Recently, The Document Foundation – the non-profit entity behind LibreOffice – teamed up with the California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) to encourage students to learn about LibreOffice quality assurance (QA) and help out. Let’s hear from one of the students, Keldin Maldonado:
What did you work on in your 25 hours?
I worked in the QA team for LibreOffice. I was tasked with looking over bug reports and providing feedback on these reports by either confirming the bug, asking for more information, or providing my feedback if I wasn’t able to replicate the bug.
Later in my volunteer time, I learned about finding the specific commits that caused the bugs through bibisecting that made life for developers a lot easier. I must say, it was honestly really cool seeing the open source model in action. I was able to witness the community effort to resolve these issues in LibreOffice and see how this product was consistently improving.
What was the experience like?
This was the first time doing any sort of work like this, so I had a hard time getting used to some of the tooling, specifically Bugzilla with its infinite options. Luckily, I had Ilmari Lauhakangas to mentor me through this. He provided search queries that definitely made life easier. Apart from this, I also had issues with my working environment because of backward compatibility. I was able to use Distrobox, however, on a Linux box I built specifically for bug hunting that I then SSHed into from my main machine to be able to run older versions of LibreOffice, and my compatibility issues disappeared.
In terms of the good things, I genuinely think that the last couple of mentoring meetings that I had with Ilmari taught me things that will stick with me for life, and for that, I have to give him a huge thanks for being patient and a good mentor. Specifically, I think learning about bibisecting was a great skill to be taught. I will definitely continue to use this going into my professional career and participating further in the open source community.
I also think that having a chance to work in this community maintaining LibreOffice, a product that many people rely on a day to day basis, was great. It might sound a bit cliche, but it genuinely felt really good knowing about the impact I was making, albeit small on the grand scheme of things. I know that my efforts made people’s lives a bit easier in the long run.
What are you planning to do next?
In terms of my professional plans, I am still enrolled in my undergraduate computer science program, which I will finish in the summer of 2024, and then I hope to go into software engineering. Currently, that is what’s taking up the majority of my time. In regards to The Document Foundation and LibreOffice, I will continue to provide help. Last I spoke with Ilmari, he asked me if I wanted to continue with the development side of things, which I think is a great opportunity for me to further develop my skill, and it will give me a chance to continue helping with The Document Foundation’s efforts.
Big thanks to Keldin for his contributions! But he wasn’t alone – Steven Casey also joined the QA community, and we’ll talk to him in our next interview on this blog…