CategoryFree and open source software (FOSS)

All articles related to free and open source software (FOSS) are here. Topics include my favorite software, thoughts on contributing to open source communities, some experiences in the Fedora and MetaBrainz communities, my thoughts on issues in the world of FOSS, and more.

How I accidentally wrote a Wikipedia page on a layover in Dublin

One of the most unusual but wonderful experiences happened to me on a return trip from Europe to the United States.

A series of heavy noreasters hit the US east coast over the last couple weeks. This coincided with my travel dates back to Rochester, NY. While we didn’t have flooding, we had a lot of snow. A lot of snow means canceled flights.

As I made my way through border control in Dublin, Ireland on March 7, I discovered my connection to New York City would likely be canceled. A meander from baggage claim to the check-in desk confirmed this. Fortunately, Aer Lingus had no issue putting me up in a hotel overnight with dinner and breakfast to catch the next flight to New York the next day.

While waiting in airport queues, a friend happened to retweet a local event happening in Dublin the next day.

The event was a local Wikimedia meet-up to celebrate International Women’s Day. Participants would create and edit Wikipedia pages for influential women in the history of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. After digging deeper, I found out the event was 30 minutes away from my hotel from 09:30 to 12:30. My flight was at 16:10.

I put in my RSVP.

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Inside Facebook’s open source program at RIT

Originally published on Opensource.com.


Open source becomes more common every year, where it appears at government municipalities to universities. More companies turn to open source software too. However, some companies try to take it a step further, and instead of only using the software, they also support projects financially or with developers. Facebook’s open source program encourages others in Facebook to release their code as open source. They also work and engage with the community to support the projects too.

Christine Abernathy, a Facebook developer advocate and member of the open source team, visited the Rochester Institute of Technology on November 15, 2017. She gave the November edition of the FOSS Talks speaker series. Her talk explained how Facebook approaches open source and why it’s an important part of the work they do.

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Humanitarian open source work: My internship at UNICEF

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?

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2017 – My Year in Review

I can’t remember how writing an annual reflection became a tradition, but after writing them for the last two years, it is now a habit. Every time I look back on all that the last year brought into my life, it is surreal. Many things that happened, I could never have expected one or two years ago. And perhaps now, I see that life is defined by the unexpected moments: the things that surprise us, warm our hearts, sadden us, and remind us of our humanity. Thus, I present my year in review of 2017.

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Raspberry Pis and open source at Rochester Mini Maker Faire

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.


The Rochester Mini Maker Faire is an annual event at the Joseph A. Floreano Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, NY. Each year, makers, creators, artists, and more from all over upstate New York and beyond show their crafts and creations to the community. Open source software and hardware are popular items at the Rochester Mini Maker Faire, with countless Raspberry Pis, Arduino boards, and open source projects powering many electronic projects.

On November 18th, the Free and Open Source Software initiative at the RIT MAGIC Center and the RIT Linux Users Group presented projects and their communities at the Faire. Students from both communities demonstrated projects made with Raspberry Pis or larger undertakings on other open source projects.

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Statistics proposal and self-hosting ListenBrainz

This post is part of a series of posts where I contribute to the ListenBrainz project for my independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall 2017 semester. For more posts, find them in this tag.


This week is the last week of the fall 2017 semester at RIT. This semester, I spent time with the MetaBrainz community working on ListenBrainz for an independent study. This post explains what I was working on in the last month and reflects back on my original objectives for the independent study.

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Election night hackathon supports civic engagement

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.


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.

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ListenBrainz community gardening and user statistics

This post is part of a series of posts where I contribute to the ListenBrainz project for my independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall 2017 semester. For more posts, find them in this tag.


My progress with ListenBrainz slowed, but I am resuming the pace of contributing and advancing on my independent study timeline. This past week, I finished out assigned tasks to discuss contributor-related documentation, like a Code of Conduct, contributor guidelines, and a pull request template. I began research on user statistics and found some already created. I wrote one of my own, but need to learn more about Google BigQuery to advance further.

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Exploring Google Code-In, ListenBrainz easyfix bugs, D3.js

This post is part of a series of posts where I contribute to the ListenBrainz project for my independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall 2017 semester. For more posts, find them in this tag.


Last week moved quickly for me in ListenBrainz. I submitted multiple pull requests and participated in the weekly developer’s meeting on Monday. I was also invited to take part as a mentor for ListenBrainz for the upcoming round of Google Code-In! In addition to my changes and new role as a mentor, I’m researching libraries like D3.js to help build visualizations for music data.  Suddenly, everything started moving fast!

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How to set up a ListenBrainz development environment

This post is part of a series of posts where I contribute to the ListenBrainz project for my independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall 2017 semester. For more posts, find them in this tag.


One of the first rites of passage when working on a new project is creating your development environment. It always seems simple, but sometimes there are bumps along the way. The first activity I did to begin contributing to ListenBrainz was create my development environment. I wasn’t successful with the documentation in the README, so I had to play around and work with the project before I was even running it.

The first part of this post details how to set up your own development environment. Then, the second half talks about the solution I came up with and my first contribution back to the project.

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