When you begin contributing to Open Source – you enter a desert.
Initially, you set up the environment, scan through the entire span of the codebase trying to fix trivial things and you talk with people and try to understand how all of this makes sense.
Like the desert, it’s mind blowingly huge. Everything looks like one big piece of indecipherable bunch of code thrown here and there and everywhere – but somehow manages to work perfectly as it should. It is vast. It’s both – a curse and a boon.
Curse – because, you need to go through all of it. Boon, because you learn to appreciate things bigger than you.
But there are moments. Moments of ecstacy, when you finally find a fix to a nasty bug after searching and debugging for days , when you finally implement that feature which has been on your neck for weeks – you find a well in the desert.
Like someone lost in a desert, when you finally find something that could get you away from the dreadfulness of all of it, you fight on.
You walk. And walk and you don’t stop. You keep on walking till you find the next thing. Travelling through it is a test of your character, of your will to take the beating, again and again, and keeping on moving. It’s a journey like none other.
“What makes the desert beautiful”, said the little prince, “is that it hides, somewhere, a well”. – Antoine de Saint Exupéry