Outreachy and LibreOffice installer improvements: Rachael Odetayo

Rachael Odetayo

Last week, we talked to Ximena Alcaman who’s working on LibreOffice installer improvements as part of the Outreachy programme. Outreachy provides internships to people subject to systemic bias and impacted by underrepresentation in the technical industry where they are living.

Rachael Odetayo is also working on the the LibreOffice installer, and is being mentored by Marina Latini and Jussi Pakkanen, with support from sponsors SUSE and The Document Foundation. Let’s learn more about Rachael…

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Rachael Odetayo and I’m from Nigeria. I studied Mass Communication at the National Open University of Nigeria. Currently, I am proud to be participating in the Outreachy internship programme. In my free time, I enjoy reading, coding, cooking, and sharing my knowledge of the Bible with others.

How did you get involved in Outreachy?

I learned about Outreachy while searching for an opportunity to hone my skills and hopefully secure a tech job. Then an alum shared the application link in a group channel. He shared his experience with Outreachy, and how the programme helped him develop his skills and eventually landed him a job in tech. I was immediately drawn to the idea behind the Outreachy internship and the support it offered to those who might have trouble breaking into the tech industry.

I applied to Outreachy, and after a rigorous selection process, I was accepted as an intern with LibreOffice.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently working on improving the LibreOffice installer for Windows. My work focuses on streamlining the installation process, making it easier and more user-friendly for Windows users. This includes improving the user interface, fixing bugs, and enhancing the overall performance of the installer.

I am excited about this project as it will have a significant impact on the experience of LibreOffice users on Windows. My goal is to simplify and improve the installation process for Windows users, but I can’t do it alone. It would be great if others could get involved and help out with this project.

Mockup installer screenshot

How can others help out?

They can assist in various ways. Windows users, for instance, can assist by testing the new installer and offering feedback on any problems or improvement they would like to see.
Software developers can assist by contributing code to fix bugs, enhance performance, or provide new functionality.

Additionally, those who are unable to contribute code or time can still aid the project by making a donation. Their assistance will go a long way in helping us achieve our goal of improving the LibreOffice installer for Windows.

After this experience, what is your opinion of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion? Did the Outreachy program give you a new perspective or is there anything you would like to highlight?

In my opinion, equity, diversity, and inclusion are extremely important in the tech industry and in society as a whole. When an environment is diverse and inclusive, problems are better solved and decisions are made faster, and as well, the needs and experiences of different people are better understood.

Did your opinion of open source change after this experience? How?

My experience with Outreachy strengthened my understanding of the value of open source in the tech industry. As an Outreachy intern, I had the opportunity to contribute to LibreOffice, which deepened my understanding of the potential of open source. I personally witnessed how people from various backgrounds and locations can come together to create something more impressive than any one of them could have done individually.

Also because open source is collaborative in nature, and allows people to freely access and modify source code, that makes it an effective avenue for driving progress and innovation in the tech industry.

Outreachy logo

Is there any contribution, experience, anecdote you would like to share from your time in the Outreachy program? Would you recommend the programme?

Yes. At the beginning of the internship, I found myself struggling to understand the technical terms my mentors use during our daily standup meetings. I was trying my best to keep up and understand what was going on, but it was like they were speaking a completely different language. One day after a particularly confusing meeting, I finally had the courage to mention it to one of my mentors (Marina). I asked if she could write a summary of our conversation in the group channel so I could review and make sense of it all. To my delight, she not only agreed but was also understanding and supportive.

From that day on, I was able to follow along. And I learned the importance of communication and asking for help. I’m grateful to have Jussi and Marina as mentors and I sincerely appreciate their hard work and effort to ensure we have a clear understanding of our tasks.

I would recommend the Outreachy program to individuals who are underrepresented in tech, including but not limited to women, people of color, people with disabilities etc. who are interested in pursuing a career in tech, and are eligible to participate in the programme.

Follow Rachael on her blog and Twitter. And stay tuned for updates on their work!