How to find collaborators for open-source projects?



I have several small open-source projects that I wrote. All my attempts to find collaborators (looked on and codeplex) failed miserably - I either couldn't find anyone, or I found people who either weren't interested or didn't contribute anything. Thus comes the question: how and where can I find people to work with (on open source stuff)?

Dmitri Nesteruk

Posted 2008-12-09T21:43:45.907

Reputation: 10 916

Question was closed 2015-02-05T00:09:04.523

2 – Robin Winslow – 2013-04-18T10:57:30.023



The short answer is: Be awesome.

If your software really addresses a pain point and addresses it well, people will come to it on their own (assuming a reasonable amount of promotion on your part) via SourceForge/GitHub/etc., Google, and word of mouth. If you attract a critical mass of people who need what your software does and need it to have new features, collaborators will come.

Also: Stay active. If you haven't updated your code in 6 months, or if your page on SourceForge says your software has been in Alpha for a year, a lot of people are going to ignore it and move on to the next search result. Get the software to where it's ready for others to use, and maintain it.

The thing about Open Source is that it really has to grow organically - nobody's getting paid, nobody's under the threat of being fired - people have to care about your software for it to grow beyond what you can do. You're never going to get collaborators (or anyway, good ones) by soliciting for them - only by making something that a good programmer would find interesting to work with.


Posted 2008-12-09T21:43:45.907

Reputation: 2 842


I think there is only way to do this:

  • Build something which people use a lot and potential user count should be big as well
  • Keep it updated and keep the user-base

after a while people should star to hack your tool, then join to the development. But before the tool gain a decent popularity I think it's pretty hard to expect people to join to the project.

dr. evil

Posted 2008-12-09T21:43:45.907

Reputation: 16 999

1This answer seems the standard one and shows the individualistic nature of open-source. First, build something alone, then contributors will come. But what if you want to develop something with the help of others? – Jose Ospina – 2017-04-12T14:12:25.627


There's a website for finding collaborators:

Robin Winslow

Posted 2008-12-09T21:43:45.907

Reputation: 5 568


Ask yourself if the "set of people who this project would benefit" includes more than yourself. Find people in that set who can also code. For instance, I was writing a project to benefit pilots. So I asked for help from pilots - some of whom are coders.

Paul Tomblin

Posted 2008-12-09T21:43:45.907

Reputation: 138 481


As a contributor, I'm looking for:

  • A mature project with active development
  • Something that interests me
  • Plenty of opportunities for adding features that sound fun to me
  • A supportive user/developer community, even if it's one
  • A few iterations of releases to prove it's not doing to die

Make sure your project doesn't look like it's going to be a lemon, cater to the users and build up that base as well as you can, and I think they'll spring up from the woodwork.

The main route to contributors is users, after that make sure you're developer-friendly and you should find yourself a helpful group of people helping you out.

Stefan Mai

Posted 2008-12-09T21:43:45.907

Reputation: 17 058

0 also is an option if you're looking for designers and/or developers

Doug Johnson

Posted 2008-12-09T21:43:45.907

Reputation: 398