Open Source

Interview with Saloni Garg

Today's interview is with the winner of Women In Open Source Award 2019 by Red Hat: @salonigarg_! Saloni is also a Computer Science undergrad, a Mozilla Open Leader and a Google Venkat Scholar. We're both honored and excited to talk with Saloni about Open source!

3 min read


By Henrik Walker Moe


December 19, 2019

The questions below came from a simple question we asked ourselves:

"if you had the chance, what would you ask an Open source maintainer/person/community member?"

Here we go!

What are your biggest challenges in working with Open source today and how do you handle them?

Even though I find Open Source better than closed source in numerous ways, still Security remains a challenge, since the code is all out there. Moreover, these days, as Open Source has become a very hot topic, the number of contributors has increased significantly. As a dark side of it, low-standard code contributions has increased largely.

We need to define contributors guidelines better and can also consider adding a ‘peer-review’ step to the process.

How can repository-owners facilitate contributions from newcomers in Open source?

Newcomers to Open Source have a different energy and willingness to learn and do stuff that the long-time contributors generally don’t have. I remember when my first PR got merged, I was so happy that I kept dancing for an hour after that.

The repository-owners can encourage more newcomers to contribute to their projects by making some beginner-friendly issues, having a simple contributing,md file, being active mentors on the IRC, Slack, etc. The newcomers can give you directions about user-friendliness, like how difficult was it to run/use the code in the first time, what can be documented well, finding broken links/obsolete documentation, etc.

The point of view of an inexperienced developer is equally important as that of a senior one.

If you could time-travel to when you first started, what advice would you give yourself as an Open source rookie?

I made this very common mistake of not asking questions at the communication channels of the organisations. This left me spending long hours understanding very tiny features of the codebase. I’d strongly advise my younger self to go ahead and ask questions, as the mentors/code maintainers are there to help and they would honestly be happy to help you.

Can you describe how you see the future of Open source, what new directions or paths do you think it will take?

Open Source is here to stay. I believe the inclination towards Open Source that we’re getting to see these days, among businesses is going to grow in the future. It’s cost-effective and it fosters growth, which is all that companies want.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Saloni! 💪