On December 13th, 2006, author Bruce Byfield reflected on why he thought Free and Open Source Software (F.O.S.S.) was not on activist agendas. My interpretation of his views are that a knowledge barrier about technology makes FOSS less accessible, the insular nature of activism makes collaboration difficult, and FOSS activists reaching out to other activists with shared values should be encouraged. On December 13th, 2019, is FOSS on activist agendas? The answer is not black or white, but a gray somewhere in the middle. This is my response to Byfield’s article, thirteen years later, on what he got right but also what he left out.Continue reading
TagHumanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS)
This tag is used for any posts that are syndicated to the ofCourse blog listing for the Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software Development course at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Recently, I reviewed my unfinished blog posts to see what was left. This post is my oldest draft, last modified on April 19th, 2016. I drafted this near the end of my second semester of freshman year in college. This was a pivotal time for me for various reasons: family background, living in a new place after so long, finding a community of people, and a few months before one of my earliest trips abroad to Kraków, Poland. My 2016 year in review captures this sentiment.
The blog post I wrote comes from this place in my life. It writes in a voice I would not write in today. It also does not accurately reflect my current perspectives. However, instead of tossing it, I figured to publish it unfinished with this disclaimer would be no different.Continue reading
In December, I received the happy news of an offer for a internship position at UNICEF in the Office of Innovation. The Office of Innovation drives rapid technological innovation by rapid prototyping of new ideas and building full-stack products to make a positive impact in the lives of children. This is a simple answer, but a more detailed description is on our website.
My internship at UNICEF is unique: I support open source community engagement and research as my primary task for the MagicBox project. For years, I’ve done this in open source communities in my free time (namely SpigotMC and Fedora), but never in a professional role. As I navigate my way through this exciting opportunity, I plan to document some of the experience as I go through blogging. My intent is that my observations and notes will be useful to someone else in the humanitarian open source space (or maybe to a future me).
But first, what does “open source community engagement and research” really mean?
On November 7, 2017, members of the RIT community came together for the annual Election Night Hackathon held in the Simone Center for Student Innovation. This year marked the seventh anniversary of a civic tradition with the [email protected] community. As local and state election results come in across nine projectors, students and professors work together on civic-focused projects during the night. Dan Schneiderman, the [email protected] Community Liaison, compiled lists of open APIs that let participants use public sets of data made available by governments at the federal, state, and local level.
Before looking too far ahead to the future, it’s important to spend time to reflect over the past year’s events, identify successes and failures, and devise ways to improve. Describing my 2016 is a challenge for me to find the right words for. This post continues a habit I started last year with my 2015 Year in Review. One thing I discover nearly every day is that I’m always learning new things from various people and circumstances. Even though 2017 is already getting started, I want to reflect back on some of these experiences and opportunities of the past year.
On Tuesday, November 8th, 2016, the [email protected] at the MAGIC Center at RIT held the annual Election Night Hackathon. Over 140 students from across campus and across departments gathered together to work on a range of civic projects as the election night results came in. This year’s hackathon was the sixth in a long-standing tradition of civic duty and open source collaboration.
More and more students are learning about the world of open source through video games. Games like FreeCiv let players build empires based on the history of human civilization while games like Minetest emulates Minecraft in an open source block-building sandbox. Students are encouraged to dig deeper into games like this, and projects like SpigotMC empower kids to write plugins to extend their favorite games. However, the tools in open source to build the actual games do not share the same prominence. Rochester Institute of Technology student Matt Guerrette hopes to help change that with his open source gaming engine, Hatchit.
This summer, I’m excited to say I will be trying on a new pair of socks for size.
Bad puns aside, I am actually enormously excited to announce that I am participating in this year’s Google Summer of Code program for the Fedora Project. If you are unfamiliar with Google Summer of Code (or often shortened to GSoC), Google describes it as the following.
Google Summer of Code is a global program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development. Students work with an open source organization on a 3 month programming project during their break from school.
I will work with the Fedora Project over the summer on the CommOps slot. As part of my proposal, I will assist with migrating key points of communication in Fedora, like the Fedora Magazine and Community Blog, to Ansible-based installations. I have a few more things planned up my sleeve too.
Over the weekend of April 9th – 10th, the Fedora Project Ambassadors of North America attended the Bitcamp 2016 hackathon at the University of Maryland. But what is Bitcamp? The organizers describe it as the following.
Bitcamp is a place for exploration. You will have 36 hours to delve into your curiosities, learn something new, and make something awesome. With world-class mentors and hundreds of fellow campers, you’re in for an amazing time. If you’re ready for an adventure, see you by the fire!
The Fedora Project attended as an event sponsor this year. At the event, we held a table in the hacker arena. The Ambassadors offered mentorship and help to Bitcamp 2016 programmers, gave away some free Fedora swag, and offered an introduction to Linux, open source, and our community. This report recollects some highlights from the event.