[TOS] Developer-in-Residence Model

Chris Tyler chris at tylers.info
Tue Mar 30 03:24:20 UTC 2010

The Developer-in-Residence model came up during the POSSE meeting today.
Continuing that discussion ... the Dev-in-Res is, in its most basic
form, very straightforward:

* A full-time open source developer is co-located at a .edu either
full-time or most-time (4 days/week?)

* The dev has release for a certain percentage of their time (perhaps
20%) to build community through three things:

*# Guest lecturing
*# Be a technical resource (e.g., available for consultation and
*# Enabling the local faculty and students to closely observe a real
open source developer in action (may involve additional blogging or
other communication)

(I use the term "developer" loosely here -- it could be any type of
full-time OS contributor, whether a documentation writer, UI designer,
kernel developer, or whatever).

I think that this model has the potential to help deepen the connection
between an educational institution and an open source community for a
very low cost -- it's manageable for most schools to provision an office
(and phone, and internet connectivity, and a workstation) and I suspect
that most open-source companies, which typically have remote-worker
arrangements in place, could easily relocate a dev for a year. There
will also be liaison/release costs on both sides, of course.

However, the low barrier-to-entry can hide potential problems -- I think
a school will need a solid open source context in place for this to work
well, otherwise it will fall flat; POSSE could play a valuable role in
building that context. A developer-in-residence program would work at
Seneca now, for example, but I think it would have had little value five
years back.


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