded.



In the blog post Contribute on Open Source Friday Mike McQuaid explains how Open Source Friday is part of a move to encourage anyone who uses open source - and that's any computer user - to contribute to the software they use as:

an investment in the tools your company relies on.

McQuaid writes:

And you can always start small: spend two hours every Friday working on an open source project relevant to your business.

For those who are new to Open Source the Open Source Friday website gives a link to Open Source Guides including How to Contribute to Open Source which opens by explaining why people contribute to open source mentioning:

  • Improve existing skills
    Whether it’s coding, user interface design, graphic design, writing, or organizing, if you’re looking for practice, there’s a task for you on an open source project.
  • Meet people who are interested in similar things
    Open source projects with warm, welcoming communities keep people coming back for years. Many people form lifelong friendships through their participation in open source, whether it’s running into each other at conferences or late night online chats about burritos.
  • Find mentors and teach others
    Working with others on a shared project means you’ll have to explain how you do things, as well as ask other people for help. The acts of learning and teaching can be a fulfilling activity for everyone involved.
  • Build public artifacts that help you grow a reputation (and a career) 
    By definition, all of your open source work is public, which means you get free examples to take anywhere as a demonstration of what you can do.
  • Learn people skills
    Open source offers opportunities to practice leadership and management skills, such as resolving conflicts, organizing teams of people, and prioritizing work.
  • It’s empowering to be able to make changes, even small ones
    You don’t have to become a lifelong contributor to enjoy participating in open source. Have you ever seen a typo on a website, and wished someone would fix it? On an open source project, you can do just that. Open source helps people feel agency over their lives and how they experience the world, and that in itself is gratifying.

The Open Source Survey that we recently reported revealed that contributing to open source already often happens in a work context:

Virtually all (94%) of those who are employed use open source at least sometimes in their professional work (81% use it frequently), and 65% of those who contribute back do so as part of their work duties.

The survey found that 82% of respondents employers accept or encourage use of open source applications. It also reported that 47% of employed respondents say their employers IP (intellectual property) policy allows them to  contribute to open source without permission and another 12% can do so with permission. On the other hand 28% say their employers IP policy is unclear, and another 9% are not sure about how their IP agreement treats open source contributions.

In an attempt to ease the situation regarding intellectual property GitHub has drawn up a  balanced employee IP agreement (BEIPA) which they describe as:

 a commitment to employee autonomy and "work/life balance" – for the mind.

Its main premise is that:

The employee maintains control unless they created the IP in their employee capacity and the IP relates to an existing or prospective company product or service, or was developed for use by the company, or was developed or promoted with existing company IP or with the company's endorsement. 

This ensures that a company doesn't control what employees do in their free time or beyond the period of employment. BEIPA is based on GitHub's employee IP agreement but is now available for any company to use or modify.

Participation in Open Source Friday requires a GitHub account and once you've joined up its website will show your activity.





More Information

Contribute on Open Source Friday

Open Source Friday website

How to Contribute to Open Source

balanced employee IP agreement

Related Articles

Open Source Valued Despite Poor Documentation and Bad Behavior

GitHub Octoverse Reveals The State Of Open Source


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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 June 2017 )