Catch These Low Hanging Fruits of Open Source to Kick-off Your Open Source Contribution Journey!

Low Hanging Fruits (Image licensed under CC-BY-2.0 by Andreas_Fischler)

Non-technical contributions such as technical document writing, user support or document localization are known as low-hanging fruits of open source.”

If you are an open source enthusiast looking for an opportunity to make your own space in the Mozilla community in an easy but effective way; here’s your chance!

In this article, I will be sharing how you — as a fresher, can get started with making your first open source contribution with Mozilla — a leading, large-scale open source community.

But before I tell you the “WHAT” and the “HOW” of non-code contribution, I would like to tell you the “WHY” part of making non-code contribution to Mozilla (and to any open source community for that matter).

WHY to Contribute In Non-technical Areas

“While code contribution makes the largest part for most of the open source projects, non-coding or non-technical contributions is also equal important for any open source community.”

And here’s a myth buster for programmers reluctant to make non-code contribution:

Myth: Non-coding contribution is only for non-programmers and non-software engineers.

Fact: Being a programmer or a software engineer, making a non-code contribution will get you on a fast-lane entry to your open source community.

When you make a non-code contribution, you don’t need to wait for your patches and code to be reviewed and you don’t have to worry about your GitHub PRs to be rejected because of missing semicolons in your code lines ;)

Non-technical Contribution Opportunities with Mozilla

This one is my favourite list!

I started my open source journey by making non-technical contribution to Mozilla in the form of user support, technical document writing and Firefox QA testing 3 years ago and I keep encouraging new contributors to go with the same route.

Contributing Through Localization/Translation

Localization is the reason why Mozilla has been capable of delivering such massive reliable products like Firefox and Thunderbird. Mozilla’s millions of users are spread across the globe speaking a varied number of languages and this requires Firefox, Thunderbird and other tools to be localized — in the language its users understand and speak. That is why it is crucial to have Firefox and Thunderbird available in local languages.

Here’s how you can help with your native language (no, not the programming language :P ) skill.

  1. Localize Help Articles (Knowledge Base Documents) in Your Local Language
    You can help Mozilla and its users by translating Firefox and other products related support articles into your native language. We call them SUMO articles (SUpport.MOzilla articles). Get involved here.
  2. Localize Firefox in Your Local Language
    Firefox is people’s browser used by millions around the world. These millions of users speak varied language and that is why Firefox is available in more than 80 languages. You can help us localize Firefox’s next version in your local language. Get involved here.
  3. Localize Firefox for Android
    Love Firefox? Love Android? Here’s how you can help us make Firefox on Android’s next version available in your language. Get involved.
    (Fact check: Firefox on Android is available in 60+ languages!)
  4. Localize Mozilla Websites
    You can also start your localization contribution by just translating all or any of the major Mozilla web pages such as Mozilla website, Firefox Website, Thunderbird website and so on. Get involved.
  5. Localize Support Articles for native users
    You can also help Mozilla’s users by translating various help articles on the Mozilla Support forums into your language. Get involved.

Contributing Through Design Skills — UX Design

If you are creative designer looking to make a ding in the open source sphere, Mozilla has some creative opportunities for you.

You can proudly show-off your design skills by designing logos, creatives, UIs and other delightful design properties for Mozilla. Mozilla embraces Open Design ideology to foster open source in design. Head over to Mozilla’s Open Design repo on Github to learn more. Get involved.

Fact-check: The latest Mozilla logo is the gift of Open Design efforts, a community participation by creative designers. Learn More

Contributing with Testing/QA

Quality Assurance and Testing is an integral part of Mozilla products. Its flagship products such as Firefox and Thunderbird are so much reliable because of a wide-spread community of QA tester. If you are an open source geek with passion for QA or if you just want to make your space in Mozilla, QA can be an easy entry-gate for you. Here’s how you can start with QA contribution:

  1. Firefox QA
    Test Firefox for bugs and errors. Find & report bugs to dev. community so that they can fix it and make Firefox better. Get involved.
  2. Participate in Firefox Test Day
    Join fellow Mozilla QA tester by participating in Firefox Test Days to test and verify Firefox’s early release version. Firefox Test Day is organized on a scheduled date prior to release schedule to detect any bugs in latest version. Get involved.
  3. Use Firefox Nightly
    Firefox Nightly is an early release version of the upcoming Firefox browser. The Firefox Nightly browser is intended to be used by testers and contributors like you to test and report bugs in the upcoming release version. You can test brand new features daily (or… nightly!). Enjoy at your own risk! Get involved.

Provide Support to Users Through User Support

Help and mentor users by solving their problems and issues pertaining to Firefox and other Mozilla products.

  1. Mozilla Knowledge Base
    Write down solutions for common problems pertaining to Firefox and other Mozilla products. Get involved.
  2. Social Support
    Help Firefox users in real-time over Twitter by responding to their tweets with solutions. Get involved.
  3. Help of Mozilla Support Forum
    Help users by answering their questions on Mozilla support forum att support.mozilla.org (Mozilla SUMO) — popular support forums for all Mozilla products. Get involved.

Other HOT Contribution Opportunities:

Be an Evangelizer for Mozilla and the Open Web

Don’t fit anywhere in the list? You can still make your impact count by becoming an evangelizer for Mozilla and the open web. Run advocacy campaigns for Mozilla, spread awareness about internet privacy, net policy and other issues that harm the open web. Join hands with your fellow Mozillians and make your voice heard! Get involved.

Make the Web More Compatible
Help the web be more inter-operable and cross-browser compatible by contacting site owners and reporting them web compatibility issues. Help them fix those issues with the help your coder friends. Get involved.

If you are stuck somewhere in getting started with your non-technical contribution at Mozilla, do let me know via comment or on Twitter (@moingshaikh) and I’d be glad to help you get started!