The only 19 yr. old attending Open Source Summit Europe 2022

The only 19 yr. old attending Open Source Summit Europe 2022

Yes, According to Linux Foundation's reports, only 0.3% of the attendees/speakers were in the 0-19 age bracket. I was astonished to know that, I am that only person. Here is the flagship experience in a nutshell which I got through Open source.

The Prologue

Let me tell you a story. Before I knew about Open-source, I along with my friends in college started to participate in Hackathons organised by top International Universities and Major League Hacking aka MLH as well. We came to know about innovative projects, build many, and even failed at many. The more I participated in those contests, the more I got a clear perspective regarding web development, creating BOTs, cloud and much more. I also got an experience as a mentor at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Warwick through MLH, where I helped many developers with whatever knowledge I could deliver. A quick shout-out to MLH for bringing me to tech!

In the very first place, I started my journey of Open-source with college-conducted events like Jalpaiguri Winter of Codes aka JWOC, where I secured the best rank of #2. That was the head start of everything. Later on, I was the project admin and mentor at Girlscript Summer of Code, where I also learnt about the maintainer's perspective of open source. I gradually dived more into technologies that are really implemented in the industry, and trying out all in the first year left me with a clear choice of getting into DevOps and Cloud Engineering. Even, I wrote my proposal for Google Summer of Code, popularly known as GSoC, under DBpedia Organisation where I learnt about Semantic Web and Ontology. Though I was not selected due to a lack of slots that year, I just missed it by 1 slot according to my mentors. That was my first involvement in a real-world project in the industry. It then continued till this date, when I belong to the open-source contributor's family.

I made significant security supply chain contributions at the Confidential Computing Consortium, under The Linux Foundation which led me to attend Open Source Summit Europe in Dublin, Ireland. Cracking down deep, into Layer5 and Linux Foundation, I made further contributions to different projects which are widely used by all developers and computer science engineers.

The D-Day

After getting Travel Funding Scholarship from The Linux Foundation, covering my whole cost for the trip and a one-month-long preparation of passport, visa, tickets, hotels and whatnot, I set foot for my first ever international trip, that too just by myself on 11th September 2022.

With a lot of hope, excitement, and fear, I was about to experience one of the most prestigious open-source events in Europe, I reached Dublin.

On that very day, I was invited to a party arranged by MLH, where I saw Mike Swift, CEO of MLH for the first time. He greeted me and I was awestruck by his humbleness. I also met one of the maintainers of the very project I contributed to previously. He congratulated me for uplifting the open-source community and being a part of his project.


The Summit

It was an all-rounder package. Open Source Summit Europe is an important way for the open source community to meet, learn about each other, and begin to include new voices. They managed to organise things so well like I didn't even think of.

Screenshot 2022-11-11 at 8.35.49 PM.png

  • The Keynote Sessions were hosted by chairpersons, directors, maintainers of The Linux Foundation and big tech companies like Google, Intel, etc. It was my dream to see Linus Torvalds in-person and it happened for real.


  • The talks from general speakers from all over the world was one of the best place to know and learn about something in cloud-native space or open-source which has been never talked about earlier. So, it's something exclusive.


  • 1:1 mentoring sessions for guidance and new possibilities in open source as well as career in general.

  • Sponsor Showcase Booth, the fun part. Many companies who are involved in open source some way or the other collaborated under one roof. It was a mind-boggling experience, getting the live demonstration of products, watching supercomputers in action, and connecting with Developers, Maintainers and even CEOs & Directors of Fortune 500s. Added to that, live giveaways, swags and photo booths were the cherry on top.


  • Apart from work, Linux Foundation never failed to keep fun activities on its list.

    • 5K FUN “RUN”


I not only made connections, but I also made friends from different parts of India as well as the world. I left no chance to have fun and to learn too. This was obviously a memory of my life which I will have forever with me.

The Final Tip

You can always prepare before you start contributing to open source (or doing anything in general). You can skill up, read all the right books, and watch all the right tutorials.

But the only way to progress is to start.

You can start small, but you have to start somewhere. In open-source contributions, you can start by being a project user and raising issues as you find them. You can hang out in community meetings and provide feedback to the project contributors. You can sign up for alpha or beta programs and help remove bugs. All of these are low-hanging fruits ready to be plucked.

It can also be daunting to publish your code for the whole world to see. And yes, you will write a lot of bad code when you start. But contributing to open source ensures that your code is reviewed and improved each time.

A lot of open source does not involve code. These non-code contributions can involve writing documentation, creating tutorials, giving talks about the project at conferences, designing content, organizing events and meetings, managing the community, and more. The list is endless.

Open-source is the default way to build software now. And non-code contributions help create, manage, and sustain these projects.

Open-source projects are a byproduct of its community. Building and sustaining communities are essential as they lead to better projects.

A big shout-out to Navendu Pottekkat for these tips at a maintainer's standpoint.

Adding to that, never be afraid to reach out to people. I developed a lot of people skills from my experience.

A short quote from my end,

"There is probability of seeing some light after approaching, but you are already defeated if sitting closed-doors"
~ Ronit

So, We are welcoming new community members and lowering the barrier to entry. Take active measures to build and maintain the community.

Thanks for reading till the very end.

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