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How to contribute to an open source project?

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I believe I am ready to start contributing to an Open Source project in java. I got already some work experience and also certified, but I think I still need one or two years more to feel really confortable with it and able to get jobs more quickly. Probably Open Source is the way to go in my situation. Can anyone recomend me a couple of project to explore? (Java General, Java Web, Web Services, etc.). Or some ideas?

Thank you.

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Netbeans IDE C++ Linux
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Welcome to JavaRanch!

What are your interests? Get yourself familiar with the open source product first by using it, and join the community of a project that you can relate to.
You 'll have to build a relationship with the project, by taking baby steps
- subscribing to mail lists
- helping the user community
- helping the project with testing and document writing
- helping the project team with solutions for open issues, providing patches
- ...

If you prove to be a strong community member, and you hang around long enough, you might become a committer.

Here are some links that discuss first steps to involvement:
http://www.wikihow.com/Contribute-to-Open-Source (attention: lots of adds on this page, but read the 10 steps)
J J.M.Smith
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Thank you for the answer. It helps me a lot and now I see some aspects I did not consider before.
My first bit of advice is that if you are going to be a mime, you shouldn't talk. Even the tiny ad is nodding:
Java file APIs (DOC, XLS, PDF, and many more)
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