Changing the Open Web Fri, Jan 28. 2011
My colleagues in the Centre for Development of Open Technology have been doing some amazing work enhancing the open web. One of their libraries, Popcorn.js, enables web video to move beyond being a box on the page to become a part of the hyperlinked, dynamic web. With a ton of frantic hacking by the Popcorn team which began on Tuesday morning (!), PBS launched an interesting web page that night showing analyst's comments synchronized to a video of the US President's State of the Union speech. PBS comments about the effort are posted on The Rundown.
Update: Dave Humphrey has blogged about the work that he and his team did on the SOTU page with PBS.
Fedora, Seneca, and FUDCon Tempe Thu, Jan 27. 2011
This semester is the fourth time that I've run the Software Build and Release (SBR600) course at Seneca College, and we have record enrollment – a full house! This course is one of a number of open source courses connected with the Centre for Development of Open Technology; it is a professional option in our Computer Systems Technology program, which focuses on network and system administration, and it has two goals:
- Teach software build and release (aka Release Engineering/Build Team) principles, technology, and skills
- Teach how to contribute effectively in an open source community
The students are currently researching and selecting projects from a short list of potential projects which have been screened for manageable size and practical real-world value. This semester, many of these projects are focused on the Fedora ARM secondary architecture, since the ARM buildsystem is physically located at Seneca, but some projects are related to different areas within Fedora (or, in one case, Fedora+Mozilla). In all cases, the students are expected to work with the community, use community communication tools and practices, and ultimately, advance the state of the respective area to which their project contributes. That means that if new software is packaged, it will be put through package review and end up in Fedora; if scripts or programs are written, they will be reviewed and committed upstream; and if documentation is written, it will end up in an appropriate and accessible place such as the wiki.
On Friday, ten SBR600 students will be traveling with Paul Whalen and me to FUDCon Tempe – eight students from the current semester and two from the previous semester. They're looking forward to making connections with other Fedorans, hearing about the latest and greatest technology, hacking, and generally starting down the road to becoming active contributors.
Please join us! -- I invite you to check out what we're doing, either in the usual Fedora places or in the #seneca channel on Freenode, on the Seneca wiki, or on Planet CDOT.
Come and Speak at FSOSS 2010 Wed, Jul 21. 2010
The 9th Annual Free Software and Open Source Symposium (FSOSS, "eff-sauce") is coming up on October 28th and 29th, here at Seneca College in Toronto. This is a great event with a wide-ranging, eclectic mix of workshops and presentations.
I've been involved in planning FSOSS for the past few years, but stepped back a bit to catch my breath this year. Mary Lynn Manton has stepped up to the task of chairing this year's event with Rose Saliba, who is co-chairing for her third year.
FSOSS is still looking for interesting workshops and presentations on a variety of open source topics. If you're working with open source in any way, this could be a great opportunity -- please check out http://fsoss.ca and submit a presentation proposal right away!
Fedora 13 Release Event Sat, Jun 19. 2010
Fedora 13 was release a few weeks ago. We're going to celebrate the release at a release event in Toronto on July 5th. Here are the details:
- Who: Fedora Community -- and anyone interested!
- What: Fedora 13 Release Event
- Where: Seneca@York, TEL Building, room T1009
- When: Monday, July 5, 6 pm
- Why: To celebrate the release of Fedora 13 "Goddard", distribute Fedora 13 discs and discuss its new features, and meet up with other Linux contributors and users
- Wiki URL: http://bit.ly/f13-toronto
Please join us if you're interested. I hope to see you there!
Sugar on a Stick - Activities Thu, Jun 17. 2010
Sugar on a Stick is a project which aims to create a live learning environment on a USB stick. This environment is a Fedora spin hosting the Sugar environment (the learning software original created as part of the OLPC project).
In previous versions of SoaS, the activities were not thoroughly screened before inclusion in the Spin, and so the SoaS Activity Criteria were introduced. I've been working with some other POSSE RIT participants to try and get three activities - Abacus, Maze, and Memorize - to the point of meeting the criteria. It's been a frustrating experience, but we've made some progress:
- Performed a package review (not passed, but close) of Peter Robinson's sugar-abacus package in Fedora
- Created a basic page for recording smoke test results
- Filed a bug against the sugar-maze package in Fedora (apparently missing an essential .py file)
- This activity meets most of the criteria, but we weren't able to save to the journal (know issue) and could not confirm that collaboration works (might have been our Sugar configuration or networking)
Seneca and the Fedora ARM Secondary Architecture Thu, Apr 22. 2010
ARM processors power the digital mobile age. Billions are produced per year, ending up in the majority of cellphones as well as in e-book readers, plug computers, the OLPC XO 1.75, tablets, netbooks, intelligent RJ-45 network jacks, and even microSD cards.
The Fedora ARM Secondary Architecture project has done a great job of porting Fedora releases to ARM. To assist this initiative, this semester's Software Build and Release course at Seneca (SBR600) put together a new Koji build farm for the ARM architecture in preparation for using koji-shadow to follow the primary architectures. It's been a fascinating and challenging project -- working with cross-compilers, emulators, and hardware with much smaller configurations than standard PCs. A large amount of effort was spent benchmarking various configurations to determine optimal memory and storage arrangements and to compare emulated vs. hardware ARM performance to guide the configuration of the build farm.
So now we're at the end of the semester. Where do things stand?
- We have a working Koji build system, with two hardware builders plus emulated (VM) builders
- Since we're at the end of the semester, things will be quiet for the next week and a half, but then we've hired a graduate to work on this full-time (intros coming up shortly )
What's next? In May-June we expect to: