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Rochester Institute of Technology


FOSS @ RIT has become a venue for a team of faculty, students, and community members interested in teaching free and open source software development through community service projects.

RIT's FLOSS Projects Seminar

Professors Stephen Jacobs and Ralph Bean started in Fall '11 to develop a projects seminar on open source games (syllabus). The course will be taught in the winter quarter of 2011 and features an "open-sourced curriculum" where students are able to fork-and-patch the syllabus and grading rubric. Hosting of students' projects is made possible by Red Hat's openshift cloud platform-as-a-service.

RIT's HFOSS Course


Professors Stephen Jacobs and Eric Grace worked with Sugar Labs in Spring '09 to start a honors seminar, Developing for the One Laptop per Child XO, which involved teaching open source to about 20 students.

Thanks to Karlie Robinson and her networking prowess, 25 OLPC XO 1.0 laptops were made available through the Fedora Ambassador XO program to enable work on the Math4 Team at RIT, a fourth grade math curriculum building project.

Since that first Honors seminar, an open seminar was offered twice more and then, according to RIT policy, was redeveloped, put through committee, and put officially on the books as "Humanitarian Free and Open Software Development." Adjunct Professor and POSSE graduate David Shein taught one section of the seminar, participated in course development, and is the instructor for the maiden voyage of the new course. A draft of the HFOSS certification criteria released at the HFOSS Symposium 2010 informed the course design.

The current syllabus as of September 6th, 2010 can be found at RIT/The_Course. Readings and tutorials, etc are clinked within the syllabus. Course projects are listed on Sugar Labs Math4 RIT projects wiki page.

Co-Op program and Sponsored Research Projects

RIT is a co-op school, which means that students must get a set number (varying by degree program) paid, full-time work experiences. If the work is done for a not-for-profit, the paid aspect of the experience can be waived. This has allowed us to offer a number of our students the opportunity to continue working on their projects full-time for a quarter. As of the Fall of 2010, Ten students have earned co-op credit working on projects that emerged from the course.

Two sponsored research projects, Open Video Chat and CIVX have also earned students co-op credit and supported teams of student and alumni developers.Development of both projects, will continue in the fall 2010 session of the class.

In the summer of 2010, four students were awarded Undergraduate Research Fellowships to develop Game and Animation Engine projects to improve the efficiency of Pygame on the OLPC. They used Math Adventure: Fortune Hunter as their initial case and then began abstracting the engines up, working with the version of Lemonade Stand that had been developed in the first course in 2009. Work on other games and the engines will also be part of the Fall 2010 session.

Outside of the Class

FOSS@RIT has worked with the University to host numerous events that have brougt faculty, staff, students and FOSS community members together including speaking engagements in 2010 by Richard Stallman and Walter Bender, POSSE and FOSSCon. Righteous Pictures, currently producing the documentary WEB, which features the OLPC and Hal ABelson are scheduled to visit and speak this academic year.

For more details on these events, visit FOSS@RIT's home on the web.


RIT/Community TasksRIT/Fall 2009RIT/Git introduction
RIT/Laboratory principles and practices
RIT/Labs OLPC Smoke testRIT/MediaWiki:Common.css
RIT/Report templateRIT/SoaS introductionRIT/The Course
RIT/Wiki introductionRIT/Wiki introduction/IRCRIT/Wiki introduction/Report
RIT/Wireless networkingRIT/Wireless networking/ReportRIT/Workshop at Red Hat
RIT/old syllabus