The past few months have brought many changes for me. I traveled throughout Europe to experience some of the open source conferences and communities across the continent. Along the way, I met incredible people with powerful stories about their own communities. However, there is one community that I knew about before I came to Europe. The Open Labs Hackerspace in Tirana, Albania is a special community that I was fortunate enough to discover and meet. Together, they have helped set in motion the open source way in their own city.
One of the most important lessons I was taught growing up is to say “thank you” when someone does something nice for you. Many months ago, someone first introduced me to something called Happiness Packets. The idea is simple but powerfully effective. Happiness Packets are like thank-you cards for open source users or contributors. You can send a packet to anyone for anything. Your message can be as short or as long as you like. You can put your name on your message or you can keep it totally anonymous. The choice is yours. And now, I want to challenge you to the #HappinessPacketChallenge!
This article was originally published on the Fedora Magazine.
Open source projects are built online and a lot of their community members are placed all over the world. Even though projects have people from around the world, this doesn’t stop ambitious community members to organize open source conferences or events in their own cities. Whether they’re focused generally to open source or for a specific project, you can find a variety of conferences, hackathons, workshops, or meet-ups all over the world. Fedora benefits from having Ambassadors to attend these events to introduce Fedora and spread the word about the community. It’s not uncommon to see Fedora participating in these events, and Linux Weekend 2017 in Tirana, Albania was not an exception.
From March 25-26, 2017 in Tirana, Albania, nearly 130 people attended the first-ever Linux Weekend 2017. Linux Weekend was organized by Open Labs Hackerspace at the Universiteti Politeknik i Tiranës as an introduction to Linux for beginners. Throughout Tirana, universities have a strong focus on Windows or macOS operating systems and little focus is given to Linux. Open Labs community members wanted to organize an event that would promote Linux as an open source alternative and demonstrate some of its benefits over proprietary environments. The event collected representatives from various communities, including Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, NextCloud, MusicBrainz, and more.
The local hackerspace in Tirana, Albania might be small, but they make up for size in spirit. During the weekend of 18-19 March 2017, the Open Labs Hackerspace organized the first-ever 48 hour “open source” hackathon focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are seventeen objectives identified by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to build a better world, starting in our own communities. Some of the goals include quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, clean energy, and more. During the course of the hackathon, participants selected a goal, broke into teams, and worked on projects to make real change in their own neighborhoods. In the spirit of open source, all projects are made available under free and open licenses.
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.
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.
For many universities and colleges, there are many technical clubs that students can join. Some clubs focus on programming or using programming for collaborative projects. For anything involving code, clubs usually turn to GitHub. GitHub has become the standard for open source project hosting by thousands of projects in the world. GitHub organizations are the tool GitHub provides to allow someone to create a team of people for working on projects. Organizations can have many repositories and smaller teams inside of them. When getting started with GitHub, there is a method to the madness, and there are ways you can have an ordered organization instead of keeping it messy. Here’s how you do it.
When people first think of “open source”, their mind probably first goes to code. Something technical that requires an intermediate understanding of computers or programming languages. But open source is a broad concept that goes beyond only binary bits and bytes. Open source projects hold great regard for community participation. The community is a fundamental piece of a successful open source project. For my experience getting involved with open source, I began in the community and worked my way around from there. At the age of fifteen, I was beginning my open source journey and I didn’t even know it.
Over the past year, I’ve met incredible people from around the world doing great things in their local communities. At my university, the Women in Computing @ RIT program provides networking for students with faculty, staff, and alumni. They also help advance women in computing through community outreach. I’ve also come into contact with two other international tech communities with interesting stories of their own. With the help of the WiC events committee, we are working on organizing a virtual meetup with WiC from New York, Open Labs Albania, and FOSS Wave from India to introduce each other, share experiences, and more.
Tomorrow, August 22, 2016, marks the end of the Google Summer of Code 2016 program. This year, I participated as a student for the Fedora Project working on my proposal, “Ansible and the Community (or automation improving innovation)“. You can read my original project proposal on the Fedora wiki. Over the summer, I spent time learning more about Ansible, applying the knowledge to real-world applications, and then taking that experience and writing my final deliverable. The last deliverable items, closing plans, and thoughts on the journey are detailed as follows.