How to start contributing in Open Source

It’s been 3 years I made an account on GitHub when I thought it was just a code sharing platform, and you can download codes for free. How stupid of me! That cat shaped icon was something that I used to think was irrelevant. They might have kept some terminal based icon, or <> or anything else, but why this cat?

I read about it on Quora and found the story interesting. There is a story behind the logo of every company and so has Github. Well, I tried learning about how to use GitHub, and what exactly it does. I used to work on Windows at that time. I didn’t realise there’s an amazing world out there for linux users until one of my senior told me to delete Windows and install Linux on my system.

Linux, again being an open-source operating system has its own advantages. You got a huge community that answers even the silliest of your questions. I love the https://askubuntu.com community. I’ve always got my answer on this website. Switching to linux was a pain in the starting but it was interesting at the same time. You get to know that there’s a world who uses Ctrl+Alt+T to get things done. This is the best combination. Better than the Ctrl+Alt+Del(Opens task manager in Windows).

So coming back to the point, How to get started! Well, first of all, setup your system environment. This includes installing packages, installing git, giving permissions to certain directories, setting environmental variables and paths, etc. There are millions of open source projects available over internet. To pick a project, go to GitHub, search for the domain/organisation/project that you’re interested to work on. For eg, I wanted to work on some Python based project, so I searched Python and got a ton of projects that are built using Python.

Fork that project in your account and clone that forked repository.
To clone the repository, you may use git bash in your terminal. Type

git clone https://github.com/username/repository_name

This will clone the repository into your machine. In simple words, this will create a copy of the repository into your system.
You can contribute in the project in many ways. You can work upon an issue, or can introduce a new feature, or even can help in optimising the code.

Once you’re done with it, push the changes to your forked repository.
To do so, type

git add .
git commit -m ‘Message about your commit’
git push origin master

This will update your forked repository with the updated code along with your commit on the top of it.

Once you’re done with it, send a pull request to the parent repository with the proposed changes(You’ll see a button to send a pull request on your repository page).

And bam! You made your first open source contribution. Someone would review your pull request and will tell you if any changes needs to be made in that. If everything looks fine to them, one of them will merge your commit!

Open source contribution is as easy as that! I would recommend you to start with some basic projects to get familiar with it.

You can check some our open source projects at https://github.com/GDGVIT

May the code be with you