The purpose of this homework assignment is to introduce students to their first FLOSS practices. Read it in full, there are a number of graded deliverables.
The due-date is listed in the Syllabus.
It’s anonymous, but the results will be published back to the whole class so we have a feel for the technical level and preferences coming into the course.
There is a course IRC channel on irc.freenode.net. The channel is #floss-seminar. Communicating regularly in IRC factors into the FLOSS Dev Practices component of your final grade.
It is a good practice to “hang out” in IRC channels of projects that you use and especially of projects that you contribute to. Here you can find early alerts regarding any upcoming major changes or security vulnerabilities. It is also the easiest (lowest overhead) method for getting your questions answered.
Only for the brave – if you want to be completely awesome, you can setup a proxy node so you are always logged in. People can leave you messages this way.
If you want to be completely completely awesome, you can setup BitlBee so you can tweet from your IRC client.
Discussion mailing lists are a more formal mechanism of communication for FLOSS projects. More formal than IRC, less formal than bug trackers. Discussion mailing lists are often used to ask questions, announce upcoming releases and beta tests, and to debate redesigns and refactors. The advantage here is that mailing lists are typically archived and indexed by Google; discussions that should be preserved for posterity should occur here.
There is a GNU Mailman discussion list for the course hosted by RIT.
Communicating regularly over the course mailman list (asking and/or answering questions) factors into the FLOSS Dev Practices component of your final grade.
Setup a blog if you don’t have one. Much like mailing lists, blogs are archived, indexed by Google, and therefore preserved for posterity. When you encounter a technical challenge, typically you google for a solution and you typically find that solution in a blog post of some developer who has run into a similar situation. Blogging about your attempts, successes and failures (and writing tutorials!) is a best practice for increasing the general body of searchable knowledge available, for increasing the Wisdom of the Ancients.
Blogs around a topic are also typically aggregated by a planet (an RSS feed aggregator). This way, all developers blogging about Project X can have their blog posts fast-tracked to a readership subscribed to Planet X. For instance, here’s a link to Planet Python.
The Planet for the course is hosted at http://threebean.org/floss-planet/. There are instructions for how to subscribe your blog to it in the Patch the Course Project section below.
You must create a blog (if you don’t have one already) and write at least one post per week about your progress, attempts, successes, failures, reflections, and/or all of the above.
For your own enlightenment, review the following comparisons of the different forges:
You’ll need to create your own account on github.com. All development for this course should be tracked on that forge. Github is, after all, the most popular forge.
Check out the source repository for this course; it’s hosted at https://github.com/ralphbean/tos-rit-projects-seminar.
Inside the repository, we’ll keep an index of all the students in the course and metadata about them (you!).