History: POSSE-V1 – RIT (Jun 2010)

POSSE is a bootcamp sponsored by Red Hat designed to immerse computer science instructors in open source projects, with the commitment that each participating instructor bring their classes into open source project participation over the next school year. More details on the program are available at http://teachingopensource.org/posse/.

1 Join us!
2 Resources2.1 Press
2.2 Blogs
2.3 Follow the POSSE
3 Event information3.1 Sponsor
3.2 Dates
3.3 Location
3.4 FOSSCon
4 Participants4.1 Instructors
4.2 Attendees4.2.1 Professors
4.2.2 RIT Staff
4.2.3 FOSS@RIT
5 Topic Schedule5.1 Monday5.1.1 Topics
5.1.2 Deliverables
5.1.3 Notes5.1.3.1 Things we want to accomplish this week
5.2 Tuesday5.2.1 Topics
5.2.2 Notes
5.2.3 Deliverables
5.3 Wednesday5.3.1 Topics
5.4 Projects5.4.1 Deliverables
5.5 Thursday
5.6 Friday
6 Glossary
7 Useful tools7.1 Document collaboration
7.2 Other tools..?
8 Planning

Join us!

There is no cost to attend a POSSE, though attendees are responsible for their own travel, lodging, and expenses. Although POSSE RIT is already started, considering applying to an upcoming POSSE] – today! – it just takes 1 email, 10 questions, and less than 30 minutes.

More information for attendees (directions, hotel recommendations, parking/transport logistics, etc) is available at the POSSE RIT attendees page.



Watch this space during POSSE week for coverage by the media.


Watch this space during POSSE week for blog posts by POSSE participants and instructors.

Follow the POSSE

There are a number of spaces where POSSE participants interact aside from the physical Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) location.

  • Wiki: this POSSE is using the TeachingOpenSource wiki space. Please feel free to edit any of these pages. If you’re creating new pages, please prefix the page title with “POSSE RIT” for ease of keeping track of them.
  • IRC: The channel on Freenode will be used for POSSE-specific IRC communication. Participants are encouraged to join the larger TeachingOpenSource community in the #teachingopensource as well.
  • Mailing list: Join the teaching open source mailing list for discussion and ongoing session notes.

Event information


Red Hat


June 14-18, 2010


Rochester Institute of Technology
 B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (Bldg 70)
 Room 2400 (big glass walled conf room on 2nd Floor)

Campus Map


A Free and Open Source Software Conference (FOSSCon) is being held at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) immediately after POSSE (June 19) and has several POSSE-specific events in its schedule.

  • POSSE participants will have a free dinner ticket to FOSSCon’s pre-conference get-together on Friday.
  • FOSSCon will have a POSSE panel session where attendees of the RIT POSSE are welcome to come and speak about their recent experiences, their thoughts as a new participant in the open source world, and the kinds of resources they’ll be looking for in the next school year that they’d like conference attendees to help them find. POSSE panel participants will get a free ticket to FOSSCon, and any POSSE attendees are welcome to be on the POSSE panel.



  • Chris Tyler, Seneca College / Fedora
  • Mel Chua, Red Hat / Sugar Labs
  • Luke Macken, Red Hat / Fedora



  • Andrea Hickerson, RIT, Communication
  • Nancy Doubleday, RIT, Interactive Games and Media
  • Dave Shein, Monroe Community College & RIT, English (MCC) & Open Source (RIT)
  • Michael Lutz, RIT, Software Engineering
  • Mitch Rosen, RIT, Center for Student Innovation
  • Sequetta Sweet, MCC, Office and Computer Programs
  • Al Biles, RIT, Interactive Games and Media
  • Juan Cockburn, RIT, Computer Engineering
  • Robert Wilhoft, Roberts Wesleyan College, Computer Science
  • Michael Riordan, RIT, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences & Open Publishing Lab
  • Stephen Jacobs, RIT, Interactive Games and Media
  • Rebecca Berent, RIT Adjunct College of Imaging Arts and Sciences
  • Antonio F Mondragon, RIT Assistant Professor CAST ECTET

RIT Staff

  • Stephen Kuhaneck, RIT Wallace Center, SW Dev
  • Gary Scarbourough, Lab Manager, School of Informatics,
  • Geoffrey Anderson, DB Tutor and Lab Instructor, Information Tech Masters Student


  • Remy Decausemaker, FOSS@RIT project director and hacktavist
  • Kate Dubission, CSI CIVX developer
  • Nathan Case, CSI Summer CIVX developer

Topic Schedule


Theme: “Open”

Big idea: The ability to be “productively lost” in a FOSS project cannot be obtained through sheer increase in technical skill alone; the ability to communicate within a project’s culture is a crucial skill.

Skill: Learn how to use the communication tools the community uses.

Full IRC logs: minutes and log


Deliverable 1: Account creation. Everyone should get set up on:

Deliverable 2: A user page on the TOS wiki – the catch is that you cannot edit your own user page and you cannot talk with people in person about it; you must get others to edit it for you via talking with them on IRC .

Deliverable 3: A blog post reflecting on the day, and linking to the accounts you’ve just created.


