KDE mentored a lot of students during Google Code-in and I asked some of them to write about their experience.
Well my first KDE task was “Research: Understanding KDE Users (Individuals)” with mentor Carl Symons (kallecarl). This was my fifth task in the Google Code-In Contest 2011. To be honest, this task (of the three KDE tasks that I’ve completed as of now) was one of my favorite tasks as it was a research tasks in which I tried my best not to leave out any little detail.
It was late night (12:00 AM, Monday, December 5) when I requested a claim for this task. Feeling tired after a nice Sunday, I went to sleep to wake up to a cool Monday morning to see task assigned to me, but I could proceed no more with the task courtesy, the power cuts we are facing here these days. The rest of the day was uneventful for I had to study for my forthcoming exams.
The next day I was able to get kallecarl’s contact details and contact him on #kde-promo. I had a long chat with him about my task asking him what KDE Promo team does, about the Akademy events and many more questions. The best part was that he was patient and was ready to answer my every query. He seemed to be an informative and helpful person (as I observed him) as the other mentors that I’ve worked with.
The above paragraph depicts my normal procedure of starting things with every task that I’ve done. Get the mentor’s email address and most importantly the IRC nick if he/she uses IRC. Then chat with them about the task, its background, scope where things can be improved etc. Then start working on the task.
Research tasks are my favorite because one can get to see how a project functions, which I did get to see but partially, to be honest, little but to a considerable extent. After all how much can one expect to observe within some countable days while working with one part of a project? But as the open source projects are (I mean transparent), one can get to understand it (the project) if one sticks with it and observe for some months which I’d gladly do but that’s another thing.
Understanding what the KDE Promo team needed for the task, I hopped onto the task, put my thinking cap on as I needed to put forward some proposals for conducting the research. I categorized my task’s objectives, looked into what methods may be needed to do the research, borrowed some ideas, drafted a sample document and mailed it to my mentor who politely suggested me some changes and said he was looking forward for more in his reply. From there on, I got excited enough to help me focus more on the task. Funny isn’t it how humans get more dedicated to a task they do if they are encouraged a little?
With that enthusiasm I completed that task and I’ve been completing all of my claimed tasks by doing everything I could to do the tasks justice and which every student participating in this contest would be doing too. Coming to us (the participants), we must realize how great an achievement it is for us to complete at least one task in this contest because we are contributing our efforts to the organizations who need them the most because they serve the humanity by crafting certain free technologies that are class apart and which help the common people. Most of the contributors of these organizations put their heart into these valuable creations in their spare time. These open source organizations, the developers, the contributors and all those who help such projects to improve are the real heroes. Working with them to contribute to their (and ultimately our) cause is a great achievement in itself. It is how I feel and how every participant of this contest must feel.
To be honest, the prizes set for each student who does at least something in this contest are a draw for students like us but it also creates an awareness in us to understand the importance of the term ‘open source’ for those who can see it. I got an opportunity to interact with real heroes who are also nice people. I also understood that there are more ways to contribute other than ‘coding’ and I am really glad that I am doing it. Thank you KDE for giving me a chance voice my opinions! Thank you Google for giving us a rewarding opportunity to work with such amazing organizations!