Contributing back

In my Redmine investigations that I’ve been writing about recently, I ran across an issue between a plugin and the latest version of Redmine. I really don’t know the first thing about about rails – I can read it, but I can’t always make sense of it, and I certainly don’t know the “expected” bits (some might call constraints, others I’ve heard call it “the magic”). So when I took the fix posted to the forums, slapped it up in a Github fork, and submitted a fork request – I had no idea if it would be wanted.

I’ve got to say that I’m incredibly gratified that it was accepted back into the main branch. All I really did was make it darned easy to pull in a patch someone else created, but even doing something simple like that I think made a difference.

I’m a bit more proud of the patches that I submitted to pyrrd (a real fix and some better doctests). Those were, honestly, harder – but really only because I found the Launchpad interface and Bzr to be harder to navigate and use than Git and Github. (I still assert that the best thing about Git is Github). Duncan (maintainer of pyrrd) prefers that system, so I created a branch there and submitted the patches. Didn’t quite do it 100% for him – I bundled two fixes into the same branch instead of a branch/fork per fix – but in the end he took them in and I think appreciated the help.

A little side light was helping out Ned with my writeup of using Hudson for python/django projects. Chris Heisel took it that one step farther and walked through using Hudson for Django projects as well. So I ended up contributing and seeding a bigger conversation with that too.

There have really been few projects that I’ve provided back to this year – it’s been a busy year at work, but much of it has been more people and process oriented rather than making code happen. Still, contributing back in whatever areas gives me a boost – and at the end of the year I like to look back and think that even in some small ways, I made something available for others.

What’s this coming year going to bring? Heh – who knows. I’ve got a few things rolling (at work and outside of work) that should prove to be really interesting. One is an open source monitoring project, although at the moment in the very, very early stages. The others I’ll have to leave off for talking about another time.

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