DEV Community

Fabio Zammit
Fabio Zammit

Posted on

3 reasons why devs don’t contribute to open source. Discuss!


I came across this survey from Digital Ocean that takes a deep dive into understanding what devs think about contributing to open source.

In the survey we can say the list of open source projects sorted by popularity and it is no surprise that projects like React and Linux are some of the most favorable.

Google was found to be the most supportive when it comes to open source.


Contributing to open source

There was 1 part which took me by surprise where a large percentage find it a challenge to contribute to open source.

The article states:

Two of the most prominent barriers preventing developers from getting involved in open source are not knowing where to begin, and doubting they have the right skills.

In my opinion some projects like are very well documented on Github. Even though I may not be very knowledgeable with Ruby I am sure anyone can get their head around it as ultimately its the basic programming principles that count.

Having said that, there are a number of projects that should follow the same standards. This is where I have to admit that more needs to be done to encourage developers to contribute.

What is your take on this? Do you agree that these barriers exist? What could be improved? Let me know in the comments below.

Reason No. 3

The third reason which doesn’t surprise me at all:

Companies not giving their employees time to contribute is also a large factor.

It is maybe high time that more companies allocate a day a week where devs can spend X amount of time on open source projects or just learning something new.

This is something we do at Root Codex where we encourage our devs to contribute and take time every week to work on some form of pet project.

Did you have or are currently facing such barriers when it comes to contributing your code?

Do you contribute to open source? And if so which project?

Is there something, as a community that we can do to help others overcome these barriers?

Looking forward to hearing from you! 🙂

Full survey may be found at:

Top comments (6)

nabbisen profile image
nabbisen • Edited

Hi, Fabio.

I have called for several friends of mine to contribution to some open source projects recently.

doubting they have the right skills

As long as I have experienced, this seems almost true.
They said they were not confident in their skills about not only technology but also English.
Futhermore, one of them said he felt shy because he was unsure to continue contribution.

And I'm in the way to cheer them up, saying, "Nobody may care. Some help will be. Shall we take small steps?"

Companies not giving their employees time to contribute

Sadly, I understand this situation... 😅

niorad profile image
Antonio Radovcic

If one is doubting they have the right skills, they're probably right.

  • If I take a bug/ticket/etc. and spend some hours on it, how do I know if somebody else isn't already working on it, and my time was spent for nothing?
  • I prefer working on software used by end-users, and not by other developers. The latter is much more prominent in OSS, IME.
akshayiyer12 profile image
Akshay Iyer • Edited

I would say that maybe when you are working for a whole week Mon-Fri or sometimes maybe Sat, it's important to go to diffuse mode on Sundays so that you can get to focused mode for the upcoming week.
Also getting lazier after work and switching to netflix or amazon prime videos or youtube for a movie or tv series instead of contributing.
For me these were the reason of not contributing to open source even though I had contributed earlier.

fzammit profile image
Fabio Zammit

Thank you everyone for the comments :)

Very interesting to see it from your perspective.

ronaldoperes profile image
Ronaldo Peres

I never thought of contributing until now.

I do not know where to start.

fzammit profile image
Fabio Zammit

Have a look here this might help :)