FOSS Wave in Delhi, India: Getting started for the dayOpen source is the new trend. When major corporations are moving towards open architecture by using open source tools and even pushing their internal projects into open source, it makes your contributions especially worthy. But before starting with contributing, many people face the same common set of questions. How they can start, how should they introduce themselves in the community, and where they can contribute. To answer these questions, I planned a session on free and open source software (FOSS) and Fedora at the Northern India Engineering College in Delhi, India.

During the planning phase, I got in touch with Sumantro, who is himself an open source enthusiast and contributing to various open source projects including the Fedora Project. With his help, we planned the agenda for the session and gathered the resources to conduct the session. On 12th August, 2016, this session on FOSS and Fedora was conducted to:

  • Answer these questions
  • Bring up new people in the open source arena
  • Show where they can contribute, learn and make an impact

Starting the day in Delhi

The session started with small questions. People who have tried their hands on contributing to open source shared what problems they faced during their journey. The answers to the questions ranged from having issues working with the codebase of the projects to problems in figuring out where to start from.

During the session, the main focus was to make the participants aware about what FOSS is and how it is beneficial to the community. The common misconception about freeware and FOSS being the same was also cleared during the session. During the session, a brief overview was presented to the participants about how they can start with their open source journey. We walked them through from identifying the project where they want to contribute to sending their introduction mails in the mailing lists of the project. The session moved on with the topic about where the participants can contribute and what areas of contribution they can work in (both technical and non-technical). Awareness was raised that a contributor doesn’t need to possess the knowledge of coding to get started with contributions in the project.

FOSS Wave in Delhi, India: Audience asking questions about open sourceIntroducing Fedora

After the introductory session on FOSS, we went ahead with our agenda and introduced the Fedora Project and the community behind it: what the Fedora Project is, what its mission is, and how the participants can get started with Fedora. The participants were guided upon how they can create their identity on the Fedora Project by signing up on FAS. They could then use that identity to get access to various Fedora applications and resources. The session on Fedora moved on with the introduction on how the contributors can get to the mailing list and introduce themselves to the community. There, they can get help about starting their contributions. The main focus during the session on Fedora was to introduce the participants to the Fedora Quality Assurance (QA) team and release validation testing.

Extending on the basic idea, we introduced Bodhi and package testing. Through a live demonstration, participants learned how they can start with package testing. The demo consisted of how to log into Bodhi using FAS and then enabling the updates-testing repository on Fedora to get the packages in testing. An overview of the karma system was provided to the participants where they were told about what karma points mean and how they should give karma. The session proceeded with an overview of release validation and why it is important. The different development channels in Fedora, like Rawhide and branched, were introduced to the participants and what they mean. A demo of release validation using relval was provided to the participants.

Introducing Git and more questions

The next session for the event was focused on getting started with Git. Git is a version control system used by many individuals and corporations to manage their source code. It also keeps track of the changes made by other developers. During this session, participants were introduced with a basic Git workflow. How they initialize a Git repository, add a remote repository, and pull the project source code. Participants guided to making their first Git commits and how it all works. This included covering the associated benefits of this type of system. Moving on with the Git session, participants were introduced to how various open source projects use version control systems like Git to manage their source code and accept contributions.

The event ended with an open question-and-answer session. Participants asked a variety of questions regarding open source projects. These questions consisted of things like availability of paid opportunities in open source, competitions in open source, and more. Answering these questions, participants learned about programs like Google Summer of Code, various conferences that are organized by the open source projects, and the recognition model used by these projects.

FOSS Wave in Delhi, India: Covering using Git version control system

Author credits: Saurabh Badhwar

Image courtesy Andrew Illarionov – originally posted to Unsplash as Untitled.