Teaching Open Source Planet is a Planet, a collection of personal blogs by Teaching Open Source community members working to bring the open source way into academia. We write about our inspirations and experiences in learning, teaching, and collaborating within free and open communities. In the spirit of freedom, we share and criticize in order to collectively improve. We hope you enjoy reading our thoughts; if you’re fascinated by what you see, consider adding your voice to the conversation.
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Mozilla volunteer Deepak Upendra interviews in Telugu language, taken with permission of those being interviewed. (Photo by Dyvik Chenna,CC BY-SA 4.0)
With a goal to reach, and listen to diverse and authentic voices, the insights phase of our plan for a Diversity and Inclusion strategy for Participation has, so far, been an inspired journey of learning. To mark International Mother Language Day, and to celebrate the theme of building sustainable futures we wanted to share our research work for D&I at Mozilla.
It became apparent very early into our research, that we needed to prioritize the opportunity for people to be interviewed in their first-languages, and together with a small and passionate team of multi-lingual interviewers we have been doing just that — so far in French, Spanish, Albanian, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. With a designed process including best practices, and an FAQ — and leveraging a course we developed last year called ‘Interviewing Users for Mozilla’ we’ve been able to mobilize even beyond our core group.
To better tell the story of our work, we interviewed some of our interviewers about their experiences:
Liza Durón, Interviews in Spanish
Liza is a Full Stack Marketer and Ethnographer from Mexico who volunteers here time at Mozilla in many areas, including as Club Captain for Mexico’s Mozilla Club.
On barriers faced by non-English speakers in open communities:
“People slow down their participation because they don’t fully understand English, so they don’t want to make mistakes or to be “ridiculous” if they say something wrong. Which is nonsense because we’re an open community and it is supposed that we are able to explain everyone if they need so. People tend to be frustrated at not being able to communicate themselves widely and that’s when tolerance is diminished, we judge ourselves internally and we decide to turn away from overcoming those barriers and asking for support. “
On how people can bridge the linguistic barriers in Open Source:
Every task they do, document it in their first language and their in English. If we only care about doing it in Spanish, it won’t figure globally and if we only do it in English, it will only be available for more people.
I have witnessed that interviews in first language People are so free to express and the results are even more real and it’s clearer to understand.
On how this method of research can lead to greater D&I in communities like Mozilla:
(by embedding translators in community spaces/events) More people will be included since they will feel more comfortable to be part of the community and won’t have to say : “I can not attend I don’t understand what they say and I can not speak English.”
Bhagyashree Padalkar, Speaks Marathi, Interviews in Hindi
Bhagyashree is a Data Scientist, actively involved with the Fedora Operations and Diversity Team and Outreachy Intern at Mozilla. She is working on both data analysis and first-language interviews with our D&I team.
On biggest barriers non-English speakers face in the open source world in general, and Mozilla in particular:
(Even though I am a confident English Speaker) I feel like I have to think twice before I speak up because any small mistake I make would not only make me more vulnerable to next, but also make the community members feel that I am not capable enough — or in some cases, even cloud their impressions of other Indians.
On the experience of interviewing in first-language:
I can definitely say that this research will help in identifying critical issues and barriers non-native English speakers face while contributing to FOSS. Overall, while conducting first language interviews, I have felt contributors able to connect more easily when speaking in their native language as this reduces their pressure a lot, makes them think a lot less about technical things like finding the right words to express themselves in English and helps the process feel more like a friendly conversation than a grilling round of interview.
The results of first-language interviews are proving an important opportunity to learn more about the experience of our community, but also how to better at include non-English speakers in future. Thank you to all of our interviews, and community members taking time to talk with us. And happy Mother Language Day!
I first got to know Guillermo during our time together on Mozilla Reps council – which was actually his second time contributing community leadership, the original was as a founding council member. Since this time, I’ve come to appreciate and rely on his intuition, experience and skill navigating complexities of community management as a peer in the community and colleague at Mozilla for the past two years.
Before I go any further I would like to thank Guillermo, on behalf of many, for politely responding to terrible mispronunciations of his name over the years including (but not limited to) ‘G-glermo, geejermo, Glermo, Juremo, Glermo, Gillermo and various versions of Guilllllllllmo’.
Although I am excited to see Guillermo off to new adventures – I , and many others in the Mozilla community wanted to mark his 12 years with Mozilla by honoring and celebrating a journey so far. Thankfully, he took some time to meet with me last week for an interview…
In the Beginning…
As many who do not speak English as a first language might understand, Guillermo remembers spending his early days on IRC and mailing lists trying to understand ways to get involved in his first language – Spanish. It was this experience and eventual collaboration with other Spanish speaking community leaders Ruben and Francisco that led to the formation of the Hispano Community.
Emerging Leader, Emerging Community
Guillermo’s love of the open web, radiates through all aspects of his life, and history including his Bachelor’s thesis with a cover which you might notice resembles a browser…
During this same time of dedicated study, Guillermo began to both participate-in, and organize Mozilla events in Argentina. One of his most memorable moments of empowerment was when Asa Dozler from Mozilla, who had been visiting his country, declared to Guillermo and the emerging community group ‘you are the Argentina Community’ – with subsequent emails in support of that from both Asa and Mary Colvig that ultimately led to a new community evolution.
Guillermo joined Mozilla as staff during Firefox OS era, at first part time while he also worked at Nobox organizing events and activities for De Todos Para Todos campaign. He started full time not long afterwards stepping into the role of community manager for LATAM. His work with Participation included developing regional leadership strategies including development of a coaching framework.
I asked Guillermo to reflect on what his proudest moments have been so far, and here’s what he said:
Participation Mozilla Hispano creation community.
Being part of Firefox OS launch teams, and localization
Organizing community members, training. translating.
Being part of the Mozilla Reps original council.
A Central Theme
In all that Guillermo shared, there was such a strong theme of empowering people – of building frameworks and opportunities that help people reach into their potential as emerging community leaders and mobilizers. I think as a community we have been fortunate recipients of his talents in this area.
And that theme continues on in his wishes for Mozilla’s future – as an organization were community members continue to innovate and have impact on Mozilla’s mission.
Thank you Guillermo!
Goodbye – not Goodbye! Once a Mozillian, always a Mozillian – see you soon.
Please share your #mozlove memories, photos and gtratitude for #gmovia on Twitter and other social media!
Brian King was one of the first people I met at Mozilla. He is someone whose opinion, ideas, trust, support and friendship have meant a lot to me – and I know countless others would similarly describe Brian as someone who made collaborating, working and gathering together as a highlight of their Mozilla experiences, and personal success.
Brian has been a part of theMozilla community for nearly 18 years – and even though we are thrilled for his new adventures, we really wanted to find a megaphone to say thank you… Here are some highlights from my interview with him last week.
Brian came to Mozilla all those years ago, as a developer. He worked for a company that developed software which promoted minority languages including Basque, Catalan, Frisian, Irish, Welsh. As many did back in the day – he met people in newsgroups and on IRC, and slowly became immersed in the community – regularly attending developer meetups. Community, from the very beginning was the reason Brian became grew more deeply involved and connected to Mozilla’s mission.
