I'm currently working for an open source project to help out on. Programming language isn't really a priority, but preferably the app is actually quite useful. I've tried sourceforge/freshmeat and I just havn't had much luck in finding a good project to donate my time to. Anyone have any suggestions?
Best way to do what you want is to do it for selfish reasons, you use something? you would like to see it do something better or have a new feature or fix some bug that is bothering you, submit patches.
That is how it works for most projects, you may get full commit access from then, but usually if the project is of decent quality, your patches will still have to be reviewed, just you will be trusted to check it in instead of someone else.
So find something that personally interests you and is something you use, learn it, read the code, join mailing list(s) for the project, search before asking questions on the list/newsgroup, and play around and hopefully get something done that is useful, lol.
Most people on opensource projects are like that, outside of all the drama on many, heh.
Getting used to making patches for something that interests you is what is going to be the most productive for you and the project ( and something that personally interests you will also make it where you'll stick around ).