There are many types of open source projects out there. Many have the code base open (GPL, BSD, etc), but not all of them have an open culture.
On OSSEC, we try to be fully open. Not only the source code, but open to contributions, open to new developers, open to new ideas and open (friendly) to new users. So if you want to become involved and participating in this project, we have a few recommendations.
These recommendations will probably be valid for most open source projects, not only OSSEC.
1- The first thing you have to do is to become an active OSSEC user. I mean, install it on as many machines as you can, try different setups, see things you don’t like and start from there. Become passionate about it if you want to make a difference.
2- Start small. As any project, it takes some time to get used to how it works and how the code is organized. So start from simple things. Even if you detect a typo, try to fix that first and send us the patch.
3- Consider contributing your customizations. If you had to add a simple local rule to ignore a noisy event, send that to us! Get the log that was causing the false alert and the rule you created and send to our development mailing list or to our IRC channel (details after).
4- Get involved on our mailing lists and on IRC to see the needs and issues most users have.
5- You don’t need to be a developer or code in C. You can contribute with documentation, with the rules/decoders or even testing it. We also have our web interface (PHP), active responses/install scripts (in shell) that you can help out. So no excuses :)
1- Our code base is available on bit bucket: http://bitbucket.org/dcid/ossec-hids/
2- Our documentation is also on bit bucket: http://bitbucket.org/jrossi/ossec-rules
3- We are always on IRC (#ossec on irc.freenode.org). That’s the best way to get quickly feedback from us and get to know everyone actively involved.
4- We also have a development mailing list, but via IRC is recommended.
If you don’t know how to access our repository on bit bucket, this link should help you: http://hginit.com
Any questions, let us know.