Early contributions were code – becoming involved in with the HTML Editor, then part of the Mozilla Suite. He got a job at Activestate in Vancouver, and worked on the Komodo IDE for dynamic languages. Skipping forward he became more and more invested in transitioning to Add-On contribution, and review – even co-authoring a book “Creating Applications with Mozilla” – which I did not know! Very cool. During this time he describes himself as being “very fortunate” to be able to make a living by working in the Mozilla and Web ecosystem while running a consultancy writing Firefox add-ons and other software.
Dear Community – “You had me at Hello”
Something Brian shared with me, was that being part of the community essentially sustained his connection with Mozilla during times when he was to busy to contribute – and I think many other Mozillians feel this same way – it’s never goodbye, only see you soon. On Brian’s next adventure, I think we can take comfort that the open door of community will sustain our connection for years to come.
Brian came on as Mozilla staff in 2012 as the European Community Manager, with success in this and overseeing the evolution of the Mozilla Reps program. He was instrumental in successfully building Firefox OS launch teams all around the world. Most recently he has been sharpening that skillset of empowering individuals, teams and communities with support for various programs, regional support, and the Activate campaign.
With a long string of accomplishments at Mozilla, I asked Brian what his proudest moments were. Some of those he listed were:
AMO editor for a few years reviewing thousands of Addons
Building community in the Balkan area
Building out the Mozilla Reps program, and being a founding council member.
Helping drive Mozilla success at FOSDEM
Building FFOS Launch Teams
But he emphasized, in all of these, the opportunity to bring new people into the community, to nurture and help individuals and groups reach their goals provided an enormous sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
He didn’t mention it, but I also found this photo of Brian on TV in Transylvania, Romania that looks pretty cool.
To wrap up, I asked Brian what he most wanted to see for Mozilla in the next 5 years, leaning on what he knows for years as part of, and leading community:
“My hope is that Mozilla finds it’s North Star for the next 5-10 years, doubles down on recent momentum, and as part of that bakes community participation into all parts of the organization. It must be a must-have, and not a nice-to-have.”
Thank you Brian King!
You can give your thanks to Brian with #mozlove #brianking – share gratitude, laughs and stories.
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After hosting six Professors’ Open Source Software Experience (POSSE) workshops on the east coast, several at Red Hat’s headquarters in Raleigh, the next POSSE will be held at Google’s San Francisco office, April 20-22, 2017. I’m really excited that Google is interested in hosting POSSE! The workshop focuses on helping instructors support students involved in Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) projects.
There is so much to learn that we run the POSSE in three stages:
Stage 1 consists of 8 weeks of online activities to learn HFOSS tools and concepts. The effort is 2-3 hours per week.
Stage 2 is a 2.5 day face-to-face meeting, this time in San Francisco.
Stage 3 consists of additional online activities and group interactions.
These workshops are run by the foss2serve team which comprises includes Greg Hislop from Drexel University, Stoney Jackson from Western New England University, Darci Burdge and Lori Postner from Nassau Community College, and Clif Kussmaul from Muhlenberg College. We now have a growing community of over 100 faculty members who have attended POSSE workshops and we are looking for additional instructors to expand our community further. Oh, and for faculty members looking for publications, POSSE alums have generated a growing number of papers, posters, and panels.
If you are a full-time faculty member at a U.S. institution interested in supporting student participation in HFOSS, apply now! More information may be found on the foss2serve site. Because much of the funding for the workshop is coming from the National Science Foundation, we can only accept full-time faculty members at U.S. institutions. However, if you are interested in joining us and can self-fund, please do apply!
I’m going through old papers and throwing them out. I came upon an early draft from my first year in graduate school titled “Hacker Class Consciousness”. It was the beginning of an argument that those that work on open source software needed to develop a kind of class consciousness recognizing that their work bears a special relationship to capitalist modes of production. Open source software is a form of capital (a means of production) that is not privately owned. Hence, it is actually quite disruptive to capitalism per se. A la early Marxist theory, a political identity or “class consciousness” of people working in this way was necessary to reform the government to make it more equitable, or environmentally friendly, less violent, or whatever your critique of capitalism (or neoliberalism, if you prefer) is.
I didn’t get very far past this basic economic logic, which I still think is correct. I no longer think that class consciousness is important though. And I don’t think there’s an inevitability to capitalism containing the seeds of its own revolution through the eventual triumph of open source production.
I think it’s a good practice to make oneself accountable when one changes ones mind. There’s lots of evidence to say that when people publicly commit to some belief, they wind up sticking to it with more confidence than they ought to. Shame related reasons, I suppose. A good alternative habit, I believe, is publicly admitting when you are wrong about something, with the reasons for the update.
So why did I change my mind on this? Well, one reason is that I took some shots at formally modelling the problem several years ago and while it showed the robustness of open source software as a way of opening a market that had previously been dominated or locked in by a proprietary vendor or solution, there isn’t the profit motive driving open source production as a first mover. So the natural pressures of the market make open source coexist alongside proprietary systems, providing a countervailing force to privatization but never dissolving it entirely.
Another reason I changed my mind was a more general shift away from Marxist to Bourdieusian modes of thinking, which I’ve talked about here. A key part of this change in perspective is that it sees many kinds of capital at work in society, including both economic and cultural forms, and populations are distributed across the resulting multidimensional spectrum of variation, not stratified into a one-dimensional class structure. In such a world, class consciousness is futile. This futility may explain the futility of the Marxist project in general, as there was never really the kind of global collective action of the proletariat that he predicted would end capitalism. There’s always too many other kinds of population difference at work to allow for such a revolution. Race, for example.
It is good that a matured attitude has left me less eager to engage in a futile revolutionary project. There’s nothing like pursuing a doctorate for grinding that kind of idealism out of you. Now I can scintillate with cynicism, and would like to be much better at it. Which is to say, I’m beginning to regret ever turning away from the dismal science of economics, which now seems much more like the doctrine worth pursuing and improving.
One nice thing about economics is that it is quantitatively rigorous. This is not simply an intellectual gate-keeping statement designed to box out the innumerate. It’s rather a comment on how such a field has strictly more expressive power because of its capacity to represent a statistical distribution of variation. It’s not enough to say there’s black and white when there are shades of gray. And it’s not enough to say there are shades of gray when the particular variation in density of light across the field is what’s important.
A grayscale raster, from the OpenGeo Suite
It’s this kind of expressive power that gives computational social science much of its appeal. I forgot to even make this argument in my paper about the subject. That may be because this notion of the expressive power of different representational systems is part of what one learns in the course of ones computer science education, and that argument was written primarily for people without a computer science education.
Which really brings the discussion back around to where I come down to on the revolutionary economic potential of software development. Which is that really, it’s about educating people in the concepts and skills that allow them to make use of this incredible pool of openly available technical capital that gives people the “class consciousness” to act with it. Since late modern software development depends for its very existence on the great open wealth of collectivized logic already crystallized into free code, the “consciousness” is really just the habitus of the developer. I suppose I occasionally meet somebody who says they’ve been coding in .NET for their whole careers, but they are rare and I think are not doing well in the greater information economy.
