Software Development: The Open Source Way

Software Development: The Open Source Way

A talk at IIIT-D Delhi describing my FOSS Journey, my experience at GSoC working on an Open Event framework for FOSSASIA


Arnav Gupta

July 06, 2015


  1. 3.

    whoami • Final year EEE @ DTU, Software Developer at

    heart • Contributor to Android, CyanogenMod, Arduino IDE • GSoC 2015 Student Developer @ FOSSASIA • Winner @ GSF Hacks 2014, Androidathon 2015 • Organiser, coDelhi, DTU’s first Hackathon • Speaker @ DroidCon ‘14, MODS ‘14 • Organiser/Speaker @ GDG New Delhi
  2. 4.

    git log --oneline 2009: hacked maymyindia roadpilot 2010: learnt php/js

    while building own website 2011: started hacking around with Android 2012: ported Xperia S firmware to X10 2013: CM device maintainer for 15 Xperias 2014: Contributions to AOSP, CM, Micromax 2015: Selected for GSoC, learning webstack
  3. 5.

    Why I like FOSS • Free as in gratis (almost

    always) • Free to modify, to suit my needs • Support base, community, Q/A sites, forums • Can look at the source and learn • Can fix bugs on my own, and do good for the world ;) • Can add my own features, and contribute back
  4. 6.

    What OSS means to me ? • Learning to collaborate

    with 1000’s of devs • Learning good coding practices • Cleaner code, as everyone will look at it • Work on real projects that the world uses • Shoulder to shoulder with great developers • Learning how large systems work
  5. 8.

    Brush with Linux • Got to know about Linux in

    7th grade. • Was excited to know an OS other than Windows can exist • Became a permanent Linux user by 9th grade, had far more features on a 700MB CD than a 9GB DVD of Windows • The ease of use, and the major updates every 6 months made me <3 FOSS
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    Using more OSS Apps • Used more FOSS apps like

    VLC, Audacity, Firefox, 7-zip, Notepad++ • Used Wordpress and Drupal • Initially mostly because they were gratis • Later, because more plugins and faster updates
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    First contributions - CM • Interested in the Android OS

    hacking scene after getting my first Android phone • Soon realised the whole Android OS source was open and anyone can modify and compile • XDA-Developers - one huge resource to learn how to start building the android source code. • Learnt about CM, a modified version of Android. Started building CM for my Xperia. • Learnt Java and C++ largely by reading others’ code
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    Rules of the Game • CM journey taught semantics of

    FOSS world. • Importance of authorship, licenses, copyrights and copylefts • Learning git, and then gerrit. The initial shock of your code being reviewed :P • Delving deep into version control, and it’s importance in the FOSS world. • Understanding more about how the community drives a FOSS project.
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    Spreading out - own projects • A github account was

    always exciting. Getting green dots was always an accomplishment. • Started creating small websites and apps as personal projects. Used Github always. Felt special about sharing code with the world. Also github was convenient. • Some projects became popular - a tool to modify kernels, a multi-touch library for Android, a custom kernel for Xperia phones
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    Getting addicted • OS contributions became an obsession. • Started

    electronics projects. Felt Arduino IDE lacked some features, became a contributor. • Contributed to many Android libraries, GNOME plugins, almost anything I used personally and found bugs or features lacking.
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    Accolades and recognition • Invited to speak at - ◦

    OSDConf ‘14 at JIIT, Delhi ◦ Mobile Developer Summit ‘14 @ IISc Bangalore ◦ DroidCon India ‘14, Bangalore • People using and contributing back to my personal projects on github • Started an OSS Special Interest Group at DTU • Selected for GSoC 2015
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    A funny fiasco - 2014 • Applied last year for

    a Debian project • Porting Debian to Android. Related to something I was doing for last 2 years. • The project was scrapped because of lack of mentors a week before deadline.
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    Luck by chance - 2015 • FOSSASIA had a project

    - “Open Event” • Basic idea : Android and Webapp templates that any conference/seminar events can use to generate microapps for their event. • Co-incidentally had worked on a similar idea - “Eventful” - autogenerate apps for events for non-tech- savvy organisers, as a personal project. • Selected, and an awesome experience so far.
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    GSoC with FOSSASIA • FOSSASIA : Largest OSS organisation in

    Asia. • Privilege to work under awesome mentors, for eg, Mario Behling - founder of Lubuntu. • Learning to work remotely as a team. Scrum updates, synchronisation mails etc. • Opportunity to move out of known domain (Android/Java/Systems) and learn the web stack, and create webapp in Angular JS.
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    Use FOSS • One simple and sureshot way to get

    involved is to switch to an OS that's FOSS. You'll automatically use >90% FOSS Apps • Linux often requires you to delve into shell, or build your packages. Instructions are simple, but you start getting the feel of compilation/configuration. • You might have the itch to fix or add parts of an app you're using. If you're using Open Source apps, you just might, because you can
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    Go beyond just coding • Try to start building 'products'

    instead of 'programs'. • A software or an app is a product. It needs icons and design. • You need to test, get it working everywhere. Make it 'installable' • Your code needs to be documented so that you, or others can read it later. • Open Source is largely about 'developing' and 'coding' is maybe 10% of it.