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It’s really the Drupal community and not so much the software that makes the Drupal project what it is. So fostering the Drupal community is actually more important than just managing the code base.
- Dries Buytaert
Drupal is an open source project built by a team of volunteers from around the world. We don’t have employees to provide Drupal improvements and support. We acquire those valuable assets through the volunteer community members, who bring deep and diverse experience to us. Many people think these community members work mostly on Drupal code, but the truth is that they also work on documentation, marketing, user support, test results, translations, and many other contributions from people with a wide range of abilities and interests.
The driving idea behind this handbook is to not only tell you how to contribute to Drupal, but also to explain why. It aims to encourage you to explore contributing as a great way to actually learn and make your own Drupal experience better.
More contributions mean less work -- for others and for you. When you contribute code to Drupal, you don't just help others -- you invite them to test, repair, improve, maintain, and document your code along with you. When you write a docs page or answer questions, you invite others to respond with their own helpful comments -- and your words become part of the conversation that steers the Drupal project.
Contributors have a stronger voice in the project. Open source is a meritocracy, and those who build, write, teach, communicate and organize have greater karma and greater influence on the future of Drupal.
Contributing helps you learn faster. Nothing will improve your understanding of Drupal like explaining it to someone else -- or taking it apart and fixing it.
More contributions mean more business. Your work on the Drupal project is public. Clients, customers, employers, and contractors around the world can learn your name and admire the evidence of your skill.
Contributions attract good people. Developers, designers, site administrators, writers, students, project managers, business owners -- the Drupal community is filled with talented and enthusiastic people, most of whom enjoy working with others like themselves. Contributing is a great way to show your skills and your interests -- and to initiate conversations with the community members who share them.
It takes only a small time commitment to make just one change. If you're ready, the best way to start is to get an account on Drupal.org. Then check the other areas for ways you can help. You can find the Drupal community on the groups.drupal.org site, on IRC, on the Drupal forums and mailing lists, language-specific sites and at local meetings of Drupal users in your community.
You can get the big picture by viewing the graphical overview of the Drupal community.
If you want to take a look at specific tasks various people in the Drupal community are working on, visit the Community Initiatives which acts as a clearinghouse for some high profile issues.