Totally, Utterly Petty Reasons to Contribute to Open Source

Yeah, I know you have big highfalutin’ ideals about Open Source being better software made with better development practices to better serve truth, justice, and yummy ice cream for everybody. I have those too. But let’s be honest — there are plenty of completely shallow, selfish, and totally un-idealistic reasons to do it too. How about:

  • You want to whip out your phone at the bar and say to your friends, “see that link? I made that one.” (Note: you might want to look into some better bar tricks.)
  • You really, really, really hated that typo, even if it was in inline docs and the general public never knew it existed.
  • You contributed to the last two releases, and three of anything makes a streak.
  • You contributed to the last three releases, and if you break your streak now, you’ll feel totally OCD about the gap in your record for ever and ever.
  • You feel an unhealthy attraction to those big buttons on

The thing is? Who cares what your motivation was! The patch is still another tiny step to making the whole project better. The fact that your motivations weren’t quite on the level of world peace and ending famine is between you and your text editor.

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