FOSS and Outreachy Explained in Laymen Terms


What is FOSS and why’s it so important?

Free and Open-Source Software is software that can be classified as both free software and open-source software. In simpler words, consider a software that you built, and out of generosity maybe, you made it available for everyone to use it for free. Also, people now could modify what you have originally created to suit their own needs. So now, it is both free and open software, in short FOSS.

FOSS is extremely important because of the following reasons:

As Mozilla’s one of ten commandments state, “Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability, and trust”.

Knowing the software on what you are working gives you the control over the system. If something goes wrong or you want any specific feature to be added, you can easily customise the open source software and push it for approval.

With so many brains working on a software, the bugs are fixed quicker and faster come the upgrades.

You can learn by watching the source code of the software and in future create an even better one.

What is Outreachy?

Outreachy is a paid, remote internship program for the underrepresented groups. It aims to getting them more involved with open source. Interns are paid a stipend of $5,500 and have a $500 travel stipend available to them.

Organizations like Mozilla, Wikimedia, Gnome, and Linux Kernel take part in the program. They hire interns to work on their projects. The duration of the program is three months.

Why choose Outreachy?

It is unique in a way that every intern works on a project for an organization under the supervision of a mentor. This is great because you get to learn a lot through the entire process, and if you get stuck anywhere, your mentor is always happy to answer!

Furthermore, it is extremely contribution centric, and takes you in if you seem fit for the internship task specifics.

When should one start applying?

The number of contributions you make obviously adds up to your application, so it is advised to start early (around 2-3 weeks before the deadline) so as to ensure quality and not just quantity of contributions.

It is also better for you to get familiar with the code base and make sure the project’s skill set matches with yours.

I would say the entire application process in itself is super enriching because you get to learn a lot with every bug you fix. Honestly, I developed a huge passion for the current project I’m working on – “Improve Firefox Certificate Error Pages” – by starting early!

I cannot wait for my internship to start:

It’s been just two days since the Outreach results were out, and I honestly cannot wait for it to start. I already feel so passionate about my project because I continued to contribute to it despite the application deadline being over.

Last, but not the least, a huge shout out to my mentor- Johann Hofmann, for his constant help in every tiny query I had, and the Outreachy organisers for coming up with the coolest internship ever! 🙂

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