Keeping up with OSS

Recently, the gSchool students asked me how I keep up with so many Open Source projects. Between new commits and the social situation revolving around each one, it can get a bit complex. Luckily for them, I have an easy solution.

send pull request

This button is 90% of it. Basically, almost any time something happens on a project, GitHub will send you an email with the lowdown.

But how to deal with this volume of email? This leads to part two: email filters.

send pull request

I have a bunch of filters set up to tag these emails with a ‘github’ tag, and then to archive them. That way, they still show up as unread, but they’re over in the list of tags, rather than my inbox. This lets me batch process them.

Generally, when I wake up, I pour myself a cup of coffee, and open my inbox. While I drink that cup of joe I read over each one of these emails. Because I have read every open issue on the projects I subscribe to (yes, even Rails), this doesn’t take very long to catch up with. I also do this when I’m bored during the day, and try to also clear it out once before I go to bed as well. By keeping on top of things and doing it often, I only need to do a little bit of work each time.

Give this combo a try on a project you’re interested in, and you’ll find tons of great ways to help out. You’ll also know what great new features are in that new release that’s just around the corner.

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