Contributing to Open Source: Getting Started
Before going thoroughly in details of open-source software, firstly we need to be clear Software concepts. We are familiar with software: they are the programs through which our computer works or we can say that their task is to accomplish predefined task. The basic software is operating system. We are implementing the concepts of software into our daily lives, as we are living in the digital world. We are installing different kind of software on our mobile as well as in laptop.
What is Open Source software?
These are the freely available software whose source code can be easily modified or redistributed by anyone. There are different types of open-source software available such as video-editing software, antivirus, Operating system, word press, plugins, themes, and many more.
According to general survey, about 70 percent of the users and companies prefer an open source technology or software.
Related Article: What is Linux and What is Unix
Getting start on contribution to Open-source projects
We can begin an open-source journey with our both personal project and existing projects.
Key benefits of contribution
a) Developers can improve their coding skills by collaborating on an open-source projects.
b) Achieve Motivation.
c) Beginners can also get help.
What things required to be considered for an open-source contribution?
a) Programming language
b) Type of projects
c) Size of project
Different tools available for it:
Getting started with Openhatch
OpenHatch is ideal for Starters. It is an open-source community which can helps to provide different tools to find open-source projects. This helps to find methods to get involved on open source. They only need to go through the website and search. OpenHatch search page filters out bug dependent on project and language.
You can push your personal project into GITHUB, As an open-source project can be easily managed with GitHub. Bugs can be easily fixed in it.
How to Start?
a) Start learning basics of GitHub through its documentation.
b) Join the community
c) Built your own project according to requirement. Analyse previous projects, if you don't feel that project are meeting great functionality on particular time. You can choose that project to create your own project with your custom code and ideas.
d) Create alternative open-source software to other proprietary software by solving their issues and enhancing functionality.
e) Contribute to existing projects
f) You can take assistance from GIT maintainer teams for pull request process.
See some advantages of Open Source Software below
- Freely Available
- Availability of Resources
- Support Usually, such popular software is supported by a huge community of software developers who are always obtainable online and help out the developers who face the issues while making solutions. This software usually comes along with a well devised documentation that is very supportive while setting up and working on the software.
- Enterprise Management Solutions
One of the other essential advantages of using this technology is that it is generally available for free. Users just require downloading the software from the web and starting accessing it simply. This offers the user to access the saved resources for software improvement and other functions. This also supports reducing the overall rate of the project.
The best feature of open source software is customizing the software according to the needs of users. This is the major difference between open source and closed source model. The option of customizing the software permits the developers to make a solution that specially targets the needs of their clients. Organizations and enterprises can extract the maximum advantages from these attributes as they can get tailored solutions for handling their day to day activities.
Successful software is always demanding among the users, therefore almost all the software development organizations offer skilled and proficient resources that can access this software for making useful and meaningful solution for the client. The developers also want to keep themselves well-versed and updated with recent and popular technologies, if they need to survive in the sturdy job environment.
It is very a fact that each and every business venture is dissimilar to the other in some or the other manner. This also entails that their issues and needs are different just like the solutions needed for them. It is almost unfeasible to develop software that will totally fulfill the needs of any single type of business. However, open source software can be custom-made according to the business venture specific needs of the client to make a solution that can accomplish the needs of a specific business organization.
Presently, there are various open source software accessible over the web and can be freely downloaded. Some of the well-known Open Source web technologies are WordPress, Joomla, Magento, PHP, Ruby on Rails, Java, etc. These technologies along with various other OS technologies let the developers all over the globe to make the client oriented solutions that are reliable and flexible. The OS technology is a big boon for web developers who are typically working on severe budgets and require cost effective platforms for developing and serving speedy and helpful solutions to their clients.
See some famous examples of Open Source Software
- Accounting: In this field, you can find out various open source software such as SQL-Ledger (accounting system).
- Antivirus: In this field, users can find the open source ClamAV software and use it simply.
- Databases: In this field, users can access some software such as LDAP, MySQL (database), PostgreSQL (relational database with the ability to do stored procedures).
- Knowledge Management: Plone (open source content management system) and Knowledge Tree are the major examples of this sector.
- Domain Name Servers: There are many domain name servers like Bind, PowerDNS, etc.
- Telephony: In telephony, users can access Asterisk (It is a phone system as PBX that also aids Voice over IP technology), FreePBX, Elastix, Trixbox CE.
- E-mail Servers: There are many email servers available on the web such as PostFix, QMail, Sendmail, etc.
- File Servers: File servers are famous among the users. Some of these examples are FreeNAS, OpenFiler and Samba.
- Other Valuable Systems (desktops & servers): Some open source servers and desktops are Fedora (Linux Desktop System), Apache (web server), JBoss (J2EE server for Enterprise Java Development), Slackware (Linux Distribution), CentOS (Linux distribution from Red Hat's development efforts), Tomcat (Java Servlet Container), Zope (Content Management System and Portal), Ubuntu (Linux Desktop Operating System).
- Productivity Software: These kinds of software are Evolution (calendar, contact manager and e-mail client), Gimp (image manipulation program), Firefox (web browser), Thunderbird (e-mail client, news aggregator, etc.), Open Office (word processor, spreadsheet, etc.)
- Programming Languages: There are many open source programming languages popular among the developers such as Perl, PHP, C, Python, C++, Ruby, TcL, Mono, etc.
- Routing/Networking: In this field, DHCPD, IPTables, PF Sense are accessible
The above list shows some well known examples of software, which are open sourced to the world.