Thread: gigantic open source projects, seems unmanageable ?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    gigantic open source projects, seems unmanageable ?

    I've been looking around at various open-source projects because i'm interested in getting started with one but I've noticed that its extremely difficult to make sense of any source since they usually consist of files which build on each .. and it ends up seeming as if every function is based upon several structs which are built upon many several other structs ... etc... consisting of several thousands of lines of code spread out upon a hundred files....

    Any tips to getting started with open source projects? It just seems impossible (and also very difficult to tell where to actually start reading the source itself, this goes for many sources I've tried to start studying .. in a couple different languages)
    Last edited by rodrigorules; 06-07-2010 at 04:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    I have almost the exact same problem.

    I really suck at reading other people's code

  3. #3
    Lurking whiteflags's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    United States
    I think most people just contribute one or two things on the feature list and then say their goodbyes. That at least implies you know enough about the language to implement whatever feature.

    But Bubba did say that feeling overwhelmed is an occupational hazard. Can't really help you there. Get comfy real quick.

  4. #4
    Registered User jeffcobb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Henderson, NV
    You gotta kind of look at it this way: any non-trivial project is going to be comprised of many files and yes a well-designed project will decompose into many smaller objects. Put it this way: any project that is only a single file or two will either be a nightmare to work on (one LOOONG main()) or so simple as to not need help.

    One way I have learned to absorb larger projects is to debug them. The first bug will be a cast-iron you-know-what. However at the end of finding that bug you will surprise yourself with how much you know.

    Also, randomly picking a project to work on is a quick way to get a boring one. My advice is to pick a library of some kind to work on that interests you. Being a library it will only be so "deep" (just don't pick ffmpeg or mencoder, etc) and you should be able to get your head wrapped around it.
    C/C++ Environment: GNU CC/Emacs
    Make system: CMake
    Debuggers: Valgrind/GDB

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