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Jose Maria Valera Reales
Jose Maria Valera Reales

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Open-Source Software

The power of contributing to OSS 🖥

What is Open-Source Software (OSS)? 🤔

OSS shares similarities with free software but it’s not the same. Free software is a form of OSS, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be free. For example:

  • PHPUnit is an example of OSS which is free.
  • Spryker is an example of OSS which is not free.

OSS is basically software that is public, open to the world.

Benefits — for a company 🛕

  • Adoption: the easier the access, the easier the adoption.
  • Training and tutorials help the system to grow.
  • Tech: often on the cutting edge of technology. Tech moves fast. They will get obsolete if they don’t.
  • Community: the people around want to improve as it grows. Public channels enable easy access and community building.
  • Trust: the software is public and accessible. Everyone can check the quality of the software anytime.

Benefits — for you, as a single contributor 🤓

  • Flexibility: decide on what you want to work on.
  • Self-confidence: the experience improves your skills.
  • Training: without the pressure of a PROD environment.
  • Tech: play with the latest features of your tech. Try upcoming versions of your coding lang, or even try new ones!
  • Soft skills: improve your communication skills. Good communication in the project is important. Especially when you face disagreements.

TL;DR: It can be a “constant kata” if you want to.

Github to the rescue 😃

Nowadays, it’s really trivial to start contributing to OSS:

  • You can start your own project. A pet project fits here perfectly!
  • You can contribute to an existing OSS project.

Pet projects 🐘

A pet project is a playground to create software and train your professional skills. Creating pet projects in your public Github profile has all the benefits of contributing to OSS, plus you’re your own boss:

  • You dictate the roadmap.
  • You decide what to do and how.
  • You’re your own boss.

The project is there for you.
You are responsible to play, explore and pass your limits.

Some Chema’s Pet Projects 🦣



  • stock-ticker: get a notification with the news from your favorites Tickers.
  • jira-status-notifier: Notify when the JIRA tickets don’t move along.
  • edifact-parser: a parser for a UN/EDIFACT file format in PHP.


  • knob-mvc: a framework to create WordPress templates (2015/2017).

Some of Chema’s OSS org contributions 🌚


  • phel-lang: Phel is a functional programming language that compiles to PHP. It is a dialect of Lisp inspired by Clojure and Janet. I already wrote a post about phel-lang: Phel: A Lisp that compiles to PHP
  • gacela-project: Gacela is a PHP framework that helps you to improve the design of your application by splitting the logic into different modules.


  • nm_template: The base template for NuevaMetal (2013–2016).

Knowledge sharing ✍🏼

... and many more on

The beauty of this 🧑‍🎓

  • Seeing the corrections that you constantly keep doing
  • Seeing how your own code gets old with time
  • Seeing the many mistakes that you have done
  • Seeing how you are getting better at coding over time

Developing a sixth sense to smell patterns which you have already done and their positive & negative experiences.

Showing your skills and helping the community around you.

Open-Source Software offers you one of the best opportunities to start building your career path towards continuous improvement.

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