I'll take Mercurial over git any day for all the reasons obvious to anyone who's really used both of them, but geeyah github sure makes contributing to projects easy. At work we had a ten minute MongoDB upgrade downtime turn into two hours, and when we finally figured out what deprecated option was causing the daemon launch to abort, rather than grouse about it on Twitter (okay, I did that too) I was able to submit a one line patch without even cloning down the repository that got merged in.
On the more-substantial side I fixed some crash bugs in dircproxy. It had been running rock solid for me for a few years, but a recent libc upgrade that added some memory checking had it crashing a few times a day. Now (with the help of Nick Wormley) I was able to fix some (rather egregious) memory gaffs. I guess this is the oft trumpeted advantage of open source software in the first place -- I had software I counted on that stopped working and I was able to fix. Really though it was just fun to fire up gdb for the first time in ages.
Finally, I was able to take some hours at work and contribute a cookbook for chef to add the New Relic monitoring agent to our many ec2 instances. It may never see a single download, but it's nice to know that if someone wants to use chef to add their systems to the New Relic monitoring display they don't have to start from scratch.
I've been living in a largely open source computing environment for fifteen years, but the barrier to entry as minor contributor has never been so low.
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