What is open source?


From a beginner's point of view, we have been using open source projects ever since we were kids. For example, VLC, I used it when I was a kid, others like Google Chrome, Firefox, etc., so open source is everywhere. 

What Do We Mean by Open Source?

If you're a beginner, open source is basically projects that are readily available and free to use like open source licenses that are free to use and free to access and modify. It's an inclusive community, and You get to collaborate with people around the world, so on and so forth. 

For example, android is an open-source operating system, but it's being used by so many other companies. Therefore, the idea is that you get to modify the codebase, you get to work on the codebase, and these are some huge projects in which anyone can contribute, which is what I meant by inclusivity. You can find an open-source project according to your tech stack, but let's talk a little more about why contributing is important.

Why is Contributing Important?

As a student or even as a working professional, if you want to gain some new skills, contributing is important. For large-scale projects to which anyone can contribute, projects are looking for contributors and are open to all. They are free to access, modify, and use. For example, again depending on the licenses, but overall that's the case in general. 

So to answer the question about why contributing is important, as a student you're building a resume and in the first year and second year you might not get many internship opportunities, so open source is a great way to get real-world software development experience from the comfort of your home. Especially if you have a college that does not provide you with many opportunities, open source can really help you with that. It will enhance your resume very much. 

You'll get to put some really big projects that you contributed to in your resume. You get the satisfaction of knowing that the code that you're writing is being used by people around the world; you get networking. You make connections from around the world, and you can definitely get a job and internships or whatever via your open source career as well. Since, if you're getting an internship, a role, or a job opportunity.

Why is your open source contribution even more important? That is something that definitely happens, and it has happened with me as well. So you get to test your skills as well. For example, if you've been learning web development for the past three months, and you're like I've been learning web development for the past three months, and you' In that case, you can just pick up a web development project and start contributing to it, and you'll actually be applying your knowledge.

Finding The Projects & Organizations

In order to contribute to open source projects, you need a project, and you need an organization.

Let's see how we can find that there are a few approaches to find organizations. The Summer of Code and GitHub have some amazing projects. We'll talk more about that later, but Summer of Code is a great website. Then, the next step is to look at every single project and see which project you like. Click on any project, then click "Learn more". There you will see the website and overview. The third step is to click on the ID list.

Once you click on the ID list here, you will find all the projects that are currently active in the community. The next step is starting with the project. Now that you have found the project, the first thing you need to do is use the project. Try to set it up on your local system. Run the test cases, build the project on your local system. You might face some issues and doubts.

How do we resolve those doubts? Join the mailing list whenever you get stuck on such projects. You will definitely require some help. 

And the best help you could get is from the people that maintain the project, so check out the mailing list, join their group channel, and whenever you get stuck, ask your questions on the public channel. They'll be pointing you towards some resources, and you'll be diving deep into it. Most of the time is going to be spent reading code and writing code, and it's not going to happen overnight. Contributions are going to take months, maybe even years, and that is totally fine. Trust the process, give it time and once it happens, you will be making some really nice contributions.

Non-Coding Contributions

Coding is not the only way to contribute. You can definitely contribute by helping someone else contribute, enhancing the contributor experience, writing documentation, reviewing someone else's code, opening up new issues that you might have found, or if there was a bug in a particular project, you can open up an issue for that.

Finding Projects On GitHub

The next way to find projects is, you can go to the explore tab of GitHub and click on topics to check out each and every project to see which one you like. Then start contributing. It will be overwhelming at first, but don't worry, we are here to help you. Have a great day.

Before You Contribute to an Open Source Project

When you’ve found a project you’d like to contribute to. Do a quick scan to make sure that the project is suitable for accepting contributions. Otherwise, your hard work may never get a response.

Open source review boards are the perfect place to collect feedback on your open source project. They provide a space for you and your contributors to share feedback, keep an eye on the status of any outstanding issues, and manage all the activities that are happening in your project. 

The best thing about them is that they provide an easy way for anyone to contribute to the project without ever having to submit a pull request. All you need is a GitHub account, and you can start contributing right away! All you need to do is sign up and create your first post. Embedding open source in your open source processes.

As a project grows, it becomes difficult for a single person to be able to maintain the project and respond to all the requests that come in. In order to help with this issue, many open source projects have added a "scan" button on their GitHub page. When you click scan, the site will scan your code and send it back as an output of what issues and other errors may be present. This makes it easier for new contributors and for those of us who want to contribute less frequently to open source projects. Alright, so that was a pretty lengthy article. I hope you take something away from it.