Saturday, February 21, 2009

How an Alien can contribute to FOSS

It all started after Codecracker last year...

Debayan came up with the idea of a Software Development Unit. We called it the NITDGP LUG SDU. We formed the first mailing list I actively participated in, the SDU mailing list, whose mails started with:

"Calling all sDUDES and misSDUs,"

Then came up the great day when Kushal Das of DGPLUG(this is the Durgapur Linux Users Group), came up from somewhere and showed us the first insight to the FOSS Development world. The event included the famous "a, b = b, a" portion of a python tutorial. Great day...

Soon we were all supposed to be participating in the Google Summer of Code, for which I joined the Mixxx mailing list because the project seemed interesting to me. But I never applied.

The next time did not miss the opportunity. I applied to NOSIP (Novell Open Source Internship Programme) to work on the LDTP project. There were two more options to work on: Evolution and Mono, but I choose LDTP because it sounded uncommon(what a reason!!)

Summer 2008 came and I was working on LDTP. Under the guidance of Naggapan a.k.a nags at #ldtp on freenode (current maintainer of LDTP and working at Vmware in the U.S.), hacking was a great experience. Here are the steps I went through:

  1. I studied the manual of LDTP.

  2. I played around with it. My guinea pigs ware Pidgin (poor bird), Evolution and XChat, the three internet tools I used extensively during the vacations.

  3. Playing around with Pidgin I found that we had some bugs with LDTP recorder which I reported and followed how Nagappan went about fixing them, giving him ideas as we went ahead.

  4. Playing around with Evolution, I found a bug which happened to be a bug on Evolutions side.

  5. With Xchat I got an idea of a crucial enhancement which I implemented with a bit of new GUI, some code and a new file called appdata.

  6. Later when College reopened for 7th sem, I had no other work but to watch 7 Seasons of Scrubs and work on an enhancement which Nagappan suggested, and implement ed it with the help of some more code and a ldtp.conf file.

    I am yet to combine the appdata file from 5 and the ldtp.conf file from 6 above.

    I am also to work on the at-poke feature for the LDTP GUI for which my workout got selected for FOSS.IN but never saw the day of light (sad).

I still don't get why Debayan keeps calling me an alien...

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