Open source software is a big deal at RPI. We have a very active student group—Rensselaer Center for Open Source Software—responsible for projects like Yet Another Course Scheduler and MobileNotifier. A quick look at laptops in any lecture hall will show a significant fraction of Linux users. On the other hand, many students still aren’t exactly sure what makes their browser open source, or why they should care.
This week, RPI is hosting a couple of events that are great opportunities to learn more. On Thursday, David Wheeler will be giving a talk on government use of open source software and security, and this weekend, OpenHatch will be holding a two-day open source software workshop at RPI.
Wheeler will be speaking Thursday at 4 pm in Sage 4101. He will be covering the significance of open source software use in the United States Department of Defense, as well as open source’s role in computer security.
The OpenHatch workshop will take place in Sage 4101 and 5101 on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am–4:30 pm. It is targeted at those interested in contributing to open source projects. No experience is necessary. It will begin with an overview of open source, including information on its origins and importance. Participants will then be lead step-by-step through the various technologies used in open source. This includes using Internet Relay Chat to talk to developers, using a bug tracker, submitting patches, and using revision control systems (like git or subversion).
Saturday’s session will primarily focus on teaching participants this information, while the one on Sunday will be more project-based.
More information is available online at https://openhatch.org/wiki/Open_Source_Comes_to_Campus/RPI/. An RSVP is required, so visit the web page if this sounds interesting. OpenHatch also encourages anyone with questions to e-mail them at email@example.com.