By about now, I was supposed to have identified a software project that I might work on. Having thought on and off about joining some open source project for years without ever doing it, I might have known that finding a suitable project would be easier said than done: all of the open source software that I use already works fairly well and whenever I think of an idea for a new project I find that someone else has already done it. So what’s there for me to do?
Of course I could just go and write my own version of a piece of software that already exists, and this is the sort of thing I might have done when I was first learning to program, but this seems pointless at best and narcissistic at worst unless I have a specific point of difference in mind for my version of the software or some reason to believe that I can do the software significantly better than the existing version. I don’t currently have either of these for any piece of software that I can think of.
I know from past experience that I’ll be most motivated to work on something if it’s a piece of software that I use myself. So, instead of committing to some particular piece of software, I’ll aim to be more conscientious about being part of the community of developers and users of the software that I use. If there’s a bug, make sure it gets reported and fixed; if there’s a feature missing, make sure it gets requested and implemented; and so on. I’ll focus first on the software that I use for A Little Research, since there’s quite a bit of useful open source software in this space and it makes sense to contribute a certain amount of time that I’ve set aside for A Little Research to ensuring that it has access to good software.