GitHub has taken the initiative to assist more people to become contributors in the pool of open source resources with the Open Source Friday’s. The program encourages, as the name implies, companies to set aside some time for their Fridays so that their employees work on open source projects.

The aim is to bolster the ranks of open source contributors at a time when many businesses seem to rely on open source projects for critical applications.

However, Open Source Friday is not just about getting businesses to offer their employees’ time charitably, but to also improve key business infrastructure.

“We see this as kind of a mutually beneficial arrangement, both for businesses and their employees, be they aspiring contributors, active contributors, or current maintainers,” he said. “Because if [businesses] provide those people with time to work on these things during their work hours, that’s beneficial to the company, and that’s beneficial to the individuals as well.
“Basically, if you have done any programming before, or if you’ve improved documentation that’s related to software before, you can contribute to an open source project. Maybe not every open source project, but you’ll definitely be able to find something that you can get involved with.”
-Mike McQuaid, a senior software engineer at GitHub.

The program apparently came about after GitHub’s work with open source, showing that people who would like to contribute to open source software should not be hindered by time and other resources. Designating a specific time to the initiative may assist in providing additional structure and incentive to participate in the ecosystem.

The website also includes resources to convince employers of the importance of open source work and the information they might need to make it an office habit. Contributors have links to guides released by GitHub last year on how to begin and sustain a career as an open source contributor. Maintainers, the people who shepherd and manage open source projects, get their own resources to help them welcome new contributors, as well as tools to help them explain why their extensive participation in the open source ecosystem is good for business. GitHub has also set aside a functionality that makes it easy for people to take what they’ve done on these Fridays and show it off.

This initiative is open to more than programmers and engineers. Code contribution remains the key to the success of the project, creating and maintaining documentation is also needed.

Do you think this has a hope of mass uptake or is it entirely up to the individual businesses to adopt the initiative? What's the value of open source software in your day to day life? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thank you for visiting Base64!