Brad Baker posted on the Joomla! Developer Network an article discussing how one can can contribute to their open source community. While Mr. Baker's article are focused on Joomla!, I think his comments could apply to any open source project. I especially like how he concludes his article.
There is no utopia. No one, and no project, is perfect. Do we have faults, yes, some of them may be more important to you than they are to me, however the fact remains, if you are here for Joomla, the structure is already in place (maybe not ideal, or perfect) for your contribution to be accepted. So, will you contribute? If so, I look forward to seeing you in the community, genuinely helping people, in any way you can, within the current provisions that exist.
Explaining to someone how an open source community actually works is difficult. In my opinion the author has captured with his words a universal truth regarding open source projects. Try replacing Joomla in the above excerpt with Wordpress, Drupal, Radiant, e107, mojoPortal, or another favorite open source project and you'll see what I mean. Some experiences in open source are universal.