Upfront note: this is my first personal post on Dev.to. Any constructive criticism is more than welcome.
I grew up with a computer from the age of 6. Even if I was born in a modest family, my dad understood the potential of technology and wanted to make sure I have everything I need growing up. However, most other things available for a computer were a bit more than my parents could afford. So, what's a PC good for, for a kid, if you can't play all the games and watch all the animes you want?
That's how I got into piracy, even before I was 8. By the time I was 12 I already had a huge collection of pirated stuff, most of them nicely labeled with color printed covers and customized support. The entire neighborhood was reaching out whenever something new was released. (Note: I never looked for profit or ask for money)
When I turned 14, World of Warcraft was released. A subscription-paid game? What the hell was wrong with Blizzard? I can't afford that, I can't crack that... What am I supposed to do?
And that's how I got into modding, custom servers and other random stuff. I ended up spending time reading and trying out scripts rather than asking my parents to pay a monthly subscription.
Long story short, by the time I was accepted at the university I was already deeply rooted into "crack it or script it" kind of unwritten rule. But soon all was about to change....
In my freshman year I befriended another student that assumed most of the organizational responsibilities, but never went to parties other fun stuff young students are into. He grew up in a family where piracy was a concept they just couldn't understand. "If you need something others worked for, buy it or trade other services for it", he used to say.
I guess you can only imagine his surprise the first time he visited my place and realized nothing was "legit", not even my Windows license.
It took him about a year to open my eyes. He changed the way I was thinking about software completely. In less than a year I dumped everything I had installed or used that didn't have a valid license. I donated my entire collection of pirated stuff to an old friend (yeah, I know... I should have thrown it away...), I started volunteering to a local association that had ties to Microsoft to get my first Windows license (all volunteers got one). I gave up Office suite and learned to write all my school stuff in LaTeX. I stopped playing games that weren't free to play and adopted a "if the software doesn't have a freeware alternative and I can't afford it, then I probably don't need it either" attitude.
In the upcoming years I went one step further. After 1 month at my first job I re-negotiated my contract to include an IntelliJ IDEA license for home, since the company wasn't using eclipse anymore and I insisted I keep my personal development environment in sync with my work environment. I even launched a start-up as part of a plan to get myself more involved with something tech related during my free time. And many companies offer huge discounts (even free licenses) in the first 1-2 years of a start-up.
Moreover, I even dedicated 2 years of my time to work as a volunteer in the gaming community and try, one way or another, to give back for all the games I pirated as a kid. Heart and soul, I dedicated my entire attention to do as much as I could during that time.
I like to believe that some of the things I touched got better over time and that I got to change at least a couple of small things for the better.
What does this entire wall of text have to do with anything?, you might ask yourself if you had enough patience to read through. Well, the answer is quite simple: I'd like to get involved with open-source.
While I haven't contributed to Github yet, I realized that lately most of the tools I use are open-source. There are things I think are "cool", but haven't found on Github. "Why don't I start on a project?" was one of my thoughts a couple of days ago. But then fear and other negative feelings kicked in. "I am not as good as a developer as all other people there", "I wouldn't know where to start", etc. While I haven't yet figured out if these are just excuses or legit concerns, I decided that the best approach would be to open up here and take it one step at a time.
My next post will be, probably, about getting started with open source. Or why I don't do it.
P.S. Next time I'll include images and gifs, to make the wall of text easier to parse :)