My Hacktoberfest story

Stefan M.
4 min readNov 4, 2020

DigitalOcean, the company behind Hacktoberfest, “asked me” several times about sharing my story. If you are like me and participated in Hacktoberfest, you know what I mean. It starts with an “Registration is now open” and ends with the “Can we get a quick favor?” e-mail.

After they spammed my inbox several times I decided to say: Yes, I will write something! It’s not because I think they should have success with the flood of e-mails they send, but rather, that I like Hacktoberfest and want it to be celebrated in the years to come. But let me start from the beginning.


I’m not sure if this was the first year of Hacktoberfest or just the first year I celebrated it. Anyways, when searching my inbox for Hacktoberfest it goes back until 2015.

According to my GitHub statistics, it seems that I collaborated in the PocketHub Android App and the ShareViaHttp Android App.

Back then (spoiler: and the years who followed until 2020) I just contributed individually. I haven’t attended any event or even organized something by myself. Hell, I even haven’t spoken with my colleagues about it. I just signed up, made my pull requests, and received my swag.


This was my second year. I already knew about Hacktoberfest because of last year.

I contributed to the same repositories as in 2015. Except of ExoPlayer, where I just added a missing URL.

Note, that it seems I only did the four required pull requests in 2016. Nothing more, nothing less. Seems I just wanted the swag 🙃.


In the third year, I was on fire, like in my first year. However, even if it looks like “I did a lot” it was mostly documentation fixes. But, well, bit by bit even these little contributions can improve an open source, right?


In 2018 I was quite active on GitHub overall. So it isn’t surprising, that I opened a lot of pull requests in October.

What is noteworthy is, that I started to create or contribute to “my own projects”. Which doesn’t mean, that I didn’t have a repository before this year. Still, I remember that time quite well, because I started to fork the novoda/bintray-release Gradle plugin and adjusted it so that it works out of the box for the company I worked back then.


Because of private reasons 2019 was a little bit “difficult” for me. Spending time on projects in my free time wasn’t so easy anymore.

So it is not surprising for me that I did, like in 2016, only the required four pull requests and not more.


This year was quite different, right? Oh no! I don’t talk about this Covid-19 thingy. I mean my life and how I participate in Hacktoberfest 🙂.

Even if I mostly contributed to my own AppVersions project, I organized the ioki Hacktoberfest! We met one evening in October in a Microsoft Teams Video Call. I introduced them to the (new) rules and then we started to contribute. Nothing fancy really, it was fun to organize it and sit “together” while a few ate pizza and drank a few beers.

Again, I like Hacktoberfest. It gives me the feeling that “we” open source developers are seen and recognized in the industry. Furthermore it is not only about open source is eating the world, no, but there is also a company which finally act to say “thank you”.

That’s also why I don’t get people who spam open source projects with useless/spammy contributions. It becomes so bad this year, that DigiatlOcean had to change the rules! Do people really do everything for a T-Shirt 🙄?

I also appreciate every company that supports Hacktoberfest. Not only the official sponsors, but also the other ones which reward contributions to their repositories — this is quite nice and a win-win situation for everyone.

What I’m trying to say is basically “Thank you” to DigitalOcean, JetBrains, Intel,, GitHub, and all the countless other companies that sponsor or support Hacktoberfest.