It was the year 2010 and I was into a 6 month internship which was a part of my Bachelor’s Degree. Somebody reminded me that the year’s GSoC program has been announced. Before I tell you anything more, I think I need to tell you about how GSoC was viewed by us at University of Moratuwa.
To us at University of Moratuwa, the GSoC was a big deal. By 2010, the University has topped in terms of the number of proposals accepted for a couple of consecutive years and everybody was so excited about the program. There was a strong motivation inside the university towards contributing to FOSS which encouraged students to apply for GSoC while the GSoC itself made people more aware about the FOSS world, creating a spiral effect. So all in all, winning a GSoC was something to be proud of at Mora.
So, determined to win a GSoC project I started exploring the project ideas. Let alone the project list, the organization list was so long. However, I found this interesting project idea in phpMyAdmin’s idea list which was about adding charts to phpMyAdmin. This was somewhat related to what I was doing at my internship. But I did not have any experience with FOSS communities. Communicating in mailing lists, going through code and documentation to understand the architecture, submitting patches was all new to me. But I did not have any choice; I communicated my interest on dev mailing list and started exploring the code. phpMyAdmin had a strict selection process where the students were required to submit patches to show their familiarity with the code. So the next logical step was to chose a bug from the bug tracker and submit a patch, which would have been little easier if I were more familiar with GIT, the version control system phpMyAdmin was using. phpMyAdmin wiki and other documentation was my savior, providing much valued insight into the project; I read every page of them.
It was very fascinating to see some of my patches getting accepted. Some patches received feedback from developers on how to improve and not so lucky patches got rejected. All in all it was quite interesting to contribute with phpMyAdmin project. I was enjoying the process very much. Then came the accepted list of GSoC projects for the year. Nope, you guessed it wrong, my project was not there! Someone else probably submitted a superior proposal. Was I sad? May be. But I was already enjoying contributing to FOSS.
After a couple of months, my internship had ended and I was back in the University. It was those days where you have more than enough time to do whatever you like. So why not fix a couple of bugs in phpMyAdmin! More interactions on dev mailing lists, more patches, more feedback and I was enjoying working with phpMyAdmin. Then came a surprise, an email from one of the project admins of phpMyAdmin asking whether I am interested in joining the phpMyAdmin team. I was over the moon, happily surprised, sent a reply saying yes. That is how my FOSS life began with phpMyAdmin.
To be continued …