It no coincidence that technical education and skills diffusion are, for Thomas Picketty, the way to counteract the inequality the results from disparate returns on wealth versus labor. This is a position one simply converges on if one studies it for long enough. Kindly, it stabilizes the role of the education system as one that is necessary for correcting other forms of societal destabilization and excess.
Participation design is the framework(s) we use to generate contribution opportunities that empower volunteers to ….
Recognize, embrace and personalize the opportunity of lending time and skills to a project at Mozilla — technical and non-technical.
Understand the steps they need to take to be successful and engaged at a very basic level. (task trackers, chat rooms, blogs, newsletters, wikis).
Complete a contribution with success on project goals, and value to the volunteer.
Grow in skills, knowledge and influence as community members, and leaders/mobilizers at Mozilla and in the broader open source community.
In our focus group for this topic, we’ll explore from both contributor and maintainer perspectives — what it means to design for participation for diversity, equality and inclusion. If you want to know more about how focus groups work — here’s a great resource.
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Building Mozilla’s Leadership Toolkit — Innovating contribution workflows for curriculum development
Earlier this year, we proposed a framework for Community Leadership Development at Mozilla. Since then, we’ve iterated on that work : ‘Open, Communicate, Empower, and Build’ are now core competencies guiding content development in Mozilla’s Leadership Toolkit.
As part of our goals for developing excellent content aligned with project and volunteer needs, I’ve been very deliberate and determined… to innovate a contribution model for volunteers with a background in education (professionals, and students), and those willing to invest in the testing of those workshops with their community. Our working group, has been building and testing a workflow as part of our early work. Enormous thanks to :
Skills, knowledge and attitudes we develop to effectively, and collaboratively build momentum of positive change they want to see in our communities, on projects and initiatives that matter to Mozilla’s mission.
Growing connection and shared vision for advocacy and purpose through strong personal and community narrative. Sharing what we learn, sharing early, sharing often, sharing inclusively.
Content is also categorized according to (evolving) sub-competencies, displayed as stories that help connect people with resources (example below, not on website yet)
Content is prioritized by those skills, knowledge and attitudes identified by Mozilla projects (currently Mozilla Reps, Campus Clubs) as being key to volunteer success — validated through self-assessment and testing. Although content is categorized by competency and sub-competency, we’ve also started to recognize pathways as another method of content categorization. Some examples so far are ‘I Hear You!’, and ‘Presenting Ideas’, as well as pathways focused on Personas like ‘New Mozillian’.
My big aha moment during this process was to stop being prescriptive about the technology, and technology format of curriculum contribution, and instead focus building standards, and processes that support where and how people want to work. Who cares if contributors know markdown, who cares if they know how to submit a pull request. Honestly, it only takes one person to publish content — and they can be positioned at the end of the workflow.
Measurement & Testing — We are slowly stepping into testing & measurement of content — building in self-assessment, pre & post-learning surveys. With a goal of improving content, and understanding what feels helpful to our community, and the projects they’re contributing to.
Something I have also learned this year is that ‘open calls’ to test content is almost never successful in obtaining meaningful feedback. Instead holding a 1:1 call with someone willing to test content, demoing the content delivery and then asking them to do the same with one or two people yields higher quality feedback on both the facilitator journey, and the learner.
I’m starting to believe that all workshop content we develop should come with a demo video, or 1:1 coaching that helps the facilitator prepare and ask questions.
Currently, the Leadership Toolkit website is a fork of another, and intended only to demo progress.
You may ask yourself, what learning formats are you optimizing for? Good question!
Right now, content is a mix of self-study and in-person/workshop-focused — but we intend to be more deliberate about the design moving forward — with thought leadership from Mikko Knotto, we’ll be proposing a standard for content delivery based on this talk from Coursera . I’ll blog about this next.
In the most recent Heartbeat, I consulted with Mozilla’s Diversity & Inclusion lead Larissa Shapiro, and others championing the discussion , about a strategy for D&I in Participation. I’m really excited and passionate about this work, and even though this is very, very early (this is only a plan for a strategy), I wanted to share now for the opportunity of gathering the most feedback.
Note: I’m using screenshots from a presentation, but have included the actual text in image alt-tags for accessibility.
Right now the proposed ‘Plan for a Strategy’ as three phases:
Designing a strategy for D&I will have some unique challenges. We know this. To get started we need to understand where we are now, who we are, why we are as we are — and what attitudes and practices exist that enhance, or restrict our ability to effectively bring in, and sustain the participation of diverse groups.
The first phase is all about gaining insights into these and other important questions through focus groups, interviews and – and existing data.
Insight gathering and research will be focused in these key areas:
By Phase 2 – we’ll have formed a number of important hypothesis for influencing D&I in investment areas aligned with Mozilla’s overall D&I strategy. Investment areas are currently proposed to be:
Experimentation is critical to developing a D&I Strategy for Participation. And although it’s identified here as a single ‘phase’, I envision experimentation, learning and iterating on what we learn – to be THE process of building a diverse and inclusive Participation at Mozilla.
Here’s the current timeline:
Feedback on this plan – Ongoing, but especially useful leading up to December 5th
Phase 1 – Gaining Insights. Begins the week of November 14th leading into the Mozilla All Hands meeting in December.
Phase 2 – Early Experiment Design -Mozilla All Hands Meeting in December.
Phase 2 – Experiment Design & Implementation – Remainder of of 2016 into 2017.
Phase 3 – Strategy Development – 2017.
I would love to hear your ideas, concerns, feedback on this ‘proposal’ which WILL itself evolve.
Mozilla Campus Clubs @ Grace Hopper Open Source Day
Open Source Day at Grace Hopper was my absolute, most favourite, ‘conference thing’ I did last year, and it was with little hesitation that I got involved again for the 2016 version.
Before I say anymore I want to acknowledge the amazing work of two volunteers in making our day successful.
Semirah Dolan, who joined me in Houston to run a session that build a VR activity for Campus Clubs, and who truly leads by example — student leadership and activism in open source.
Safwan Rahman, who (no exaggeration) saved my day, by pulled together a Python project, working with me to the last minute to get it right.
Also thanks to my colleague Larissa Shapiro for bringing her wisdom and empathy into the discussion & brainstorming portion of the program.
This year we brought Campus Clubs for contribution. Unlike last year, where we jumped right into code, we spent time talking about Mozilla, our mission and Campus Clubs — and introduced three problem statements for the day.
Opportunities & Barriers: What makes a good open source experience?
How do we design a program that is inclusive of technical AND non-technical people?
What incentivizes students on Campus to engage in clubs at the intersection of technology and activism?
As a group, we did some rapid brainstorming to identify who on campus would be interested in FOSS participation. We were fortunate with this group , to have mostly students and also a professor who includes Mozilla participation in her curriculum!
What emerged where 5 distinct audiences: Wide-eyed Freshman (not spoken for yet), Professors /Lab Techs, Other Clubs, Non-technical majors(business, language-arts, journalism, bio-medical engineer) and of course computer science students.
