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.

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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On the data refrain: Contributing to ListenBrainz

A unique opportunity of attending an open source-friendly university is when course credits and working on open source projects collide. This semester, I’m participating in an independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology where I will contribute to the ListenBrainz project.

Many students take part in independent studies where they work on their own projects. However, in the spirit of open source collaboration, I wanted to contribute to a project that already existed. That way, my work would be helpful to a real-world project where it would have a value even after the end of the semester. Additionally, I wanted  a project to help me sharpen my Python skill. And ListenBrainz was a fun, exciting candidate for this.

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Embracing open source cloud: Local government in Tirana switches to open source cloud solution

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.


Open source software has come a long way since the turn of the century. Each year, more and more people are embracing open source technology and development models. Not just people, though ­– corporations and governments are exploring open source solutions too. From the White House to the Italian army, open source is appearing more frequently in the public sector. But perhaps the newest addition to the list is the municipality of Tirana, Albania.

On June 11th, the local government in the municipality of Tirana migrated their private cloud to Nextcloud, an open source cloud and office productivity suite. The decision to move to an integrated cloud / office suite came after internal discussion about security and performance. Because Nextcloud is entirely open source, it stood out as a powerful option for the municipality to consider.

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Introducing InfluxDB: Time-series database stack

Article originally published on Opensource.com.


The needs and demands of infrastructure environments changes every year. With time, systems become more complex and involved. But when infrastructure grows and becomes more complex, it’s meaningless if we don’t understand it and what’s happening in our environment. This is why monitoring tools and software are often used in these environments, so operators and administrators see problems and fix them in real-time. But what if we want to predict problems before they happen? Collecting metrics and data about our environment give us a window into how our infrastructure is performing and lets us make predictions based on data. When we know and understand what’s happening, we can prevent problems before they happen.

But how do we collect and store this data? For example, if we want to collect data on the CPU usage of 100 machines every ten seconds, we’re generating a lot of data. On top of that, what if each machine is running fifteen containers? What if you want to generate data about each of those individual containers too? What about by the process? This is where time-series data becomes helpful. Time-series databases store time-series data. But what does that mean? We’ll explain all of this and more and introduce you to InfluxDB, an open source time-series database. By the end of this article, you will understand…

  • What time-series data / databases are
  • Quick introduction to InfluxDB and the TICK stack
  • How to install InfluxDB and other tools

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IRC for the 21st century: introducing Riot

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.


Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, is one of the oldest chat protocols around and still popular in many open source communities. IRC’s best strengths are as a decentralized and open communication method, making it easy for anyone to participate by running a network of their own. There’s also a variety of clients and bots available for IRC. But on the reverse side, usability is a concern. Most common user interfaces for IRC clients or platforms aren’t always intuitive. People from parts of the world with unstable Internet connections are challenged with remaining connected to participate in conversation. Many people have tried addressing this problem before, but none have come as far as Riot.

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Ura Design crowdfunds free design for open source projects

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.


Ura Design logoOpen source software is nothing new in 2017. Even now, big tech giants are exploring open source. More and more companies allow employees to contribute to open source software on company hours, if it isn’t altogether encouraged. However, design assets and work have not enjoyed the same popularity with open source licensing and use as software has. However, Albanian design agency Ura Design is helping change this.

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