Though everyone knows about free and open source software (FOSS), and the vast and diverse community that has grown around it, there is still a lot of confusion when it comes to who can contribute to it. A common question is,“Who can contribute?” To understand how the FOSS world operates in India and learn about the new projects, Ankita K.S. from the EFY Group chatted with Rajesh Sola, education specialist, KPIT, at OSI Days 2018. Excerpts follow…
Q Can you tell us about your journey with open source software?
My open source journey started as a small contributor at Novell on OpenOffice.org (LibreOffice now). This was in my final year of internship at Novell’s Linux Development Group (LDG), where I was supporting open source development on OpenOffice.org, Evolution, GNOME and a few more projects. From there on, it has been a happy journey in which I have learned a lot from FOSS, and have been able to motivate many students towards Linux migration and the adoption of open source.
Q What are your views on open source adoption in India?
Adopting open source has proved to be very successful for many organisations. We see significant trends of open source adoption in academia, government, product startups, and large corporates. The fears and risks associated with open source have gone with the enhanced community support and with the help of third party service providers.
One reason why some companies are still hesitant is that open source software does not come for free unless it is an outof-the-box solution. There will be some costs for the human resources required to customise and maintain the software. But when compared to proprietary solutions, open source is far less expensive, allows better scaling for deployments and eliminates any vendor dependence. This is why we see more companies moving towards open source today.
Q Who can contribute to open source? What is the main challenge when it comes to getting more contributors?
You need not be a developer to contribute to open source. While developers contribute code, there are various other requirements like documentation, translations and design. So, depending on one’s skills, there is always room to help.
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