Next — we did some rapid brainstorming on motive, and incentive for getting and saying involved in Open Source.
Employment and ‘Doing Good’ surfaced as the primary motivation with some interesting considerations like ‘Connecting with like-minded people’, fun and skill building surfaced by many. Swag(t-shirts) received only one mention.
We did the same exercise — this time thinking about barriers, and deterrents for FOSS participation.
Lack of invitation, opportunity, familiarity and clarity in HOW to get involved — topped the list of barriers. ‘Lack of Confidence’ (shy, scared, intimidation) was identified by the majority of participants.
Another trend focused on poor response times, limited diversity, and unwelcome channels .
I suspected many women were speaking of their own experiences. I have no doubt that young women do feel scared, and intimidated just stepping through the front door.
Getting involved in clubs with goals intersecting both technology and advocacy seems to resonate on a number of levels : skillbuilding, ‘trying something new’, innovation, mentorship and fun.
I put a heart around a ‘ship it’ postit — not knowing exactly the context — loved the idea of getting things done as a motivation for joining clubs!
What did we build?
We asked people to join in one of two groups: The first focused on building our Personas into a Python/Django framework (for the coders in the room). I kept this project super simple, given the codeathon only given the limited time, and the majority of work was setting up Python locally, and updating Python code for the template we created.
The second, non-technical activity focused on building a VR activity for Campus Clubs using Mozilla’s AFrame. The group identified a Person (Dr. Database), and a VR project they might want to build: ‘Wire your iOven before it explodes’. They documented the opportunities, barriers and workshops that might form a VR activity for clubs and submitted their work as a PR.
The VR activity led by Semirah was a hit, probably more for how excited people were to learn about AFrame — one participant pledging excitement to home and learn and play more with VR. I think that was the win of the day — seeing participants recognize the potential of the technology they were working with — a signal that bringing AFrame VR activities to Campus will inspire creativity and innovation for the open web.
Overall, I think the day went well. Although the ‘timing’ of the event could have been better — scheduled exactly at the same time as the Open Source track was problematic for many (myself included) who would have liked to attend or chaired those sessions. Many participants did leave for sessions, or for interviews setup in the career fair. I was happy to see everyone return as well though.
As with last year, the most compelling part of the day was meeting, and working along side a group of smart, smart women — this time on the cause of mobilizing students on campus for the open web.
This is #3 of 5 posts I had in draft state for a few months, that I decided finish up & post. Here’s hoping my research helps others. I started writing this in May.
“Inessential weirdness of open source”
This term (crediting to Katrina Owen at Github) perfectly describes a conundrum of open participation, whereby we hold onto symbols, processes, and idiosyncrasies of open source in a mix of nostalgia, delusion and … I’m going to say it – arrogance , as the primary (nearly holy) measures of ‘being open’ in community building .
‘But’ve always done x’, is a very common response to change in open communities. Whereby we unintentionally (yet deliberately) avoid change because we believe that that purity of ‘open’ is the only way to innovate further . We even avoid change despite huge potential to grow more diverse and healthy open communities – because… there are slivers of non-open. gah!
Two years ago I ran the ‘Open Hatch Comes To Campus’ workshop at the University of Victoria. I spent 1.5 hours teaching people the skills they needed to ultimately… type ‘hello’ on an IRC channel.. Our workshop implied IRC was a critical doorway, and on-ramp to participation in open source. Saying hello, asking for help – with an instructors guidance: 1.5 hours. What?
I’ve often heard project maintainers say, that obtuse processes like these actually help ensure the success of those who are truly seriousabout contribution. As if asking basic questions is a holy grail of volunteering- one where only those willing to waste ridiculous amounts of time on discombobulated, obtuse processes and tools are worthy of participation. I call bullshit on any process that makes connecting with others, in an ‘open project’ – an obstacle.
“open and accessible doesn’t beat usable and intelligent”
In the last couple of years we’ve seen open communities faced with an interesting choice of using tools that work really well for working open, but are not themselves open. Github being the most obvious example. Similarly I’ve also followed the Open Data communities use of + Slack + Slackin!
Still in the voice of nostalgia asking us to remember our legacy IRC.
Anyway….what exactly do we need our community software to do? Here’s a short list I used when measuring chat solutions (and sure I am missing things)
Open source – I want the ability to inspect, and improve-on software we use for community conversation, and to propose improvement via pull requests.
Data is discover-able via web search. So much success of ‘open’ is that people can stumble on conversations that push innovation further.
Open Conversations – no login or registration required. Anyone can ‘lurk’.
Easy to grasp & intuitive – Lets not ask newbies to install software to ask for help. Lets’ not expect that contributors are technical contributors.
Github feed (my own requirement, that everyone can see new issues, and comments they subscribe to).
A clever human-connection setup should allow new contributors an ability to answer these questions with some clarity:
Who is here?
Am I welcome here?
What’s happening in this community?
How can I contribute?
How do I ask for help?
With this criteria, and questions in mind, here are the results of those I researched for education contributors at Mozilla:
Mattermost – Has potential, but seems unfinished, and little ‘alpha’. Without installing myself ,I couldn’t figure out how to enable a Github feed.
Gitter – I discovered this when looking around Free Code Club. I liked the UI, and possibilities for multiple channels easily toggled, searchable and friendly. Plugins tend to be more developer-friendly, which was a drawback for non-technical contribution – but not a show stopper. Has a great search option for communities. Chat rooms are associated with Github Repos, which has huge potential for building communities around projects and initiatives.
I think Gitter is doing with Github, what Github should be doing for Github projects interested in nurturing participation.
Discord – I found found Reactiflux development via Facebook React’s repo, but was nervous about jumping in. Seems more like a team project, than community. I found it intimidating, especially with voice, and it wasn’t clear what preferences where. Quickly left.
I revisited this after comments were left about this project portal being community organized (as it had been months since I was there). Aside from struggling to switch login/register status, I do have to say it’s a very easy to lurk into – and has desktop versions (it seems I didn’t have a lot of time to test). I’m not clear on how discover able conversations are outside of this app, but the community has set things up very well to ask questions in a number of ways (which is awesome). Still on the fence about voice chat, but maybe that’s because it’s harder to stay gender-anonymous with voice. Thanks for the comment that made me take another look Mark!
Rocketchat – It’s open source, it looks great – it has the potential to do what Gitter is doing for communities, but it feels very single-instance and Slack-replacement focused. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful, very capable of being a good alternative but I want more – I want ‘open’ feel like more than code. If I had to choose an alternative it would be this one.
Rivr – I couldn’t find inspiration other than free, and not-Slack. Guessing it’s a great alternative too.
Slack should be thought of as first generation example of how community might meet, connect with participation and community, but not as a template, and not as a ‘bar’ that we now try to replicate openly. Reactiflux community has also demonstrated that a cohesive collection of support vrs any one solution is often the best way to go as well.
It’s time we prioritized connection of humans ‘ in the open’- lets end the inessential weirdness of open source.
This is #2 of 5 ‘Draft’ posts I identified as worth wrapping-up vrs. ‘forever a draft’ status.
