Development / Open Source / Technology

This Week in Programming: Hacktoberfest Goes Opt-In Only

2 Oct 2021 6:00am, by
HacktoberFest

With October suddenly upon us, it’s every open source maintainer’s favorite time of year – Hacktoberfest!

Okay, well, maybe not EVERY maintainer.

At least in years past, Hacktoberfest, the annual “month-long celebration of the open-source community” put on by DigitalOcean wherein participants get some swag for successfully making pull requests to open source projects, has been occasionally controversial. Last year, the event seemingly hit a turning point, as maintainers again complained and DigitalOcean took some concrete steps to limit pull-request spam, allowing projects to opt-out of the event and promising to ban users from participating in this and other DigitalOcean events if they’re found to be spamming projects with fraudulent pull requests.

This year, with Hacktoberfest upon us once again, DigitalOcean has some further updates to the event, starting out with “maintainer-friendly rules” that include “allowing repos to opt-in to Hacktoberfest, ensuring only accepted pull requests count towards participants’ Hacktoberfest goals.” And hey, if that isn’t enough, you, as a maintainer, don’t even need to submit a pull request to get one of those nifty Hacktoberfest t-shirts! How’s that for “maintainer-friendly,” eh?

Beyond that, this year the company is encouraging participants to donate directly to open source projects by enabling donations through Open Collective and GitHub Sponsors, as well as bringing GitLab into the open source love fest, where “only contributions to repositories on GitLab that have ‘hacktoberfest’ as a topic will count.” As a matter of fact, this opt-in is now the default for Hacktoberfest, according to the FAQ, where DigitalOcean writes that it has “changed the program to only count pull requests that are made to repositories with a ‘hacktoberfest’ topic or labeled with **hacktoberfest-accepted**.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean people won’t still try.

Complaints around spam aside — as one open source advocate points out, the net benefit may be worth more than the time it takes you to close out those spam pull requests — there are a number of open source projects out there ready and willing to take your contributions. So, if you’ve pondered contributing to open source, now may be the time — heck, you’ll get a t-shirt to boot.

To sign up, head on over and register for Hacktoberfest before getting started.

This Week in Programming

  • AWS Lambda Gets Graviton2: Amazon Web Services (AWS) made several announcements this week that might be of interest, not the least of which being that AWS Lambda Functions can now be powered by a Graviton2 processor. The ARM-based processor, they say, can help you save up to 34%, basically because when it comes to serverless, time is money. Or, as they put it, “With Lambda, you are charged based on the number of requests for your functions and the duration (the time it takes for your code to execute) with millisecond granularity.” Beyond cost, they also note that the Graviton2 processor offers increased performance and that, if your functions don’t use architecture-specific binaries, you can swap between x86 and ARM, even measuring the difference between the two to see which is better.
  • AWS Step Functions Steps Up to 200 Services: For those of you using AWS’s low-code visual workflow service Step Functions for workflow automation, your world just expanded, as AWS Step Functions now supports 200 AWS Services, up from just 17 before. In addition, the introduction of Step Functions AWS SDK Service Integrations also means users no longer have to rely on the previously supported 46 service integrations, but rather “can integrate their state machines directly to AWS service that has AWS SDK support,” increasing AWS API Actions from 46 to over 9,000. To learn more about what this all means, head on over to the blog post for examples, or to the documentation itself.
  • AWS Launches Uniform API Access with AWS Cloud Control API: Lastly for AWS, the company launched the AWS Cloud Control API, a uniform API to access both AWS and third-party services. The AWS Cloud Control API provides “a standard set of APIs to Create, Read, Update, Delete, and List (CRUDL) resources across hundreds of AWS Services,” giving developers both uniform actions as well as uniform responses to queries. With these five verbs, developers can just as easily create a new Lambda Function as they can an EC2 Cluster — each action uses the same verb, “passing as parameters the type and attributes of the resource you want to create.” Likewise, when retrieving information about a particular service, that information comes back in a uniform format, rather than requiring the developer to know the different names, naming conventions, and JSON formats for each individual service.
  • Hippocratic License 3.0 Arrives with “License Builder”: The Hippocratic License, an open source license first introduced in 2019 partly in response to things like open source projects being used by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, has released the Hippocratic License 3.0. This revision, which it calls “a major revision of the preeminent ethical source license that specifically prohibits the use of open source software in violation of universal standards for human rights” introduces not only a strengthened “enforcement mechanism,” but also introduces “modularity”. “The core license provides protections for universally recognized human rights — including specific provisions for Indigenous rights — but also offers optional modules that focus on specific areas of concern, such as environmental justice or labor rights,” the Organization for Ethical Source writes in a release. This approach is powered by a “license builder” that “empowers adopters to customize the Hippocratic License to reflect the needs and challenges of their particular communities,” which will be available some time later this month.
  • GitLab Gets Pronouns: While we’re talking about tech companies attempting to do good, GitLab has announced that user profiles will include pronouns and more. GitLab user profiles will now contain pronouns, pronunciation guides, and local times, the company announced this week. “Besides being more inclusive, GitLab wants to help you use the correct pronouns when replying to comments to respect people’s identity,” they write, noting that the other features will also help with saying names correctly and knowing when to expect others to be available.
  • Azure Offers Credits to Open Source: Last up, Microsoft Azure said this week that it would be issuing Azure credits for open source projects. According to the FAQ, “any open source project with an OSI-approved license and a formalized Code of Conduct is eligible to apply,” which, coincidentally, would exclude those projects using the Hippocratic License. To get your year of credits, just head on over and apply.

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