TagHumanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS)

This tag is used for any posts that are syndicated to the ofCourse blog listing for the Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software Development course at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Sustain OSS 2018: quick rewind

This year, I attended the second edition of the Sustain Open Source Summit (a.k.a. Sustain OSS) on October 25th, 2018 in London. Sustain OSS is a one-day discussion on various topics about sustainability in open source ecosystems. It’s also a collection of diverse roles across the world of open source. From small project maintainers to open source program managers at the largest tech companies in the world, designers to government employees, there is a mix of backgrounds in the room. Yet there is a shared context around the most systemic problems faced by open source projects, communities, and people around the world.

The shared context is the most valuable piece of the conference. As a first-time attendee, I was blown away by the depth and range of topics covered by attendees. This blog post covers a narrow perspective of Sustain OSS through the sessions I participated and co-facilitated in.

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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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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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2016 – My Year in Review

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.

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Students and professors work across the aisle during Election Night Hackathon

This post was originally published on Opensource.com.


On Tuesday, November 8th, 2016, the [email protected] at the MAGIC Center at RIT held the annual Election Night Hackathon. Over 140 students from across campus and across departments gathered together to work on a range of civic projects as the election night results came in. This year’s hackathon was the sixth in a long-standing tradition of civic duty and open source collaboration.

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Hatchit puts open source power in developers’ hands

This post was originally published on OpenSource.com.


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.

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Google Summer of Code, Fedora Class of 2016

This summer, I’m excited to say I will be trying on a new pair of socks for size.

Bad puns aside, I am actually enormously excited to announce that I am participating in this year’s Google Summer of Code program for the Fedora Project. If you are unfamiliar with Google Summer of Code (or often shortened to GSoC), Google describes it as the following.

Google Summer of Code is a global program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development. Students work with an open source organization on a 3 month programming project during their break from school.

I will work with the Fedora Project over the summer on the CommOps slot. As part of my proposal, I will assist with migrating key points of communication in Fedora, like the Fedora Magazine and Community Blog, to Ansible-based installations. I have a few more things planned up my sleeve too.

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Going to Bitcamp 2016

Over the weekend of April 9th – 10th, the Fedora Project Ambassadors of North America attended the Bitcamp 2016 hackathon at the University of Maryland. But what is Bitcamp? The organizers describe it as the following.

Bitcamp is a place for exploration. You will have 36 hours to delve into your curiosities, learn something new, and make something awesome. With world-class mentors and hundreds of fellow campers, you’re in for an amazing time. If you’re ready for an adventure, see you by the fire!

The Fedora Project attended as an event sponsor this year. At the event, we held a table in the hacker arena. The Ambassadors offered mentorship and help to Bitcamp 2016 programmers, gave away some free Fedora swag, and offered an introduction to Linux, open source, and our community. This report recollects some highlights from the event.

Bitcamp 2016: The Fedora Ambassadors of Bitcamp 2016

The Fedora Ambassadors at Bitcamp 2016. Left to right: Chaoyi Zha (cydrobolt), Justin W. Flory (jflory7), Mike DePaulo (mikedep333), Corey Sheldon (linuxmodder)

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The night I became a hacker

On the night of April 15th, 2016, I officially became a hacker.

Ever wonder what being a hacker is all about? Wonder no more.

Ever wonder what being a hacker is all about? Wonder no more.

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BrickHack 2016

Last month at the Rochester Institute of Technology, BrickHack 2016 came to a close. BrickHack is an annual hackathon organized by students at RIT. Close to 300 people attend every year. This year was BrickHack’s second event.

BrickHack 2016 and Fedora

This year, I attended with the Fedora Project team, which included people like Remy DeCausemaker, Mike DePaulo, Charles Profitt, Ralph Bean, and Ryan Scott Brown. In addition to the Fedora crew, many of my friends and fellow students were there, like Mike Nolan and Brendan Whitfield. There were countless others that made the weekend awesome and incredible.

For pictures and more details, read my full report on the Fedora Community Blog.

BrickHack 2016 and Fedora: Event Report