Highlights from the Docker Project’s first open-source-a-thon

Apr 15 2015

Today we are nearing the end of the Docker Open-Source-a-Thon that kicked off with the Docker birthday party! Here’s an update about the fun times we’ve had so far.


We have had over 20 fantastic events across the world, with more than 1,000 people participating. A huge thanks to our many friends (both new and old) who made this possible by organizing, hosting and mentoring — especially our awesome Docker meetup organizers and mentors from the Golang community.

While this has been our first ever open-source-a-thon — and, to our knowledge, the first and biggest one in history — we had no real idea of what to expect. We were thrilled by the huge response from the community, volunteers and attendees alike, that made the events so successful.


A contributor for every season

While the attendee experience with software and open source varied from event to event, we did see some interesting trends. More than half of participants were developers. While virtually everyone had used open source software before, most of the participants had not contributed to any projects before. For many, this event marked their very first open source contribution! (We couldn’t have been more excited to be the ones getting them started.)

Another first for many attendees was writing in Go, the language that Docker is primarily written in and which the vast majority had no experience with. In part because of this, the most common type of contributions consisted of prose, with actual code coming in second. Prose contributions came in a variety of forms, including official documentation, inline documentation of the code, external blog posts, and tutorials.

While many are still working on their first contributions, the Docker project has already welcomed 75+ new contributors in the past few weeks. Contributions were also not limited to docker/docker — many people dove into other projects like Swarm, Compose and Kitematic as well. Our all-star award for birthday contributions goes to runcom, who’s had over 27 pull requests merged since the events began!


What attendees had to say

One of the most rewarding parts of the open-source-a-thon, speaking as a mentor for three events on the east coast, was hearing the why attendees were so eager to learn more about open source and Docker. The amount of enthusiasm was inspiring! In Boston I spent some time mentoring Amy Z, a CS PhD candidate at MIT who came to the event primarily to learn how to participate in open source.

She had this to say: “Thank you for hosting the party! You guys were really welcoming, and I didn’t feel bad at all for being a beginner. I’m definitely interested in contributing more. I’m keeping an eye out for my next local Docker meetup, too. It’s a nice change from research, and I feel like I’ll get some really practical skills for life post-graduation.”


Some attendees used the time to document their experience at the events in blog posts. Here are a few:


We were especially enthused to see people interested in the event format itself. Hopefully even more projects will host similar events to help welcome people into the open source community.


Each event was a bit different, and it was great to hear back from the Docker staff in each location about each city’s attendance, interests, and challenges. With all the questions coming in from beginner contributors and users, we got really invaluable feedback about how to improve these events, our beginner docs, and the experience of contributing to Docker overall.


Check out the photos (below) we snapped at each event, featuring attendees hard at work and, of course, enjoying cake.

Stay tuned for more birthday goodness!

Though the celebration is soon coming to a close, we’ll be back next week to recap the Docker- and community-run events around the world. It’s also not too late to participate online and have your contribution count towards a donation to the Oceanic Society, which wraps up on April 23rd! After that, we’re excited to give you a look everything your contributions have achieved since the program began. Thanks again!

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