I wrote this post in April-ish, based on notes I took attempting to reach my goal to contribute to 10 open source projects by July. Some unexpected challenges in my life made this goal impossible, but I still learned a lot… maybe next year.
In January, I set a personal goal of contributing to 10 open source projects by July. A research project of sort, I wanted uncover tools, processes, community engagement, and unknown magic existing beyond my own knowledge and experience. By exploring and researching the modern day experience of contributing to open source, I imagined I could get much better at designing for, and teaching it…
I pledged to myself that I would be select a projects where I could answer the following questions
“I can understand the value of the project on things I care about”.
“I can see how my time might help impact the outcome of that project’s goals, however small”.
Walk a Mile, See a Mile.
I also promised myself, that I would release all arrogance, bias and (most) opinions of how a project might be setup. I adopted “Walk a Mile, See a Mile” to remind myself that the journey towards designing better for people, means being open for what comes next – I would grow with the experience.
In this, my first three months of contributing I’ve already had plenty of adventure.
Searching & Finding
My search started leveraging Github ‘Trending Repositories‘ – something I’ve heard recommended for new contributors. The search is limited to filter for language, which already limits this function to technical contribution – which is too bad.
Suggestion to Github – allow projects to tag their repositories with types of contribution available.
Suggest to Github – define ‘Trending’, or limit results. Wasting time on a dead or old project isn’t a good experience.
Finally, to fulfill my goal of ‘understanding the value’ of a project I am limited to project descriptions, which was hard.
Suggest to Github – provide optional description that states value of project for contributors, or FOSS projects agree on a CONTRIBUTE.MD standard field any query on the web can pull from (omitting Github as a search). We really need better standards for participation. Blarg.
I went through a lot of repos, opting to select only one from Trending, and the rest from referrals or personal interest, which shows you how much we still suck in OS at surfacing projects people can find in their own. I’ve landed on these 5 to start:
I am familiar with many technology stacks, and debugging but I have so far found myself stuck on obscure issues that even the most helpful people can’t get me over in a short period of time. Thinking of limiting build-problems to max of 6 hours before abandoning project. Main reason I seem to get stuck – outdated docs, missing dependencies, or worst (in one situation) building the WRONG environment because Google search brought me to an outdated wiki that had not been noted as so…
I’ve called these out before. A good first task should not look like this. Remove this label when it’s not longer true. Good first tasks are basic like – changing an error message, or debugging CSS alignment.
‘Help-wanted’ tags aren’t enough to invite new contributors – I needed to see ‘beginner, quick task, or something similar’. Maybe I have less patience than others.
Non-Technical Contribution Is Hard to Find
Really, really difficult to imagine the ways you can help if the project is not specifically about that skill. There’s an entirely different highway for non-technical contributors, and that sucks especially if you are interested in both.
I realize if I wanted to contribute in other ways, that would be different research altogether.
Good Documentation & Support
Free Code Camp has a great contribution page – and I LOVED their Gitter had help commands that allowed people to learn more about contributing, and that they have a specific chat just for contribution which is less intimidating than joining a project team chat head-down in a crisis. I know IRC does this, as well, but IRC is a blocker for many.
I LOVED finding this post ‘Diving into Rust’ from community-member Flaki. Describing ‘use cases’ really compelled me to get more involved in a project that had felt a bit abstract to me still. Found via Google-search. I found this page on Rust documentation a bit too much for getting, although I expect it’s a great resource to come back to.
Again, chat channels not forums were my go-to for project questions.
Code of Conduct Matters
Seeing a code of conduct, like the ones in exercism.io and rust made me feel welcome, not just because it’s there, but because the community decided it should be. I’m glad Jekyll had a COC, but without a clear path for resolution, other than project maintainer – it felt only half-way there. There are people much better than me to review CoC but I’ll say personally, I prefer to know who is behind an alias as well.
And that’s what I’ve learned, and experienced so far. Next post will dive deeper into evaluation of chat channels.
Open Has Walls
An update on one other project, I am very interested in (eventually) lending my skills to beyond this experiment is with #OpenCancer. Creative Commons has joined forces with Moonshot to end cancer in our lifetime. The simple question of ‘how can I help scientists, and others using my technology/open/participation/data skills hasn’t yet been answered. Is open science limited to teaching researchers, or is there a bigger movement to get the rest of us involved? I hope so in this case. Another research project perhaps.
I realize .. we’re only really at the beginning of making participation in open projects feel as accessible for everyone. Its hard climbing the walls of open some days, but we’ll get there.
This is #1 of 5 posts I identified as perhaps, being worth finishing and sharing. Writing never feels finished, and it’s a vulnerable thing… to share ideas – but perhaps better than never sharing them at all?
I wrote most of this post in April of this year (making this outdated with the current work of the Participation Team), thinking about ways the learning format of the Leadership Summit in Singapore could evolve into a valuable tool for community leadership development and credentialing. Community Leadership Passport(s) perhaps…
As you can see, the structure ensured that everyone experienced learning outcomes of the entire framework, while still providing choice in what felt most relevant, exciting or interesting in their personal development. You can find some of this content here.
I started wondering..
How might we evolve the schedule design and content into a format for leadership development that also provides real world credentials?
I don’t think the answer is to take this schedule and make it a static ‘course’ or offering, I don’t think it is about ‘event in box’, but I do think there’s something in using the framework to enforce quality leadership development, while giving power to what people want to learn, and how they prefer to learn.
Really, this is about creating a mechanism for helping people build leadership credentials in a way that intersects what they want to learn and do, and what the project needs. It could be used for anything from developing strong mentors, to project leads in areas like IoT and Rust, to governance and diversity & inclusion. Imagining Passports with 3 attributes:
Experience – Taking action, completing tasks, generating experiences associated with learning and project outcomes. Should be clear, and feel doable without too much detail.
Mozilla Content – Completing a course either developed by, or approved as Mozilla content. These could be online, or in person events.
Learner Choice – Encouraging exploration, and learning that feels valuable, interesting and fun – but with some guidelines for topics, outcomes and likely recommendations to make things easier. For example, some people might want to complete a Coursera Course on IOT and Embedded systems, while others might prefer a ‘learning by doing’ approach via YouTube channels.
Something like a Leadership Passport would obviously require more thought in implementation, tracking and issuing certification. It could also be used to test and evolve Leadership Framework. I prefer it over a participation ladder because it feels less prescriptive in ‘how’ we step up as leaders and more supportive of ways want to learn and lead — and ultimately help us recognize and invest in emerging leaders sooner.
The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing feels a bit like a mirage for any computing faculty member who has been involved in trying to increase the number of women majoring in computing. Our efforts tend to produce very modest results, so going to Hopper feels somewhat disorienting. There really are large numbers of […]
Earlier this month a group of people met in Berlin to imagine and design Mozfest 2016.
Blending inspiration and ideas from open news, science, localization, youth, connected devices and beyond – we spent three glorious days collaborating and building a vision of a Mozfest like no other.
