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The journey from Season of KDE to Google Summer of Code 2022

Friday, 10 June 2022 | Aastha Chauhan


Blog: 1 Week 0

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” ~Michael Jordan

Square One

There are so many things that we aspire to achieve in life, and when we do not get them, we are absolutely dejected. A person can take two paths as a consequence of failure; either to quit or, instead of getting disheartened, push harder.

When FOSS Overflow by IIT Bhilai, a nationwide open-source program in India, was about to end in January 2022, I was seeking new avenues in the world of Open Source just like a child mesmerized by some newly discovered activity. I googled “Open Source Programs” and the name of Season of KDE by KDE was amongst the top programs on Geeks for Geeks. I instantly tapped on the link, and the biggest glimmer of hope was that the applications for SOK 2022 were open. 

It was not the first time that I was endeavoring to create a proposal and I was confident because the rookie that I was, did not realize that it is not just the content of the proposal but also community engagement and past contributions that the organizations seek in an ideal

candidate.

Discovering GCompris

In the meantime, I also discovered that all the projects under SOK were absolutely challenging for me to begin with at that moment, yet I mustered the strength to at least make a submission. It has been my typical nature to be pushy. It was an “aha” moment when I read the description under the title “GCompris”. This is where the story begins. 

The process of first installing the application wised me up to believe that if I somehow learn how to develop these activities, I can definitely think of something interesting that can be incorporated into this product. It was like a whim, just as I mentioned, a childish fantasy, and it has been grooving me on since that day. 

The obstacles

However, building the project on my IDE took me over two weeks. It was the first task, and I was already feeling a little jittery. It felt like a setback in the beginning, but I was still determined to just make a submission. 

I always reaffirmed to myself that I can learn things here and that GCompris is worth the shot. I could build the project, but it took me so much time to just build the project that I was again doomed to self-doubt. Nonetheless, I continued.

I finally made a submission. suggested a few ideas and their chimerical implementation plans.

Fast forwarding the tidbit to the results day, I got a rejection mail from the community. It wasn’t very surprising to me, but it’s human nature to be crestfallen at such an edict. 

My learning

I got detailed feedback from the mentors, which helped me to realise my weaknesses. The biggest mistakes were that I was too hesitant and I didn’t reach out to the community mentors. The next important lesson was that it is important to discuss the plan of action before the real engineering jobs.

Gloom before the glow

I decided to continue to learn to contribute to GCompris irrespective of any program because I was confident that I could learn and make a significant contribution. I started again in March, and proposed my first activity called “The Comparator Activity” and I was not even looking to apply for GSoC because it is one of the most prestigious open source programs, and I used to think it would be some great deal of time before I would be able to make a proposal for GSoC competent enough to make it through the application process. My motivation was to learn, not to participate in GSoC. It spontaneously became a part of my contribution journey with GCompris.

The Community Support

After having done some parts of the activity with the help of my amazing mentors- Johnny, Allon, Harsh, and Deepak-I started enjoying contributing here. It impelled me to visualize my approach to implementation, the art of writing clean code, and the knack for writing modular code. One of the major reasons why I gravitated towards the GCompris community is that they support the contributors by helping us to build the intuition that helps us to become a good developer. I gradually started deriving inspiration from the mentors and emulating their approach in my actions.

 Summer of 2022 with KDE and Google

When the proposal submission deadline was coming closer, I realized that my end-of-semester examinations was overlapping, which made things slightly strenuous for me. However, by God’s grace, I prepared a decent proposal in a few weeks’ time and it got accepted.

What follows

I will be completing my Comparator Activity by adding new modes to it and starting the Programming Tux and Guess 24 from scratch. 

This journey has taught me so much and is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll treasure forever. Thus, I am documenting my experience here. It may be still in its infancy, but it will grow and become something I will be proud of. I look forward to engaging with a global audience in the near future.

In the following blogs, I will provide an update on the design and implementation plans for the same. Stay tuned for more!