Is it still "open source" if you don't accept contributions?

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The ReadME Project is a GitHub platform dedicated to highlighting the best from the open source software community—the people and tech behind projects you use every day. Each month this newsletter highlights new stories, best practices, and opinions developed for The ReadME Project, as well as great listens and reads from around the community.

Featured Articles

How ‘open’ should your open source be?

Why even go the open source route if you’re not going to accept code contributions? From Litestream to Lua to Prometheus and more, maintainers explain their reasons for where they lie on the spectrum from open to closed, and why there’s more to contributions than code.

Read More

Disability as catalyst for creativity

When faced with accessibility barriers, developer Paul Chiou gets creative, building custom hardware interfaces and innovative software solutions for himself and others. Learn how Chiou works to increase access for all in this video and companion article. 


Developer Story

Annalu Waller // @usabilitydoc

Champion accessibility to unleash untapped potential in everyone

Dr. Annalu Waller shares her path to overcoming barriers and empowering others to reach their full potential.

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Developer and cultural best practices to merge into your workflow

Noah Gift // @noahgift

MLOps with Rust

The case for using Rust and GitHub Copilot to level-up MLOps.

Learn More

Anton Mirgorodchenko // @GreenWizard2015

Building applications with generative AI

Tools like GitHub Copilot and ChatGPT can change the way you architect software, and more.

Learn More

Josh Goldberg  // @JoshuaKGoldberg

Formatters, linters, and compilers: Oh my

Improve your JavaScript/TypeScript code quality and error prevention with static analysis tools.

Learn More

Giovanni Lodi // @mokagio

Accelerate test-driven development with AI

Let Github Copilot handle the other half of your test-driven development.

Learn More

Episode 29

The open/closed equilibrium

Striking a balance between openness and control in open source projects, preserving the integrity of community insights, and how humor can transform communities.  

Listen Now

Episode 28

Fusing tech and progress

How open source is powering nuclear fusion research, advice for fortifying your career against change, and practical tips on using GitHub.

Listen Now

Poll Request

In a recent social media poll we asked you what type of open source contribution you would want if you had to choose only one type from now on. "Code (Features & Bug Fixes)" was the clear winner, with 62.2% of the vote. Testing came in second with 14%, documentation had 12.7%, and “Design (Graphics & UI/UX)” came in last with 11%. The results are visualized above.

In our last newsletter, which focused on contributor relations, we presented a slightly different version of the poll and got different results. "Docs and design" was the most popular answer, with 47%. Features and bug fixes were neck and neck, with 23.5% and 21.2% respectively. Testing came in last with 8.3%.

What both polls show is that maintainers aren't ready to close their projects to code contributions quite yet. The opportunity to gather features and bug fixes from the community is still a core driving force behind open source. But there's still a big contingent of people—more than a third of all respondents—who would prefer documentation, design, or testing.

Next month we'll dive deeper into the world of non-code contributions and everyone, including programmers, should think about pitching in to help with tasks like documentation and support.

Community Reads and Listens


This company adopted AI. Here's what happened to its human workers

Read More


From Project Management to Data Compression Innovator

Listen Now


Technology Radar 2023

Read More


Happy Maintainer Month!

Read More

Contribute to The ReadME Project

The ReadME Project is powered by a thriving and collaborative open source community. We're always on the lookout for developers, maintainers, and experts to feature across all story types. Know someone who should be featured? Have a story idea that demonstrates the impact of OSS on deep tech? Have a best practice that should be shared? Let us know!

Contact Us

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in News
Kenneth Wyrick 10 May, 2023
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