Hola amigos! , as we’re inching towards 2024, you’ve probably stumbled upon the term “open source” in your coding sessions or during those late-night tutorial binges (let’s avoid the notorious tutorial hell, shall we?). Now, if the concept of open source has left you scratching your head or feeling like you’ve just been handed a Rubik’s Cube without a manual, fear not, for I’m here to be your guide through the enigmatic realms of open source.
What is open Source ?
It is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code,design documents, or content of the product. That’s what the wikipedia says & is absolutely correct. In layman terms i can say it’s like having a recipe for a dish that everyone can see, change to their liking, and share with others.
Why Open Source ?
Contribution to oss(Open Source Software) can offer a variety of personal and professional benefits. Some of them are :-
- Skill Enhancement: Contributing to oss projects provides practical, real-world coding experience. It allows you to improve your programming skills, learn new technologies, and gain hands-on experience in a collaborative environment.
- Networking Opportunities: Open source communities are vibrant and diverse. By participating, you connect with developers, professionals, and enthusiasts from around the world. Networking within these communities can lead to mentorship, job opportunities, and collaborative projects.
- Portfolio Building: Actively contributing to oss projects adds valuable items to your programming portfolio. This can be especially beneficial when seeking employment or showcasing your skills to potential clients or collaborators.
How to do Open Source ?
I have seen many people say that you can do open source with no or minimal skills, but I differ from that opinion. They suggest that starting with fixing typos in documentation is a good way to begin, but I beg to differ. I believe that first understanding the codebase of any project is the most important thing in the open-source world; only then is your contribution valuable to both the project and you. Now, here are some things that I advise you to do before jumping into any project :-
- Learn Version Control : Familiarize yourself with version control systems like Git. Platforms such as GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket are commonly used for hosting open source projects.
- Choose a Tech Stack : Familiarize yourself with a tech stack that you have some experience with. At least, ensure that you know the basic syntax of it. Trust me; it is one of the most important aspects.
- Explore Projects : Browse popular open source platforms to find projects that align with your interests or areas you want to learn more about. Consider the project’s purpose, community, and activity level.
- Review Documentation : Thoroughly read the project’s documentation. Understand the project’s goals, coding conventions, and contribution guidelines. This step is crucial to making meaningful contributions.
- Join the Community : Engage with the project’s community through forums, chat channels, or mailing lists. Introduce yourself, ask questions, and observe how the community operates. Building relationships is a key aspect of open source.
- Address Small Issues : Look for beginner-friendly issues labeled as “good first issue” or “help wanted.” These often involve fixing bugs or implementing minor features. This allows you to make a positive impact without overwhelming yourself.
- Setup Development Environment : Follow the project’s instructions to set up your local development environment. Ensure that you have the necessary dependencies installed and that you can run the project locally.
- Make Your Contribution : Fork the project on the platform (e.g., GitHub) to create your copy of the repository.Create a new branch for your changes. Make your modifications or additions to the codebase. Commit your changes to your branch and push them to your forked repository.Open a pull request to propose your changes to the main project. Follow the project’s guidelines for submitting PRs.
Congratulation, that’s how you made your first contribution.
In a nutshell, participating in open source is not just about writing code; it’s about learning, growing, connecting with others, and contributing to a global community. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting, the open source world offers a rich and rewarding environment for personal and professional development.