I have been reading and learning about electronics and programming since fall 2010. I started thinking about devices and solutions to monitor and optimize energy generation and consumption and naturally Arduino caught my attention. Then I discovered the OpenEnergyMonitor.org project started by Glyn Hudson and Trystan Lea, and I started reading and reading and learning about many technologies simultaneously: analog and digital electronics, Arduino, protocols, PHP, MySQL, networks, Jscript etc…
For all this time I felt very passive, I was just reading and assimilating content, using pieces and bits of other people’s code to get something working. Even chatting for hours with friends and other members of the dev community, and taking a lot of their time they should be enjoying or working. I felt ashamed and little about this situation. I didn’t like to be a consumer, a passive member of the community. There was a feeling of inferiority and unfairness about it.
NOT ANYMORE! I could finally contribute with something to an open source project!
I had this idea to monitor three phases AC systems with only one voltage sensor (given that the phase shift between all three phases is constant all the time, but that’s another story), and with the help of Trystan (who is a better coder than me) we could implement it.
The feeling of becoming an active member of developers community is great! You feel like you bring something, you contribute with a brick to building a nice solid useful wall. It’s like when a tree gives back fruits after years of sucking water and nutrients.
The brick I brought to the wall will make another person’s idea possible, and this is after all what open source is about: standing on each others shoulders.
Jean Claude of JeeLabs is an engineer I respect a lot, and he wrote a series of posts about Open Source hardware and software and the dilemmas around them.