I've been developing in Java for about 6 years - 3 years at Uni, and I've been working as a developer for 3 years. I use a lot of open source software day-to-day, and am feeling like it would be nice to 'give something back', and start contributing to a project, and also further my personal development by seeing how others solve problems.
The question is, which one? I've had a look around the projects that sprung immediately to mind, but there seems to be a wildly varying level of community / support for them all.
I'm not too fussed about the kind of development, I develop for both the desktop and the server in my job - I guess I have a little more desktop experience, but would like to get some more web experience - so either would be good. Mostly, I'd like to join a 'friendly' project - something where the general attitude is a bit more like this forum, than Sun's Java forum; that is, somewhere where I can ask a stupid question every now and then without being told that I should switch off my computer and never go near it again...
Any thoughts for a good 'starter' open source project (or, indeed, whether you think I'm too inexperienced and should switch off my computer and never go near it again)?
I think it is important to find a project you believe in and contribute to it. What are some open source projects you use?
One area I wish people would contribute more in is documentation. Aren't there any documentation specialists out there that believe in open source??
Often open source projects have horrible documentation and lack of examples. Documenting is a great way to learn about the project and most likely any project would welcome that help. After learning and demonstrating your knowledge via documentation you could no the code well enough to hit the floor running on the code side.
Also I think sourceforge.net has a section where you can connect with projects that are asking for help. [ September 13, 2007: Message edited by: steve souza ]