History: POSSE-V1 Worcester (Jun 2009)

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.

Join us!

More information for attendees (directions, hotel recommendations, parking/transport logistics, etc) is available at the POSSE Worcester State attendees page. There is no cost to attend a POSSE, though attendees are responsible for their own travel, lodging, and expenses.



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 Worcester State 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 Worcester State” so it’s easy to keep track of things.
  • 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 7-11, 2010


Worcester State College (map)



  • Mel Chua, Red Hat
  • Walter Bender, Sugar Labs/MIT
  • Peter Robinson, Sugar Labs


  • Peter Froehlich (Johns Hopkins)
  • Karl Wurst (Worcester State College)
  • Nadimpalli Mahadev (Fitchburg State College)
  • Kristina Striegnitz (Union College, Schenectady, NY)
  • Jerry Breecher (Clark University, Worcester MA)
  • Mihaela Sabin (University of New Hampshire)
  • Gary Pollice (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
  • Aparna Mahadev (Worcester State College)


  • Jon “maddog” Hall (Wednesday speaker)
  • Michael Stone (Thursday dinner, needs ride)

Topic Schedule

This schedule is flexible, but gives an idea of the agenda we will be covering. During the actual week of POSSE, we’ll be building the schedule day by day.


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 logs: POSSE Worcester Monday minutes (Note: the full logs are likely to be more useful.)



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

Deliverable 2: A user page on http://wiki.sugarlabs.org – 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.

Deliverable 4: Burn yourself a SoaS stick. We’ll talk about this more in class, but everything you need should be at http://spins.fedoraproject.org/soas/#downloads.


Theme: “Source”

Big idea: There’s plenty of interesting work to do, for all skill levels and interests – the trick is finding it and then doing your work out in the open.

Skill: Getting code (version control basics), finding out what there is to work on (ticket trackers, mailing lists and IRC), and displaying your changes publicly (patches, branches).

Full logs: minutes and logs (less useful for today – a lot of work happened outside of IRC)


  • Questions from yesterday
  • An overview of our project for a week: the SoaS release schedule, Feature process, and Activity Criteria.
  • Abacus Activity hacking with Walter (intro to git, python, patches)
  • SoaS Documentation exercise (intro to build systems, review of git)
  • Choose an Activity, a team, and go!
  • Interlude: IRC data-sorting tools
  • Interlude: SoaS conversation (over lunch)


Deliverable 1: A fork of Abacus in gitorious with some modification to the code.

Deliverable 2: A patch/merge request submitted to the repository.

Deliverable 3: Spend 10-20 minutes looking for resources for your second project (other than Measure development) and blog your reflection.


Theme: “Development”

Big idea: Sometimes, you’ve just got to dive in and work on the code… together.

Skill: Making contributions to an open source project “in the wild.”

Full logs:


  • Measure Activity hacking
  • Intro to spins and remixes
  • Feature process: a conversation walkthrough
  • IRC bots and logging
  • FOSS events
  • A visit from Jon “maddog” Hall


  • Deliverable 1: A reflection blog post on your hacking for the day.


Theme: “And” (Development, continued)

Big Idea: There are many ways besides code to contribute to an open source project.

Skill: Exploring other types of FOSS contribution.

Full logs:


  • Morning groups:
    • Packaging: Peter R, Mihaela, Kristina, Karl (and others interested)
    • Translation: Walter, Mihaela (briefly, at the start), Peter F
    • Portals/docs: Mel, Aparna, Nadimpalli
  • Afternoon groups:
    • QA: Mel, Kristina, Gary, Jerry
    • Pedagogy: Walter, Aparna, Mihaela
    • Infrastructure: Peter R, Karl, Nadimpalli (and others interested)
  • Dinner with local Sugar hackers at 7:00pm at Maxwell Silverman’s Toolhouse


  • Deliverable 1: Blog a reflection on the day. Try to meet and work with someone on IRC – who you haven’t met or worked with before – in a channel other than #teachingopensource, while you continue your project work


Theme: Teaching

Big Idea: Where do we go from here?

Skill: Bringing what you’ve learned this week back to your home institutions.

Full logs: Friday logs


  • Assorted teaching-related topics
    • Classes that have been taught in the past
    • The TOS community
    • Grading
    • What’s the risk?
    • Non-class activities
    • Other things you’d like to discuss
  • Where do you go from here – what are you (already) trying to do…
    • Next school year?
    • The school year after that?
    • 5 years from now?
    • N years from now?
  • What resources can TOS, Sugar Labs, and others provide to help with that?
    • Materials
    • Speakers
    • Workshops
    • Events/hackathons
    • Projects
    • Mentors
    • Funding (for travel, materials, etc)
    • Letters of support
    • Publishing/speaking opportunities
    • What else?


  • Deliverable 1: Blog a final reflection on the week – you don’t have to do this today, since a few days to think can sometimes be helpful. We ask you do this by the end of Thursday, June 17, 2010 (in other words, “next week”).
  • Deliverable 2: Introduce yourself to the TOS mailing list. (Link to your blog posts if you think they’re helpful for the introduction.) If you can, talk about the ideas you have on what you’re thinking of doing, and the questions you have about what others have done, what resources are out there, etc. Again, deadline for this is not today, but June 17.


Anyone is welcome to help organize and plan this POSSE. Please see POSSE Worcester State planning for details.