On December 13th, 2006, author Bruce Byfield reflected on why he thought Free and Open Source Software (F.O.S.S.) was not on activist agendas. My interpretation of his views are that a knowledge barrier about technology makes FOSS less accessible, the insular nature of activism makes collaboration difficult, and FOSS activists reaching out to other activists with shared values should be encouraged. On December 13th, 2019, is FOSS on activist agendas? The answer is not black or white, but a gray somewhere in the middle. This is my response to Byfield’s article, thirteen years later, on what he got right but also what he left out.Continue reading
Sometimes the people we exclude are the ones we did not realize were there. Screen readers are an essential tool for blind and visually-impaired people to use software and browse the Internet. In open source projects and communities, Markdown is a lightweight markup language used to format text. It is also used in many other places. Often you need to embed an image into whatever you are writing (a picture, a diagram, or some useful visual aid to get your point across). One of the lesser-known and used features of Markdown are alt tags for images.Continue reading
Managing an open source project is challenging work. The challenge grows as a project grows. Eventually, a project may need to meet different requirements and span across multiple repositories. These problems aren’t technical, but are important to solve to scale a technical project. Business process management methodologies such as agile and kanban bring a method to the madness. Developers and managers can make realistic decisions for estimating deadlines and team bandwidth with organized development focus.
At the UNICEF Office of Innovation, we use GitHub projects boards to organize development on the MagicBox project. MagicBox is a full-stack application to serve and visualize data for decision-making in humanitarian crises and emergencies. The project spans multiple GitHub repositories and works with multiple developers. With GitHub project boards, we organized our work across multiple repositories to better understand development focus and team bandwidth.
Here’s three tips from the UNICEF Office of Innovation on how to organize your open source GitHub projects with the built-in project boards on GitHub.
The past year was a busy for Fedora. The community released Fedora 26 and 27. Different sub-projects of Fedora give their share of time for the overall success of Fedora. But in a project as big as Fedora, it’s hard to keep track of what everyone is doing! If you’re a developer, you likely know more about what’s happening inside the code of Fedora, but you may not know what’s happening with the Fedora Ambassadors. Or maybe you’re involved with Globalization (G11n) and translating and know what’s happening there, but you’re not as familiar with what the Fedora Design team is working on.
Share your 2017 “Year in Review”
To communicate with the rest of the Fedora community what we worked on in 2017, the Fedora Community Operations team (CommOps) encourages every sub-project of Fedora put together their own “Year in Review” article on the Fedora Community Blog. The CommOps team has created an easy to use template to document your top three highlights of 2017 and one goal for 2018.
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.
Before looking too far ahead to the future, it’s important to spend time to reflect over the past year’s events, identify successes and failures, and devise ways to improve. Describing my 2016 is a challenge for me to find the right words for. This post continues a habit I started last year with my 2015 Year in Review. One thing I discover nearly every day is that I’m always learning new things from various people and circumstances. Even though 2017 is already getting started, I want to reflect back on some of these experiences and opportunities of the past year.
More and more students are learning about the world of open source through video games. Games like FreeCiv let players build empires based on the history of human civilization while games like Minetest emulates Minecraft in an open source block-building sandbox. Students are encouraged to dig deeper into games like this, and projects like SpigotMC empower kids to write plugins to extend their favorite games. However, the tools in open source to build the actual games do not share the same prominence. Rochester Institute of Technology student Matt Guerrette hopes to help change that with his open source gaming engine, Hatchit.
From August 2 – 5, the annual Fedora contributor conference, Flock, was held in the beautiful city of Kraków, Poland. Fedora contributors from all over the world attend for a week of talks, workshops, collaboration, fun, and community building (if you’re tuning in and not sure what Fedora is exactly, you can read more here). Talks range from technical topics dealing with upcoming changes to the distribution, talks focusing on the community and things working well and how to improve, and many more. The workshops are a chance for people normally separated by thousands of miles to work and collaborate on real issues, problems, and tasks in the same room. As a Fedora contributor, this is the “premier” event to attend as a community member.
Although my report comes a little late, it comes with a lot of thought and reflection over the week at Flock. I participated as a speaker for my talk with Jona Azizaj titled, “University Outreach: New task or new mindset?” I also worked with Bee Padalkar on running the Community Operations (CommOps) team workshop for planning our own future tasks in coming months and knowing what issues or topics the community had in mind. And lastly, due to last-minute scheduling issues, I helped plan and organize the Diversity Panel with Amita Sharma and many other incredible contributors.
Without further ado, this is my analysis and report on the events at Flock 2016. And for anyone wondering what “żegnajcie” in the title means, Google Translate tells me that means “farewell!” in Polish.
This week is busy and continues to keep the pace of previous weeks. A lot has happened this week in the Fedora Project and I’ve taken on a few new tasks too. In addition to existing work on Google Summer of Code, Community Operations, Marketing, and more, I wanted to take some time this week to focus on CommOps Ticket #71. This ticket originally focused on improving accessibility of design resources for Fedora Ambassadors. However, after an interesting conversation with Máirín Duffy on the Design Team workflow, I discovered the availability was not the main issue. Instead, it seemed like communicating was an area needing focus.