The Participation team emerged from this experience with a new vision for Mozillian participation we’re calling ‘Mozfest Space* Contributors’. Roles designed to bring success on the goals of every space in the building. This is a very different approach from recent years where our focus has been more participatory as facilitators, helpers and learners. With this new approach, we’re inviting contribution, ownership and responsibility in shaping the event. Super, super exciting – I hope you agree!
Exploring the potential of contributor roles within Spaces, we found amazing potential! Open Science imagined a ‘Science Translator’ role – helping people overcome scientific jargon to connect with ideas. The Web Literacy group has big plans for their physical space, one where a ‘Set Designer’ would be incredibly helpful in making those dreams come true.
Open News, and others thought about ‘Help Desk’ leads, and more than one space has suggested that the addition of technical mentors and session translators would bring diversity and connection. Can you see yet why this will be amazing?
Outreach for contributors this year will be focused squarely on finding people with the skills, passion, vision and a commitment to supporting these spaces. In many cases roles will be a key part of planning in the months leading up to Mozfest.
Also – we’re already piloting this very idea! having recently selecting Priyanka Nag and Mayur Patil to be part of the Participation team’s Mozfest planning. I’m so grateful for their help and leadership in making this a fantastic experience for wranglers and contributors alike.
On July 15th we’ll post all available roles, and launch the application process. You can find an FAQ here.
Sponsorship from the Participation Team for Mozfest 2016 will be for these roles only. The call for the proposals will be run by the MozFest organizers who will have a limited number of travel stipends available through that separate process.
* Space – an area of Mozfest with content and space built and activated under a certain theme (like Open Science, Youth Zone and Web Literacy)
* Space Wrangler – Person organizing and building a space at Mozilla
One of the readers of this blog has suggested the following website for teachers who want to encourage their students to do educational blogging:
Teaching Blogs 2016: How to Benefit Your Students, Your Peers, and Your Pocketbook, by Starting an Educational Class Blog
Author: Matthew Kaboomis Loomis
I have been to this blog and I certainly agree with the reader that it is a really useful website for teachers who want to encourage their students to use blogs.
Here are the contents of this website:
Part 1 Here are some benefits of doing blogging:
1. Connection with other experts 2. Teaching blogs makes students more active 3. Encourages writing among participants 4. Built-in archiving, and its benefits on critical thought 5. Peer pressure — the positive kind
Part 2 Incorporating your teaching blogs into your current teaching strategy: 1. Find ways to encourage collaboration 2. Use the blog as a classroom portal 3. Promote active learning
Part 3 1. Developing a Public Internet Blog 2. Free education 3. Enhanced and higher level programs
Part 4 Teaching Blogs to Draw Inspiration From 1. Websites of the Day by Larry Ferlazzo 2. MindShift: How We Will Learn 3. Ozge Karaoglu 4. KidBlog
Part 5 Now it’s Time to Start YOURS Some advices on building your own blog
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Conference title: International Conference on Open and Flexible Education
Date: 6 - 8 July 2016
Venue: Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
The theme for the Third International Conference on Open and Flexible Education (ICOFE 2016) is 'Innovative Pedagogy and Technology', featuring creative pedagogical practices to enhance open and flexible learning and novel use of technologies in educational contexts. It will explore the possibilities of new approaches and means of pedagogy for learning in a wider range of places and times. The conference encourages sharing of research and practices concerning teaching and ways to meet the needs of various types of learners, as well as for better or more effective processes, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by those in charge of education such as teachers, educators or policy makers.
Subthemes of the conference include the following:
1. Pedagogical innovations; 2. Innovations in educational technology; 3. Innovations in curriculum development; 4. Mobile and ubiquitous learning; 5. Engaging students and learning design; 6. Social media and technology-mediated learning communities; and 7. Open educational resources and MOOCs.
Providing conference childcare isn’t difficult or expensive, and it makes a huge difference for parents of young children who might want to come. If your community wants to (visibly!) support work-life balance and family obligations — which, by the way, still disproportionately impact women — I urge you to look into providing event childcare. I don’t have kids myself — but a lot of my friends do, and someday I might. I’ve seen too many talented colleagues silently drop out of the conference scene and fade out of the community because they needed to choose between logistics for the family they loved and logistics for the work they loved — and there are simple things we can do to make it easier for them to stay.
A good number of conferences have already started offering free or low-cost childcare on-site, and Above All Human is one of them. (Above All Human also used a Code of Conduct, another simple way to shift conference culture towards inclusivity and diversity.)
I talked with Scott Handsaker, one of the conference organizers, to ask how they set it up. It was easy. There was an existing daycare facility nearby, so trained staff, equipment, space, and insurance were all taken care of. All Scott had to do was negotiate the price, which ended up being $30 per child. Out of 1,000 people in attendance, roughly 10-15 used childcare, for a total price tag of $300-$450 per day.
The resulting slew of publicity was tremendous. Scott mentioned they were late in organizing childcare — too late to advertise it on the conference website — so they only had a little time to message via email and social media. Even so, childcare was the #1 thing people tweeted about leading up to the conference. (“This [twitter search] nowhere near captures the volume of tweets or the sentiment,” Scott wrote.) In fact, that’s how I found out about Above All Human in the first place — a former classmate raving about childcare on social media. This is the sort of exposure you want for your event, brand, and community. Financing conference childcare was snapped up by Slack as a low-cost, high-impact, high-visibility corporate sponsorship opportunity.
If your conference location doesn’t have childcare on-site, talk with nearby childcare providers or a local college with an education/teacher-training program. You’re looking for care providers with training in early childhood education or some similarly related field, medical knowledge (CPR/AED etc), and enough experience to take care of insurance and logistics, which often involves negotiating directly with the hotel or other conference location about space and setup.
Right now, determined conference committee members can pull something together for their own event by taking advantage of resources like these, as well as tapping into the informal network of conference organizers who’ve coordinated childcare in the past. However, that network can be hard to find — so as more and more events attempt to do this, we can share notes and work to make it easier. A great next step would be to compile more writeups about the childcare-at-conferences process and to list events that have had it and are willing to talk with other events who are interested. Eventually, we could create a series of templates and guides for how to email daycare providers, how to advertise, what insurance to secure, and so forth. If you know of existing resources or efforts, please let me know and I’ll add them to this post.
"Have you ever wanted to store the data collected from any learning environment in a standardised way but did not know how? Look no further, you are in the right place now! After working with xAPI for several years, we have compiled a registry of xAPI specifications for learning activities to support and highlight the consistent usage of xAPI recipes in the educational domain."
Last year, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and my life was pretty much flipped upside down for awhile. One thing I immediately set out to do was to find software, preferably open source, that would help me get on track and have an improved health outcome.
There was a lot of software out there but I did not find any that aligned with my needs as a person with diabetes. Instead, I found a lot of mobile apps and software built by companies that put profit first and were not driven by the needs of people with diabetes.
Right then I came up with the idea to start an open source project that made cross-platform apps (iOS, Android, Desktop, Web etc) with the focus of improving the health outcomes of people with diabetes and supporting research. But there were already two great open source projects out there like Nightscout and Tidepool, so why start our own?
