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.
Previously I mentioned I was importing the full corpus of BoingBoing posts into MonogoDB, which went off without a hitch. The import was just to provide a decent dataset for trying out Rogue, the Mongo searching DSL from the folks at Foursquare. Last weekend I was in New York for the Northeast Scala Symposium and the Foursquare Hackathon, so I took the opportunity finish up the query part while I had their developers around to answer questions.
I want to play around with Rogue by the Foursquare folks, but first I needed a decent sized collections of items in a MongoDB. I recalled that BoingBoing had just released all their posts in a single file, so I downloaded that and put together a little Scala to convert from XML to JSON. The built-in XML support in Scala and the excellent lift-json DSL turned the whole thing into no work at all:
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