Things we want to accomplish this week

  • How to use data in open source
  • Have lunch on Wednesday at 11
  • experience what the FOSS communty is like
  • incorporate into New Media classes
  • Game development – continue Sugar class, figure out how to get student work more “into the open”
  • computer engineering classes (there are some open hardware projects, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arduino for example)
  • large-scale architecture that may be undocumented (case studies in software architecture; compare, contrast, critique)
  • Mixing open source with Media/Art, graphic and web design
  • CIVX in particular as a FOSS project at RIT (http://civx.us)
  • FOSS@RIT campaign (http://foss.rit.edu) (PeterF likes this!)
  • Red Hat (-based linux systems) are a black box: fix this 😉
  • Helping students not be afraid to use Linux / the terminal (teach more courses in Unix :-D)
  • CSI projects (center for student innovation)
  • Involving SPARSA (Security Practices and Research Student Association) students in OSS (what’s sparsa?) — http://www.sparsa.org/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_Practices_and_Research_Student_Association
  • using community/process for distribution
  • Make GenJam (virtual improvisational jazz system in realtime using evolutionary computations) OSS — http://www.ist.rit.edu/~jab/GenJam.html
  • Help students get involved with larger projects with limited resources.
  • Aid students in developing and releasing/distributing OSS projects.
    learn more about open source and its uses


Theme: “Source”

Big idea: To work with an open source community, you have to be comfortable working with source code, whether that is code, images, documentation, or something else.

Skill: Learn how to use the collaborative version control and build tools your community uses.

Full IRC logs: minutes and log

  • Status Check
  • “Web” Video Trailer
  • Using Publican – building documentation
  • Making SoaS
  • Using Sugar/SoaS
  • Spins/ReMixes
  • The Release Process
  • Abacus Activity Exercise
  • Projects Overview

Tools we’ve used:

  • git
  • publican
  • trac
  • etherpad
  • patch
  • Consider and select one of the proposed projects (don’t worry, we’ll flesh out the details tomorrow!):
  • Write a blog post with your reflections on today and your the project you’ve selected.


Theme: “Development”

Big idea: To develop in an open source community requires diving into unfamiliar, and sometimes large, content bases (including code and other material), and requires leveraging the open source community.

Skill: Experience developing within an open source community.

Full IRC logs: minutes and log

  • Status updateTOS Planet review – Need to hear! (mc)
    • Rose-Bud-Thorn review (ct)
    • Other Planet review (ct)
    • Grid on Board (?)(mc)
  • Issue Tracking – Mechanics & Process
    • Lifecycle of a Bug (ct)
    • Bugzilla (ct)
    • Trac (mc)
  • Revisit Remix/Spin creation (ct)
  • Project Intros/Division of Labour (all together)
  • Work on Projects
    • Intro/Get-Started
    • Swap instructor for rest of day
  1. RIT Remix Project
  2. Measure Activity
  3. SoaS Activity Inclusion Process
  1. Blog Postings (1+) – Reflections including project work
  2. Each project to decide on milestone goals for the day


Full logs: minutes and log


  • Continue with projects from Wednesday


  1. Getting Involved in a Project from both sides
    • What a student project looks like to the FOSS community
    • How to gauge the activity of an unfamiliar project and dive in
  2. Teaching Open Source
    • Teaching Model
    • Case Studies
    • Challenges


Dinner with local FOSS community members:
 1384 Empire Blvd, Rochester, NY[0]
 Dinner's on Red Hat. Come hungry. :D

[0] Their other location is closed for remodeling, so we were bumped to this one.


Full logs: minutes and log

  1. Items from Monday
  2. Getting Involved
  3. Teaching Open Source
    • Time
      • Blockers
    • Grading
    • Resources/Materials
  4. Plans for your courses


We’re keeping a glossary of terms as the week goes by in order to help us keep track of new words we’re learning. Please add/edit/clarify this list!

  • build – to take source (source code, documentation, images) and produce useful output from it (such as a package, binary, web page, or pdf).
  • deployment — installation/roll-out/use of a product (e.g., “Company X is doing a 2000-seat rollout of Foo”, meaning that they’re installing “Foo” on 2000 computers)
  • distribution (n) — a complete, self-contained open source software stack (e.g. Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, etc.)
  • downstream — consumers of an open source project (e.g., Fedora is a downstream for Mozilla Firefox, because Fedora packages and distributes)
  • Fedora Remix – a bootable/installable custom distribution based on Fedora (and optionally including non-
  • Fedora packages, such as proprietary software, trademarked or copyright images, or patent-encumbered technologies which cannot be distributed in all jurisdictions).
  • Fedora Spin – a Remix which contains only Fedora packages and which has gone through an approval process so that the Fedora trademarks can be used and it can be hosted on Fedora infrastructure.
  • git – a common, distributed version control system.
  • IRC – Internet Relay Chat
  • packaging — the act of putting software (lots of raw code) into a format (one nicely bundled file) that is easy to install. This is a major task of distributions
  • planet – a web page containing aggregated (combined) blog posts from several authors. Examples: Planet TOS, Planet Fedora, Planet Sugar, OpenSource@Seneca Planet
  • SoaS – Sugar on a Stick, a Fedora official fedora:Spins Spin containing the Sugar learning environment from Sugar Labs.
  • upstream — producers of an open source product (e.g., Python is an upstream for Sugar, because Python is the language used by Sugar for much of its software)
  • version control system – software to track the history of changes in a source code.

Useful tools

This are links to some useful tools that have been demonstrated during the course of RIT POSSE. (this list was suggested by mlutz)

Document collaboration

Other tools..?

  • mailing lists (examples…?)
  • Ticket systems (examples…?)


Anyone is welcome to help organize and plan POSSE. Please see POSSE RIT planning for details.