Deborah Digges A Technical blog

Going the Open Source Way

Starting out is never easy - it’s daunting at first; The thought of contributing to open source seems difficult and time-consuming - must one be a coding genius favoured with an infinite amount of free time to make even a semblance of a meaningful contribution?

The innumerable blogs and guides on “How to contribute to open source” tell us to find something that interests us, look for issues, report issues, write patches, fix documentation, get to know the community, join the mailing lists, actively participate on IRCs. The merit of all things lies in their difficulty, and it seems like this is no different.

So, that’s exactly what we did – painstakingly went through issues raised on projects we were familiar with or software that we’d used. It took us almost two weeks to peg down something we could start working on - our needle in the haystack, 500lines.

What is 500 lines or less?

Fourth in the Architecture of Open Source Applications series, this book aims to discuss decisions and tradeoffs that software architects need to make when building an application.

“Every architect studies family homes, apartments, schools, and other common types of buildings during her training. Equally, every programmer ought to know how a compiler turns text into instructions, how a spreadsheet updates cells, and how a browser decides what to put where when it renders a page. This book’s goal is to give readers that broad-ranging overview, and while doing so, to help them understand how software designers think.” – 500 lines or less

Why are we inspired to do this?

The spirit behind every book in the AOSA series drives us to contribute to this project. “Most software developers repeat one another’s mistakes rather than building on one another’s successes. Our goal is to change that”. This is the change we want to be a part of.

What do we plan to do?

We aim to contribute a chapter on garbage collection to 500 lines. The motivation behind this is to explain how one would architect a simple garbage collector. What are the design decisions available, which one would you choose, and when? These are the questions we aim to answer through this chapter.

Hello, Open source!