Simply put, I wanted to do something different as I’ve seen this great divide in the diabetes community where not only are things like communities, podcasts and advocates divided around what type of diabetes a person has, but also the two open source projects out there were focused only on people with Type 1 diabetes. This is problematic because Type 2 diabetes is left outside of these intentional Type 1 diabetes circles when we should be working together to solve both types of diabetes and pooling our resources together to advocate for an end to both types of diabetes.
And so Glucosio was born with the vision that an app was needed that benefits both people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Not focusing on one or the other, but instead giving equal energy to features that will benefit both types. Our vision was that this new open source project will unite people who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes or know someone who does to contribute to the project and in turn help accelerate research for both types while at the same time helping those with diabetes keep track of things that affect their health outcomes.
Last year was a lot of work for the entire Glucosio team. We worked hard to build awesome open source software for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and we pulled it off. Glucosio for Android is the first of our diabetes apps you can download today but we also have Glucosio for iOS and Glucosio for Web and an API for researchers that are all being actively worked on.
It is our hope to also have a cross-platform desktop app (OSX, Windows and Linux) in the future as more contributors join to contribute.
Introduction: In 2011, several well-known authors wrote a concept paper on Open Learning Analytics (.pdf). Their goal was to create openness as a foundation for the use of data and analytics in education.
Here are some details of this concept paper:
Title: Open Learning Analytics: an integrated & modularized platform Proposal to design, implement and evaluate an open platform to integrate heterogeneous learning analytics techniques
Authors: George Siemens & Dragan Gasevic Athabasca University, Canada
Caroline Haythornthwaite & Shane Dawson University of British Columbia, Canada
Simon Buckingham Shum & Rebecca Ferguson Open University, United Kingdom
Erik Duval & Katrien Verbert Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Ryan S. J. d. Baker Worcester Polytechnic Institute, United States
Pengalam cara daftar dan membuat akun WhatsApp - Sebagai pengguna android, sobat tentu tidak ingin ketinggalan informasi aplikasi yang penting dan terpopuler. salah satunya adalah aplikasi sosial media whatsApp yang begitu populer di kalangan penguna android. jika sobat saat ini masih menggunakan panggilan via GSM/CDMA ada baiknya sobat mencoba panggilan via jaringan internet. lebih murah dan
Using open source approaches, concepts, and technologies, we collaboratively worked with a team of nineteen WMU students over the course of a semester to guide them as they made decisions, chose technologies, and developed the website according to client specifications and input. Students worked within an agile development environment much like they would encounter in the real-world and were encouraged to make their own decisions to meet project expectations.
Students (and the instructor) learned quite a bit about FOSS approaches over the course of a semester. Our project was featured in the latest WMU Haworth College of Businessnewsletter and may appear elsewhere.
The actual implementation of the recommended site is currently on hold. However, a paper is in the works, so please watch for it. I’ll make sure to provide an update here.
Many thanks to the folks at Red Hat and POSSE for making this happen for our students.
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From the official website of SkillsFuture at https://www.skillsfuture.sg:
"SkillsFuture is a national movement to enable all Singaporeans to develop to their fullest potential throughout life. Whichever stage of life you are in, whether you are in your schooling years, early career, mid-career or silver years, SkillsFuture will enable you to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities – to help you realise your aspirations and attain mastery of skills.
At a national level, SkillsFuture will play an important part in charting Singapore's next phase of development towards an advanced economy and inclusive society. Every individual’s skill, passion and contribution counts.
With the help of the SkillsFuture Council, education and training providers, employers, unions – you can own a better future with skills mastery and lifelong learning. Your skills. Your asset. Your future."
Preparing to teach a class where you “don’t know the material” is tricky, especially when the thing is so big and so vast that you can never truly be an “expert” in it. If you think about expertise as knowing all the things, that is. If you think of expertise as the ability to be productively lost, that changes the entire game — the trick is how to help your students get through the same sort of territory.
I don’t have an overarching framework of strategies, but we do have a few things to share from the Teaching Open Source world. I wish we had a better write-up of our overall philosophy, but it wasn’t sufficiently developed (that’s something I’d love to work on with others… later… after… thesis…) but you can infer a bunch from some of our artifacts, so here you go, in order of least interesting to most interesting in my heavily biased opinion.
1. We have generic project-helpful activities.
We have a number of learning activites that (1) are highly likely to be useful for students regardless of what project topic they are on and (2) have clear criteria for successful completion, aka they are assessable. Analogous college-type things might be stuff like “make a test plan for your object” or “determine the appropriate formulae for predicting the behavior of your material” (I’m obviously making these examples up in a domain — materials science — I don’t know much about).
We also have activities that are walkthroughs of specific skills/tools common to most projects, often on a known setup (in the case below, a dummy server). This would be things like “do this intro exercise to use the Instron for the first time with our pre-cut samples.”
3. We have activities about critiquing the work of others (not other students in the class — this is not about peer assessment).
Moving into more interesting stuff: we also have activities that are about looking at other people’s work — not making new things, but critiquing existing things, to start developing a sense of how experts see things. In college, that might be: “Look at these pages from 3 lab journals, compare/critique; what makes the good ones good, the bad ones suboptimally helpful?” The reason it’s not peer critique is that you want to curate the examples to be rich and to have a range of things you can pull out in the discussion. (For those of you with qualitative research backgrounds, you can think of this as artifact analysis.)
4. We have resources (not just live demos) that lay out expert thinking.
We have think-alouds, where (more) experienced people demo their thought process being “productively lost” and then unpack it to newcomers, so they can start comparing metacognitive strategies. Every time you think out loud to students with their project, you’re doing this — but sometimes making artifacts is helpful, too. Also, accessibility is super-important for this… if you’re making videos, caption them. If you’re including images, describe them, and so forth. (My images are screenshots of the linked webpages, so I didn’t put image descriptions.)
The Flipped Contribution model is one that removes the project as the center of participation design and instead focuses on developing a strong, skill-set-specific, contributor-led community serving multiple projects.
They’re building the opportunity for projects to get involved with them. They’re building the community they want to see in the world.
Our most recent NSF proposal was funded! In September we heard that our project, “OpenPath – Improving Student Pathways to Computing Professions via Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software”, had been funded. This is a collaborative grant with Nassau Community College, Drexel University and Muhlenberg College. The focus of the grant is to create a pathway of course materials and activities that involve students in HFOSS. The activities span from freshman through senior year with the goal of producing open-source-ready students upon graduation. The effort builds on collaborative relationships with the Red Hat University Outreach team , the GNOME Accessibility team, and the OpenHatch project.
Most recently we had a meeting of the minds between FOSS community members and academics to start to figure out what knowledge and skills students need to gain during their academic career in order to be productive FOSS community members. Participants included:
While the need for students to gain technical skills such as version control and coding were obvious, I found it interesting that one of the main themes that occurred during the meeting was the need for students to gain soft skills. The need for students to become proficient in communication, problem solving, and critical thinking became apparent throughout the meeting. Another observation was the need for students to understand open source communities in general and to have the skills to navigate individual communities. Thank you to everyone who participated and we will continue to build on what we learned from the meeting.
