FOSS Means Kids Can Have a Big Impact

kid with laptop

An eight-year-old can contribute, and you can too.

Working at a company that creates free and open-source software (FOSS) and hosts all of our code on GitHub, my team and I at UserLAnd Technologies are used to seeing and reviewing contributions, which are called pull requests, from users. Recently, however, we received a pull request that is very special to me. It was from an eight-year-old, and not just any eight-year-old, but my daughter.

Figure 1. Addison Hard at Work

Now, I had many reasons for wanting my daughter to get involved with our project, but before I pollute this story with what I think, let's hear from her—this is the Kids + Linux issue after all.

Figure 2. My Daughter's First Pull Request

The following is a brief interview I conducted with her after she provided the shown pull request.

Corbin: To start with, please tell us who you are and provide your age?

Addison: I am Addison Champion, and I am eight years old.

Corbin: Now Addison, you have a skill that I don't have. You may be eight, and I am (gulp) 38, but you have a skill that neither I nor any of the members of my team have. Can you share with us what that skill is and how you posses it?

Addison: I am bilingual, as I speak both Spanish and English. I am enrolled in a bilingual school, and in my class, we mostly speak and read in Spanish.

[Note: She has been in a two-way immersion program at our local, public school since kindergarten where some of the kids are native Spanish speakers and some are native English speakers.]

Corbin: Can you describe the work you did for UserLAnd that used this skill?

Addison: I provided a Spanish translation for UserLAnd's Android app, because there wasn't one already.

Corbin: Can you describe what you had to do to make a Spanish translation?

Addison: There were a lot of phrases in English, and I had to provide the phrase in Spanish that matched each one in English. I also had to make sure the translation would sound right to a Spanish speaker.

Corbin: Was the task difficult?

Addison: Some of the phrases were hard, but some were pretty easy. There were some technical words that we had to look up. We found a cool website, like Google translate, but where you could type in a word or a sentence and it would show you a real example of a translation that used something similar.