[TOS] Developer-in-Residence Model

Matthew Jadud mjadud at allegheny.edu
Tue Mar 30 14:30:35 UTC 2010

I'm going to offer a few suggestions, even though this is unlikely to
affect me in any direct way.

On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 23:24, Chris Tyler <chris at tylers.info> wrote:
> *# Guest lecturing

I would encourage you to use something like this as an opportunity to
do *anything* other than lecture. Live coding sessions, where students
can come and join in using collaborative editors (riding co-pilot in a
giant "group programming" session), or focusing entirely on code
review and discussion about artifacts that are part of a project, and
so on... this strikes me as far higher value than having a developer
come and give lectures.

Unless that is a particular strength of theirs, it seems like the
wrong way to use their expertise.

> *# Enabling the local faculty and students to closely observe a real
> open source developer in action (may involve additional blogging or
> other communication)

I guess I think anything is better than lecture in this context, and
designing it that way from the start seems like a Good Idea.

> 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

I do think there are challenges here:

 * A dev needs to move, unless the idea is to only use local talent.
This is at least $1000+ per direction (minimum---a one-way UHaul costs
at least that much).
 * They need to redirect all their mail and bills for a year.
 * Their tax situation changes.
 * They loose their existing social life/structures for a year.
 * ...

Moving for a year is hard. I agree that the model has a lot of
promise, but I think it mostly has promise/value to either 1. young
developers who want to travel to new places and meet new people, or 2.
young developers who are thinking they might like to go back for more
degree work. This would be a massive undertaking for someone who has a
family, home, and other financial commitments.

I like the idea overall, but it seems like the logistics are non-trivial.

> 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

Yes, having a POSSE at the site in advance might be a Very Good Thing.
(I don't know if that is what you were saying, but that's where my
thinking took me.) A local POSSE first would be one way to lay the
local cultural groundwork for having someone from the FLOSS community
live in-house for a year. Not doing that is a recipe (especially at
larger institutions) for having them be as anonymous as any other grad
student or post-doc: someone who works with two or three faculty (at
most), and is invisible to the rest of the department/institution.

That's my 2p, anyway.


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