Time flies! Exactly ten years ago today I made my first contribution to GNOME.
I rarely celebrate recurring dates but this is a nice rounded number that serves as the perfect excuse for me to publish this letter of appreciation to our community.
For me, it all started with a hardware vendor trying to cheap their desktop machine’s price by putting Linux on it. Initially, we didn’t have internet at home, so I spent a significant amount of time just exploring the OS and toggling every knob I could find in the UI. The first issues I encountered were missing translations. Googling for that lead me to discover the wonders of Free and Open Source Software. I could contribute that missing translation!
Playing with computers wasn’t always my hobby. I had an offline childhood, despite being a 90’s kid. A career in anything computer-related was unthinkable given our economic reality at the time. My parents are low paid public servants, so I was inclined to find myself a job in the public sector too. I had strong feelings about teaching, just like my mom, but computers… well, they are addictive!
When I was sixteen years old I made my first contributions to the Brazilian Portuguese translation team in GNOME. This was also when I started reading Planet GNOME. Your neckless floating heads were god-like figures to me. I couldn’t understand 90% of the topics discussed due to my limited English and technical skills at the time, but I basically just kept on reading everything. Really. IRC logs, mailing lists, blog aggregators, social media timelines… everything scrolled all the way to the bottom. This is indeed overwhelming, but it has helped me put everything together and ~kind of~ grasp what software development looked like.
Because of my new found passion for computers, and GNOME specifically, I decided to study computer science. Since then I have participated in Google Summer of Code, worked as a contractor with GNOME technologies, and landed my current (and dream) job at Red Hat’s Desktop Team. It’s been five years now since I moved to Brno, and these have been *by far* the happiest years of my life. I have now experienced so many things that were unthinkable back when I started, I have been able to help my family, and start a family of my own here in my new home, Czech Republic.
All of this wouldn’t be possible without those who came before, paving the way for me.
This way, I wanted to make this Ten Year Celebration about you, GNOME community member that might not know how much positive change you might be bringing to other people’s lives.