Can You Make Your Own Open Source Software?

Everyone likes having applications on their phone. Phones are nowadays like computers and applications are what helps us get through our day, whether by helping us with business or entertainment.

Applications are also used on desktops, mostly for work, but technically, they can also be used for entertainment, in the case of video games and media playback programs.

Sometimes we don’t have that one application that we need. Open-source applications are a great example of how we can get what we want and contribute to the development of an application. 

But what if we wanted to make our own open-source application? Here is a simple guide on how to start an open-source project.

You Can Open Source A Project in Any Stage

Open source projects can be started at any time, or rather, released to the public. Some projects have been closed for a while, and have been released to the public after being closed source for a long time. As an idea, a project can be made open source, without any part of the code being written.

A project can be started and released to the public, but ideally, there will be lots of documentation ready for the other possible contributors. With this in mind, any project at any stage can become open source which means that a person with just a hint of an idea can start a project.

How to Actually Start an Open Source Project

There are some steps that should be followed to have a successful open source project, at least one that people can easily start contributing to if they find it interesting and worthwhile. The first step is to choose an open-source license. Typical licenses are GPLv3, Apache and MIT. There are many more, but people often settle on these. 

The second and a really important part of any open source project is having a good README. The README should explain what the project does, who it is intended for, what are its uses, and how to get started with the project, as a developer and user/tester.

Then comes the guide on how to contribute, or contributing guidelines. These are useful to other developers who might want to contribute to a project. Check large projects like VLC, MAME, to see how a large project handles contributing guidelines.

Finally, the project should have a code of conduct, to mediate the behavior of contributors and users, particularly if the project is community-oriented.

Everybody can start an open-source project, all you need is an idea. However, there are some steps that are required in order for the project to be considered open source. With these tips, anybody can start an open-source project.