So, how did I manage to land into Google Summer of Code. Its a question I have been asked a thousand times in this short duration. And the honest answer is, I am a genius.

[end of blog]



I am just kidding. To be frank I don’t believe myself that I am in. I am innnnn… I still remember being the frightened newcomer to the open source world stressing about all the things from using markdown to highlight my chat messages on gitter or was just waiting to be snubbed around by others by committing what may be considered a serious crime over here.

Basically I was preparing for defeat, I was waiting for it to get harsh on me so that I could quit. I haven’t been quite a quitter in life but yeah I have left many of my things behind in life, which I thought were the only things that mattered at the moment. I left them as they got harsh. I didn’t want it to happen this time. And that’s the thing about open - source. It doesn’t punish you any way, the community is so friendly and welcoming that you never feel out of place, its just a bunch of like minded individuals that are together to learn, create and give out to the world at the same time.

And I may be lying that I achieved everything on my own. I was quite lucky to choose coala as my org to contribute. Earlier I had went thorugh a number of orgs, circling through their IRC channels making notes of the conversations and reminding myself that I have to understand all these things. I was constantly stressing out, spent 4-5 days this way and decided that it was enough.

“The next org I choose, I am sticking to it until the end” said the young boy inside of me and I found myself again scanning through the GSoC 2017 organizations page until I stumbled upon coala. The only language it had listed was python and I told my self I could definitely handle one language. I remember attending a small lecture on python on my Software Systems Course at my college and getting an assignment for the week. I had managed to complete it on time, how hard could python be! (I always look back and think I was such an idiot) so my journey into Open-source began with coala!

Typing my first message “Hello World”, I was greeted by corobo with a warm welcoming message and I sure did think such a wonderful person he is for the first time, but it took only a little time to understand the gist and corobo’s dark little secrets. He is still wonderful but he (or she) is a bot made for the coala community. (And we laugh at Elon for thinking that AI will take over the world)

Anyways again I started delving into the stuff, making nothing out of the source code, following only the chitter chatter on the gitter room, nothing technical. Let me tell you that until now I hadn’t got into contact of any source code that was more than a 1000 lines long. Most of my experience was to just write a program to accomplish a particular task, which had a finite number of test cases and approachable completion time. No wonder I was scared out of my wits and tits (not that I have any). Feelings of gloominess again began to wander my mind so (one of the best decisions of my life), I went ahead and broke some rules 😁.

I had already spent quite a few days like this and it was about time to take some action. Section Step 1, List 2, Point number 3 of the coala newcomer’s guide strictly mentions newcomers to not Private Message anyone, well it sure is annoying now that I am writing it but at that time I was all about breaking the rules! I saw Rai Vaibhav @RaiVaibhav, had an Indian name (bhai bhai), clicked on his profile, was even from my hometown and like a bitch I poured everything on him, how miserable I was, how pathetic I felt (I mention again like a bitch) and I can never thank him enough for it, the only thing he did was motivate me. Uptil now whenever I was asked to look at some code, I would search in every nook and corner, understood everything comepletely and then solve the problem. But what this experience made me realize was, that it is impossible to gulp down every flavour of the juice that coala is composed of in one gulp. Rather it would take months of experience to just even taste every piece with a spoon!

All that I got from it was to:

  • Mind your own business, if people are discussing something that you can’t even make head or tail out of, there’s a very great chance that it doesn’t concern you.
  • If you’ve got the slightest idea what other people are talking about, again don’t start palpating each and every stuff about it, soak in the intel, maybe it will make sense some time later.
  • Definitely try to help others with the stuff you know about, that’s one more way you get to know new things.
  • And concentrate only on the issue and the root of the problem to be actually able to solve the problem. If you are going to try to understand everything all at once, all you are gonna find is dismay and a crushed heart feeling that you are not good enough over here.

Well that’s it for my first blog, will same some for later. Just some quick notes. That was the second last time I had such a low feeling in the org. (The last was when I was actually writing my proposal). And that’s what I have been following ever since, one problem at a time and now, I don’t even realize that I am using so many technologies at once. From build this website with html, css, a bit of javascript using jekyll, yaml and liquid (okay! I accept I copied it but it still takes a shitload of time to understand, cut me a break!) from using sphinx, python, git, understand what is a CI (Continuos Integration), how are the bots working like our dear corobo, and how every time gitmate (another bot system for Github) pukes on our Pull Requests everytime we make one, to accepting that its faster with Vim and tmux than it ever was with Sublime Text and Finder (I am still in the transitory phase) to understanding what the heck is jinja2 and other kind of stuff along with moban doing within coala.

Its been a hell of a ride with Open-Source and there is so much to learn and yet I feel that I have grown so much already. Check out my other posts as I share how did I got promoted to a developer, how I actually wrote my proposal and how I began to get referred to as the most knowledgable person about the coala-core among my fellow GSoC 2018 mates.