Hackfest 2010

The usual convention in open source is that new developers get into a project by themselves. They follow online documentation and get into IRC channels and find their way around by themselves. Its not often that we get the chance to meet new guys and teach them the ‘tricks of the trade’. But that is exactly what happened at Hackfest @ Shaastra 2010

Hackfest got together mentors from various projects to introduce students to contributing to open source projects. We had Yuvi Panda for GNOME, Pratul Kalia for Android, and also Minix, and the Linux Kernel, and me for KDE. We also had the t3rmin4t0r for an excellent talk about the state of the Web.

KDE had 8 students. On day 1 (30th September) the computer systems weren’t set up, so we covered basic signals and slots, and I discussed the KDE architecture and useful libraries and then walked them through some sample code. After that the students found a Junior Job each that they would like to fix.

On day 2 we got KDE trunk compiled successfully and wrote a basic Hello Qt Application, following which I walked through a simple tweet fetcher to explain configuration, and creating basic GUIs. By the end of day 2, Anirudh S had got a simple menu entry bug fixed. I also fixed this Okular wish live, starting from scratch to demonstrate how to approach a bug. I will reviewboard it soon.

On day 3, three of the participants fixed a kwin Junior Job and we tried to take a shot at adding something like a ‘tick mark’ to the Notes plasmoid, although that didn’t succeed completely. After that everybody was pretty tired and so we stopped coding and we the mentors shared some stories of how we got into open source and so on with the crowd, Pratul being particularly good at that sort of thing. With that the actual event was done, and since my flight had been advanced to 5:30 in the morning I left.

The customized Shaastra distro made for the event!

The entire event was excellent, with the Hackfest coords and volunteers Subhashini, Sarthak, Kashyap, Kirtika and others did a great job with making us feel comfortable. I’ve never had someone send a taxi to the airport for me before :)

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