Working for Vacation
May 5, 2008 1:23 PM   Subscribe

What open-source project should I work on? Or how do I find one?

I have a software engineering job, but the stuff we do is very run-of-the-mill. I need something else to work on in my off-hours once my somewhat pedestrian WordPress plugin is finished. I would really love something I can use to get good at Objective-C and/or audio and/or music. I definitely prefer Mac OS X as that's what I use for my work laptop, enabling to do things on the train. I don't even know where to start looking.
posted by mkb to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: VLC Media Player is a program my Mac and I have been utterly reliant on for years. Total swiss army knife for audio and video playback.

Recent versions for OS X have regressed on some features a little bit—things like full-screen, multi-monitor, and FLV playback all need attention. Seems like a good place for a talented programmer with a Mac & A/V bent to contribute.

It's also a large/high-profile project so you may benefit from having a team of people rather than being the sole Mac guy.
posted by bcwinters at 1:29 PM on May 5, 2008

What kind of projects do you like doing?
posted by delmoi at 1:31 PM on May 5, 2008

Response by poster: delmoi: I would really love something I can use to get good at Objective-C and/or audio and/or music. Or did you mean more specific?
posted by mkb at 1:33 PM on May 5, 2008

I meant like what kind of technologies, (not just programming languages), what kind of programming (I guess high level, low level, user interface) etc.
posted by delmoi at 1:54 PM on May 5, 2008

Best answer: Audacity, perhaps?

Really, you'll be much happier if you have an itch to scratch. Find something that you use that doesn't do what you want, and then fix it. You have motivation and reward, that way.
posted by cmiller at 2:07 PM on May 5, 2008

Response by poster: Well, I'm currently doing mostly web stuff. In the past I've worked on device firmware, drivers, applications, you name it. I'm more hoping to get away from web stuff and to some degree Java as well.
posted by mkb at 2:08 PM on May 5, 2008

You could always write an audio program for GNUStep.
posted by calumet43 at 2:18 PM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you're familiar with low-level stuff like firmware and device drivers, what about an autonomous robot (using a microcontroller)? It's totally open-ended so you can take it in the direction you find interesting. Or maybe just some sort of music-related microcontroller powered doohickey you've always dreamt of?
posted by phliar at 2:40 PM on May 5, 2008

If you want to do something helpful in firmware land, there's a never-ending stream of new wireless chipsets that aren't yet well supported (RALink, I'm looking at you), especially for funky things like running in AP host mode.
posted by zippy at 4:38 PM on May 5, 2008

Seconding the GNUstep suggestion. It's like OS X but open-source.
posted by Monochrome at 7:17 PM on May 5, 2008

If you go to the software map in sourceforge you can filter on programming language and OS. I found 943 projects that were written in Objective C and supported OSX. Unfortunately the interface for sourceforge sucks in that you can't save searches as URLs so you'll have to do the filtered search yourself.
posted by octothorpe at 8:22 PM on May 5, 2008

Best answer: I can't encourage you enough to pick a program you already like and use, but feel needs a bit more work. You'll do better work and be more motivated in the long term if it's a program you already feel a fondness for. So open up your program list and start looking at what you use, and what you use but wish was just a little bit better.
posted by davejay at 9:02 PM on May 5, 2008

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