Contributing to Open Source : Getting Started in C++

What is an Open Source?

Open Source is the term generally referred to as Open Source Software (OSS) in the software world. An OSS is generally the one which is freely available on the internet, to use, modify, test, and develop further accordingly. OSS is more convenient to use by various users across the world as it is modifiable in nature. Users have the choice of adding or removing software patches to it according to their requirements.

It has drastically changed the software world for the benefit of programmers, developers, testers who try their hands on by contributing to open source.

Why contribute ?

  • To improve your knowledge and teaching skills

If you have certain knowledge in particular domain, language, software etc. You want to learn more about it. Expertise yourself by learning more about it. Practice and learn more new things. Take a part in related projects. Make others understand things better.

Once you improvised yourself, wou can always start to teach others by taking sessions, webinars, online classes etc. Every contribution matters.

  • Upgrading the Software

If you are a constant user of a particular software and you feel your suggestions can make it more better and user friendly then also you can contribute by giving ideas, designing new interfaces, enhancing performance, building patches etc. Reporting bugs that were never reported before would also help others serve better in future.

  • Becoming a part of a Community

By becoming a member of large communities, you’ll get to learn a lot of social skills. Getting help from others and helping others to make each other grow would benefit a lot personally as well as professionally. Making even a small change will give confidence as it would affect softwares that are open to the public. Millions of people would benefit at one go.

What to Contribute ?

A very false belief among all is that when it comes to software, you can only contribute through codes. Building a software also requires interface designing, documentation, requirements gathering, graphic designing, presenting, diagrams etc. Also once done with the development comes testing, marketing, advertising etc.

  • Coding

If you are proficient in a particular programming language then you can always contribute by coding particular modules, patches, parts of a program etc. Take projects similar to your skills and start.

  • Event Planning

Organizing events related to open discussions, seminars in schools and colleges. Organizing hackathons for students and developers. From booking a particular location to sending invites, arranging audience, security needs, technological requirements for presentations, etc. is also a challenging thing that you can contribute to. Demonstrate your management skills by becoming a part of it.

  • Design

Design a particular user screen. Design of logos, design of interfaces, designing models of hardware devices etc. Improving the old interfaces. Designing T-shirts for printing, banners etc. Your drawing skills as well as html, CSS and angular would help the community. Most important of all is the imagination.

  • Documentation

If you think you can explain things better then you can contribute by documenting things related to a particular project. Some examples of documents you can contribute to −

  • News letters, articles
  • Software manuals, user manuals.
  • Software requirement specification document ( SRS )
  • Software design document ( SDD )
  • Learning Tutorials
  • Step by step user Guide etc.
  • Making presentations etc.
  • Other ways

  • Reviewing codes, documents etc.

  • Answering questions on online sites. Like stackoverflow, quora etc.

  • Demonstrating thorough video presentations.

  • Taking online classes.

  • Not always a software, other things like books, recipes etc are part of open source

How to Contribute ?

  • Search for an open source website where you can find such projects.
  • Register yourself to become a contributor
  • Search for topic related to your choice
  • Every open source project has contributors directory
  • Check for open issues
  • Learn through chats and discussions about the project
  • Understand thoroughly before you begin
  • Confirm if its legitimate
  • You are good to go.

Examples of some open source platforms

Updated on: 03-Aug-2020


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