This week has been quite eventful for me because, I actually contributed to a real Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) project. More on that in a moment…
Several guidelines exist for those wanting to choose which FOSS project to contribute to. I will not try to re-invent the wheel so here are some useful links:
My personal opinion is, choose a FOSS project whose product you use frequently. In this way you get to be part of contributing to software that you use. What better joy can there be than that?! Also you do not have to dive into the code to contribute. You can start with little things like helping to write the documentation, test the software and file bugs. This will allow you familiarise yourself with the culture of the project before taking on the code to write patches and all.
Now back to my experience this week… I had prior to this time signed up to carry out Quality Assurance on Mozilla Thunderbird – a mail client that I use often. The role I signed up for involves testing beta versions of the product before new stable releases are made. It was fun, I must say because I got to understand in practical terms how to run test cases and file bugs. These are two essential skills a FOSS contributor should possess.