First Open Source Contribution and Outreachy!

Hi there! This is my first post on the blog and an introduction is mandatory. I am Bhakti and I am in my final year of engineering undergrad. Although I have been using open source operating systems since almost 6 years,I did not know how to actually contribute to open source projects until a friend taught me the basics.

The first step before even finding a project to contribute was to prioritise in what way I could contribute. There is design,documentations and of course,coding. Although I have done a bit of programming during my graduation,I am much more passionate about UX( User Experience)  and wish to continue in UX. After focussing on one field,it became fairly easy to choose an organisation, that was design-driven,to contribute to.

For newcomers like me,Gnome has an extremely resourceful page at Get Involved. Similarly,you can also browse the organisations that had previously participated in Outreachy and GSoC. 

My first contribution in the open source world was for Cockpit . Cockpit is an interactive server administrator interface. The installation for Cockpit is fairly simple:

1.Install Cockpit:

sudo dnf install cockpit

2. Enable Cockpit:

sudo systemctl enable --now cockpit.socket

3.Enable the ports through firewall,if required:

sudo firewall-cmd --add-service=cockpit
sudo firewall-cmd --add-service=cockpit --permanent

My mentors Dominik Perpeet and Andreas Nilsson helped to narrow down the task for my contribution. I designed the UI for the Network Manager. The current user interface contains jargons for the different modes. Our aim was to describe the modes for beginner users or system administrators.

Current UI
Current UI
Proposed UI
Proposed UI

The fonts in the proposed UI isn’t in sync with the current fonts used ,but that will be changed when making the final changes. The backend code is still under progress and I will get to it on one of the coming weekends.

Now would also be the time to mention that I have been accepted into Outreachy internship with Cockpit and I am ecstatic.

Outreachy is intended to help newcomers and new contributors to open source applications and projects. Outreachy specially focusses on providing equal opportunity for under-represented groups in the open source community. This is a full time internship for three months and participants work remotely from home. The Cockpit community has been very welcoming and has helped me to get involved in contributing to the Cockpit project. Being accepted into Outreachy is an honour and it has only motivated me to learn more  and contribute to the open source community.

Not only do I get to contribute to the project but also learn more about user experience. My Outreachy project is to build a UX focussed interface for the firewall in Cockpit. The internship started on 6th December 2016 and I have started working on my project. So far,I have listed similar applications that have a GUI for firewall and the user stories. The next step is to search for patterns in all the applications listed which will be followed by shortlisting the requirements,workflow and then the mockups.

Although I will be blogging regularly about my project,you can also find all the information about the firewall support here.

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