[TOS] choosing projects for students to contribute to

tridge at samba.org tridge at samba.org
Wed May 13 04:45:42 UTC 2009

Hi Will,

 > In the NCSU open source course (CSC591W) had a similar list in the "Evaluating
 > Open Source Software" lecture. Materials for the course are available at
 > http://people.redhat.com/wcohen/ncsu_opensource_course.tar.gz.

Thanks very much for posting that! Can you tell me what the license on
that material is? There is a lot of good stuff there that I might want
to incorporate into the ANU course in future years if the license is
CC compatible.

Did you happen to record the lectures as well?

 > One thing that tripped up the students was some of the projects
 > didn't have clear explanation on how to contribute to the
 > project. When doing it over I would certainly have the students
 > examine how new developers can get started on the project and
 > whether there are writeup explaining how to contribute to the
 > project.

That is why I chose a2ps for the first lab. In that lab all the
students worked on the same project, and I chose a2ps deliberately as
an example of a project where it was quite difficult to work out how
to contribute. On the a2ps website there is contradictory information
on what SCM they use, and it isn't clear how contributions are made
and releases are done. 

The idea was to show the students that the FOSS world often has quite
poor information for new contributors, and then to show them how to
work out what they need to know anyway.

The fact that a2ps isn't developing very rapidly these days means it
doesn't really matter, but it does serve as a good example.

We also had a system setup in the lab where we used x11vnc to redirect
the students display to the projectors at the front of the room when
the students asked questions. Each time the students asked about
something like how to work out what to do with a particular project we
would answer it for the whole class, using the students login as the

Cheers, Tridge

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