Hactoberfest 2021 recap

Phoebe Quincy

Posted: November 23, 20214 min read

Hacktoberfest 2021 Recap

Every October, DigitalOcean demonstrates our love for the open source community with Hacktoberfest, a month-long event where developers of all skill levels donate their time to support open source projects. Developers everywhere rely on projects that the open source community pours their energy into maintaining. Our goal with Hacktoberfest is to give back to those pillars of the developer community and help keep their important open source projects up and running.

Hacktoberfest launched in 2014 with 700 participants. Hacktoberfest 2021 had more than 141,000 participants contributing to the open source projects they love. We are incredibly proud of how much Hacktoberfest has grown over the years, and in 2021 we were especially pleased with how the global open source community came together to create quality submissions and show their thanks to maintainers.

Hacktoberfest couldn’t happen without the participation and contributions of the community, but it wouldn’t be possible at all without the generous support of our partners. A special thanks to Appwrite, Intel, and DeepSource for their in-depth partnership, and a big thanks to our community partners such as GitHub, GitLab, and many more who love open source just as much as we do.

Hacktoberfest 2021 by the numbers

Hacktoberfest 2021 maintainers reported higher quality contributions from Hacktoberfest participants (more on this below), which resulted in valuable support for the open source community, and we believe this contributed to lower participation. However, when we take a look at the data from Hacktoberfest, we can see how rich and thriving the open source community is and what a positive impact the community’s contributions have made.


Using a range of coding languages, thousands of Hacktoberfest participants submitted 294,451 accepted pull/merge requests in support of open source projects.


People of all experience levels come together from all over the world for Hacktoberfest, a truly global celebration of open source.

  • Completed users: 46,676
  • Countries represented by registered users: 194
  • Countries represented by completed users: 147

We made some changes to Hacktoberfest this year to better meet our commitment to maintainers. The popularity of Hacktoberfest over the years—and the excitement of earning a limited edition Hacktoberfest t-shirt resulted in low-quality pull requests, which created extra work for maintainers.

This year, we tightened our rules for submissions and were more consistent with enforcement, ensuring that maintainers saw higher-quality pull/merge requests and had a smoother experience overall. Here are some of the changes we made for Hacktoberfest 2021:

  • Shifted the focus of the program away from the t-shirt as a reward, reducing the number of folks creating spam to simply get the shirt
  • Provided improved guidance on how to make a quality contribution during the registration process and on the website
  • Took a stronger position on what repositories are and aren’t aligned with our values, excluding those that were encouraging low-effort contributions

Maintainers didn’t have to deal with as much spam this year as a result of these changes—and they were pretty happy about it! Here are some of the things we heard throughout the month:

With more support and instruction on how to produce a high-quality contribution, first-time Hacktoberfest contributors were more confident on the whole.

Hacktoberfest Stories

We love hearing from Hacktoberfest participants—their ideas, their expectations, their hopes, and their experiences. Share your Hacktoberfest experience online any time by tagging us @DigitalOcean or using #hacktoberfest.

It can be hard to catch all the great things happening in open source during October so we’re sharing a few stories we didn’t want you to miss.

Boa Constrictor, a Maintainer Story

Andrew Knight is a software engineer who writes the blog Automation Panda and is also a maintainer of the open source project, Boa Constrictor, a .NET Screenplay Pattern that helps with Web UI and REST API test automation.

Hacktoberfest 2021 was a smashing success for Boa Constrictor! We completed 41 pull requests with 151 commits and over 10K new lines of code from 11 total contributors. Here’s a summary of everything we accomplished together.”

Appwrite, a Premium Partner Story

Appwrite has deep roots in Hacktoberfest. The company started as an open source project that saw over 200 contributions from developers during Hacktoberfest 2019, laying the foundation of a budding organization. Just two years later, Appwrite is a premium partner of Hacktoberfest 2021 helping to grow the open source community while jumping into the action themselves. The Appwrite team posted 280 of their own issues for Hacktoberfest contributors to dive into and propelled 449 participants to submit 1237 pull requests.

Estee Tey, a Contributor Story:

Hacktoberfest 2021 was Estee Tey’s second Hacktoberfest and she had set big goals for herself to go from non-technical contributions like documentation edits to more technically demanding ones.

“It was really interesting to explore different codebases and also communicate with the project maintainers to agree on a solution to achieve together. There were some hurdles in setting up some of the projects, but that’s part and parcel for most newcomers onboarding dev projects.”

Read more about her journey with Hacktoberfest

Looking ahead to next year

As always, we’re honored and humbled that so much of the DigitalOcean Community shows up year after year to support open source projects. We’re always working to improve the Hacktoberfest experience for maintainers, contributors, and sponsors by listening carefully to our expanding community. Join the conversation on our Hacktoberfest discord server.

There’s much more open source love to come from us at DigitalOcean—so stay tuned and we look forward to seeing you next year!

Phoebe Quincy, Senior Community Relations Manager | Open Source Programs


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