Introducing Sonali, Outreachy summer intern with Free Software Foundation
I have been accepted as an intern with the Free Software Foundation for the next three months. My internship is scheduled from May 28th to August 14th 2018.
Outreachy is a great initiative to promote women and other underrepresented members to participate and contribute in free software.
I am a first year college student. This is my first experience with a free software organization. I am glad that I got introduced to the FSF so early in my career. I have worked on the Free Software Directory for about 2 months now, which includes 11 contributions and over 700 major and minor edits.
The reason I am interested in free software is more social than personal. I am a resident of India, and I see people around me that are exceptionally talented and have the caliber to progress exponentially. However, they do not have enough money or resources to do that. I believe that free software, if developed and given appropriate recognition, has the potential to help such people, not just in India, but all around the world, to learn and develop, thereby contributing to the growth of technology. So I believe that if I can contribute even a little bit to the popularity of free software, then I would be helping millions of people indirectly. Also, free software will help me to enhance my skills and to learn, as I can study its source code and easily use or modify it the way I want to. I think that experimenting is a great way to gain knowledge.
My experience at FSF has been fantastic. The internship here is not like
working with the community, but working as a part of the community. The FSF
staff is very kind and helpful. I am working under the guidance of Andrew
Engelbrecht and Ian Kelling. They are very supportive and polite, and they reply to
my questions actively. It's because of them that I am constantly motivated to
work. I couldn't have found better mentors and a finer organization for my
So far, I have learned how to use IRC and how to edit MediaWiki. I am also learning to communicate in a free software community, and to make independent decisions. I've discovered so many interesting programs that are free software. I now understand the meaning of free software in a greater depth, and there is an abundance of information here that I've been able to share with my peers at college.
My first project for the summer will be to make the Free Software Directory responsive for mobile devices, and to try other ways to improve the site's reach and popularity among other people. This will involve adding extensions (or skins), and formatting the entries so that they are mobile-optimized. This will be a great opportunity for me to gain a lot of experience and develop skills. I am very excited. Thanks to my mentors and the Outreachy organizers for making this possible!