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Notes from Chris Tyler's talk about Seneca College open source program.

Examples of Program

  • Implementation of apng spec in Firefox 3
  • Improvements to plugin code, resurrection from the rust

Mozilla Experience

  • Students have to take work to a .3 (more than new, but working)
  • Second course, take to a 1.0 (doc'd, ready, polished, tested, etc.)

Fedora Future

  • More classes (six) that interact with the Fedora Project
  • No dumping of people, Chris will be alongside them
  • Protect project from post-project attrition
    • E.g. if they maintain a package, make it a co-maintainership
  • Red Hat's "open source university" initiative

Fedora's To-do list in preparation

  1. NOW Make list of potential projects
    • If we make many separate lists (that's OK), do an include in to one page and make sure the Seneca wiki pulls it in to be the canonical list for their students. This lets Fedora have lists that are not useful to Seneca in particular, but useful to other projects (SummerCoding, etc.)
    • Be careful of release blockers
    • Chance to go far beyond pure programming
  2. Don't worry about scope
    • Smaller scope projects can be combined under one student
    • Larger scope projects may be doable anyway
  3. Mentoring is not required throughout, but ...
    • You must be available to explain wtf your idea is about (more of a sponsor role)
  4. Hang out with the students
    • #seneca
    • Come to do a guest lecture

Exceptions to using all community-based tools

  • #seneca -- course specific work
  • Student planet -- submit/release done via blogging
  • Student wiki:
    • Master project list for students lives here


  1. Faculty needs to have one foot in FLOSS, the other in academia
  2. Community has to care about the student's project
    • Start by asking community to propose projects students can work on (initial list >3x more than are going to be used)
  3. Ask idea proposer from the community to be an initial contact to get started
  4. Project has to be what student is passionate about
    • Students pick from list (which is helped by the long list)
  5. Students work directly in project, using tools and methods there
    • Not done in a sandbox
    • Not locked off in a learning management system (LMS)
  6. Project needs to be big enough to absorb a large number of students


  • Non-coding opportunities; my top list: docs, marketing, art(?)
  • How to kick-off a new opportunity from scratch?