Many people featured in Techie Tuesdays had a thing common among them: early exposure to computer, which paved a perfect path for their future to produce hacks and play around with codes. Our Super Student today Swarnava Sengupta is one such teenager who has been playing around with computers from a young age and has gained a good reputation in the open source world.
The initial days
Swarnava popularly known as SUMO (SUpport.Mozillar.Org) boy among his Mozilla mates has been contributing to Mozilla since the past three years. When I first heard about him, I assumed he would be another college student contributing to Mozilla. But on digging further, I realised he had recently completed his school — I was surprised to say the least.
Swarnava’s interest in computers started with playing games, as he recalls: “back then I used games as my toy now is.” Swarnava’s journey with Mozilla started when he accidentally landed on contribution column in the help tab of Mozilla Firefox. Before this he was testing softwares of Kaspersky and Norton antivirus. “The trouble with Norton was that it wasn’t open source and a lot of submissions were not accepted. On the other hand Mozilla was a open source platform and people were very friendly willing to help,” says Swarnava about the difference. Norton & Kaspersky were closed sourced platforms and therefore handling and submitting bugs became hard. Swarnava used to contribute to beta products of the antivirus, but most of his bugs were not accepted by the authorities at the two companies.
The Mozilla difference
Swarnava regards contributing to Mozilla was one of the best things that has happened in his life. His area of specialisation at Mozilla are QA and User Support. The concerned people have helped and mentored him about various things relating to Mozilla such as Mailing lists, QA, Bugzilla etc. With time his contributions to Mozilla increased and now he often writes knowledge based articles about Firefox, provides support over Twitter and Facebook. Till date he has submitted around 3111 answers in the support forums. He is also a Bengali Locale Leader and contributes by translating and editing articles into the local language. He has to his credit 390 articles that he has edited/translated till date.
In the year 2012 Mozilla highlighted him as one of top ten contributors to SUMO. The most impressive part was that he achieved this feat in the span of just one year. He has received appreciation more than once from the Mozilla. A personal note from Jessilyn Davis is one of them. You can view all his achievements here.
While talking to him I could sense the excitement and pride as he described his work. A majority of his work has been related to error reports of Firefox crashing and browser hijacking. I was keen to know which country contributes the most of these error reports, and was surprised to not find India on the list. “I do not find any Indian filings bug reports, generally we Indians move to another browser if any error occurs. On the other hand most of the crash problems gets resolved by restoring the web browser to its default ” shares Swarnava.
Not yet a developer
I assumed Swarnava must be master of programming languages but was wrong on that front too. “I do not know any programming languages but I am keen to master them in future,” he added. Swarnava believes one need not be a developer or an expert to contribute to open source, you just have to show right path to people and help them with their problems.
He is also an active contributor to Army of Awesome on Twitter and helps them put up a 24/7 support for the users. In addition to this Swarnava maintains Bengali translations for Utorrent and some add-ons of Firefox.
Swarnava will be joining college this year and has been invited to join Mozilla festival in October. “I have missed quite a lot Mozilla events in the past since I was a minor but now that I am 18 now and looking forward to the Santa Clara event this October.”
There is no doubt Swarnava cherishes what he is doing at present, as says Mozilla has changed his life.
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