Riccardo Padovani

Changing the world bit by bit

Why you should contribute to Ubuntu Touch

I’m going to talk about Ubuntu Touch because is the biggest open-source project in which I’m involved, but the following post is applicable to any open-source project.

If someone asks me which is the best part of being involved in an open-source project, like Ubuntu Touch, I answer: “The fun!“. Seriously.

First things first: I did my first commit to Ubuntu Touch on March 15, 2013, but it’s only since the beginning of July that I began to collaborate on an ongoing basis. In these four months, I have achieved many goals: I have become a developer of ubuntu-touch-calculator and of ubuntu-touch-clock, I fixed more than 60 bugs and implemented a lof of functionality and, last but not least, I took Ubuntu Membership. So, my experience is very positive and I want to continue to collaborate to Ubuntu and Ubuntu Touch in the future. And I believe that many people could collaborate with a open-source project, so let’s move to the reasons why you should try to collaborate for yourself;


We’re all working together; that’s the secret!

Since I started I met a lot of awesome people, with whom I became friends, rather than colleague. This is one of great thing of the community: I can often have a chat just to know each other better.

The first day I joined on IRC I met nik90 (Nekhelesh Ramananthan) and dpm (David Planella): Nik is a community contributor who develops the Clock App: he helped me to fix some bugs and introduced me to fantastic world of developement, showing me the tools and explaining the basic mechanisms of contributing. David is Ubuntu App Development Liaison for Canonical, and he is for me a very important person: always available and always with a word of support or a compliment. He helped me to acclimate and get to know other members of the team.

After I have joined the calc team I met also mihir_ (Mihir Soni) and boiko (Gustavo Boiko): Mihir is another community contributor and we worked together to create the final version of the calculator which is the default in Ubuntu Touch, a very cool app! Boiko is an awesome guy who agreed to be my mentor: thanks to him I learned a lot of thing about software developement, group work and much much more. Thanks boiko!

I have encountered many other people who have given me so much like popey, mhall119, jono, oSoMoN, randomcpp, balloons, mefrio, mzanetti, me4oslav, PaoloRotolo, Letozaf_ and many many more!

It’s nice to be part of such a great family that works for a common goal: the users’ freedom.


Knowledge makes people special. Knowledge enriches life itself.

Collaboration with an open-source project gives you much more than what you gives: contribute wrtiting code gives you knowledge. When I started with Ubuntu Touch I didn’t know anything of QML. Now I think to be proficient in QML, and I have improved also other skills, like group work, use bazaar, code in Javascript, “think like a programmer”.

So, if you decide to collaborate to a open-source project, you’ll learn many things that will enrich your cultural background and, maybe, one day will come in handy. Not only code, but also mentality, visions of the world: meet new people is always constructive.


Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

To contribute on an ongoing basis to a project has to be fun for you: if you do it grudgingly, or under duress, you will not like and this affected both the quality of your work and your relationship with others.

I find in Ubuntu Touch (and Ubuntu Italian LoCo team) a project where I can have fun: it’s a pleasure, for me, to return to home after a day at the university and have the possibility to write code, fix bugs and so on. The ambiance is nice: sure, there are deadlines and things less fun (like autopilot tests, I hate to write autopilot tests :-P) but the result gives a lot of satisfactions.

A common goal

Arise! Awake! And stop not until the goal is reached.

Another awesome thing of the project is the spirit that moves people: you can see that is not only a work, but it’s a hope to do something good for the world. Yes, a software is not the most important thing in the world, but the idea of freedom is. So, in a market where the only company which works for “open-source” is Google, the hope to do the difference is very strength. And this is reflected in the quality of relationships: everyone is always available to help you, even outside working hours, and there is a lot of enthusiasm.

I talked about Ubuntu Touch because I’m involved, but I think the situation is similar in all open-source project. Some suggestion to start to contribute to a project:

  • Know the people, make some friends, work together
  • Find a project you like, there are endless open-source projects
  • Search a field for contribute where you are good and you can be useful

Congrats, you are now a part of a big family, and you do something to make the world better ;-)