"One of the most popular theories that inform pedagogy is Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory. This theory posits the existence of seven different areas of intelligence that characterize the learning style one is more comfortable with. The visual below provides a very great overview of these 7 learning styles. If you want to learn more about Howard's multiple intelligences theory I would highly recommend his seminal work "Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice"."
Each of these present a creative and fun challenge, both in content and format (1 hour workshops). There are both very small, and larger chunks of work depending on your background and time. When we’re done these will be shared for the world to use as well.
I can probably do a much better job of framing the opportunity in Github, and thus grateful for suggestions to improve the outline next time. Always Learning!
In the first 6 months of 2016, I have a personal goal of contributing code to 10 Open Source Projects. I’m looking for projects with potential to teach us how to design for the success of contributors, like myself, who bring intermediate to advanced skill-sets and experience.
I’ll be contributing code under another name, ala Secret Shopper, and sharing what I learn in a July post.
I am looking for nominations for Open Source projects that:
Are available on the web using web technologies.
Have a released version of their software
Have an existing community, or set of core contributors.
Want to improve their contributor design for intermediate and experienced developers.
Feel they have something they can teach others about community design.
Invested in increasing diversity of their contributor base.
Bonus: ‘Open’ Education focus.
What projects will get:
One or more code contributions from me – I can’t promise they’ll be valuable, but I’ll do my best;)
Review of the experience (which is the actual contribution)
Inclusion in a blog post with my findings(in July)
What I hope for myself:
Emerge with a set of best practices for projects who want to help intermediate and experienced developers successfully join their project as contributors.
A User story of an experienced developer attempting to join a new community, through a first contribution.
New and fresh understanding for the experience of stepping into a project as a new code contributor.
If you would like to nominate a project – please do so in comments.
Our core team and contributors have much to be proud about reflecting on the work we did in the past few months. While there are many things to be proud of, I think one of the biggest accomplishments was we built an open source project and released a product to Google Play in under four months. We then went on to do four more releases and are growing our user base internationally on a daily basis.
We have had an astounding amount of coveragefrom themedia about the vision we have for Glucosio and how we can use open source software to not only help people with diabetes improve their outcomes but further research through anonymous crowdsourcing.
I’m proud of the work our core team has put in over the past few months and excited what the new year has in store for us as a project. One big change next year is we will be formally be under the leadership of a non-profit foundation (Glucosio Foundation) which should help us be more organized but also have the financial and legal structure we need to grow as a project and deliver on our vision.
I’ve been able to meet and talk with third parties like Dexcom, Nightscout Foundation and many others including individual developers, researchers and other foundations who are very interested in the work we are pioneering and are interested in partnering, supporting or collaborating with Glucosio.
One exciting thing we hope to kick off in the New Year are Diabetes Hack Days, where organizers around the world can host hack days in their community to get people to come together to hack on software and hardware projects that will spur new innovation and creativity around diabetes technology. Most importantly though, we are very excited to launch our API to researchers next year so they can begin extracting anonymized data from our platform to help further their diabetes research.
We also look forward to releasing Glucosio for iOS in the first quarter of 2016 which has had a lot of interest and been under development for a couple months now.
In closing, we would like to invite developers, translators, and anyone else to get in touch and get connected with our project and start contributing to the vision we have of amazing open source software to help people with diabetes. We’d also ask you to consider a donation to the project, which will help us in our launch of our iOS in Q1 of 2016, and help us more rapidly produce features by offering bounties via BountySource and expand into a more mature open source project.
There is clearly great sadness felt in the open source community today after learning of the passing of Ian Murdock who founded the Debian Linux Distribution and was the first Debian Project Leader. Ian is the “ian” in Debian and Deb, his then-girlfriend (Debra Lynn) for those not familiar with the history of the naming of the project.
I was fortunate to meet Ian Murdock some years ago at an early Linux Conference (LinuxWorld) and it was very inspiring to hear him talk about open source and open culture. I feel still today that he was one of the many people who helped shape my own direction and contributions in open source. Ian was very passionate about open source and helped create the bricks (philosophy, vision, governance, practice) that power many open source projects today.
If it were not for Ian, we would not have many of the great Debian forks we have today including the very popular Ubuntu. There is no doubt that the work he did and his contributions to the early days of open source have had an impact across many projects and losing Ian at such a young age is a tragedy.
That said, I think the circumstances around Ian’s death are quite concerning as we have seen the tweets he made. I do hope that if Ian suffered excessive force at the hands of the San Francisco Police Department that justice will eventually be served.
I hope that we can all reflect on the values that Ian championed and the important work that he did and celebrate his contributions, which have had a very large and positive impact on computing.
While working on support for FreeBSD’s extended attributes in
I tried to be conscious of other implementations of extended attributes in
different operating systems, that way I wouldn’t be inadvertently causing the
sane problem that I was trying to fix: reliance on a particular API’s
What are extended attributes?
To put it very simply, extended attributes are metadata that are attached to
files. Typically, they’re key/value pairs that the filesystem associates with
a particular file on the filesystem, though that doesn’t always have to be the
How they’re implemented depends on both the filesystem, as well as the
operating system. This means that implementations on the same filesystem (UFS,
for example) can be complete incompatible across operating systems (Solaris
Extended attributes are not mandated by any standard. The tooling and APIs
are quite different across operating systems and some operating systems (OpenBSD, HP-UX)
don’t implement them at all. Because support is non-standard and spotty,
it’s rare to see them used in cross-platform software. I’d be super-interested
in seeing some counter-examples to this.
Extended attributes are sometimes namespaced. That is to say, there exists
some top-level grouping of attributes. Other than the top-level namespace,
there usually isn’t hierarchy to attributes, other than any arbitrary
user-defined hierarchy. Namespaces are usually system and user, although
this isn’t necessarily consistent, as we’ll see. Extended attributes under the
system namespace are only modifiable by root (and sometimes only queriable
The linux API is actually a fairly nice one, and for the rest of this post I’m
going to use it as my point of comparison. The return values of the getxattr and
listxattr functions are the total size of the attribute, not the size of
the data returned. This lends itself to a nice idiom for checking whether or
not truncation occurred:
If value is NULL in a call to getxattr or listxattr, the size of
the buffer required to hold the contents of the EA will be returned. This
allows you to query the amount of space required to hold the return value,
allocate it, and then call the function again to populate that. That’s
unfortunately racey, so it’s preferable to call and then realloc if
Linux extended attributes are namespaced, and the namespace is specified as
part of the attribute name. Namespaces are separated from attribute names by a
.. Currently, they support the common system and user namespaces, as
well as security and trusted.
It’s important to note that listxattr will never retrun EPERM. If there
are EAs that the current user cannot access, they just won’t be returned.
The attribute list returned by listxattr is NULL-delimited, and all of the
attribute names returned by listxattrare fully-qualified.
It seems funny that I’m going to talk about AIX’s interface right after
linux’s, but that’s largely because it’s…almost exactly the same.
Just like linux, getea and listea return the size of the actual attribute
value, which makes checking for truncation super easy. They also support
getting called with a zero size, which will just return the size of the list or
attribute value without writing any data to value.
The only key difference is that is that they use the character 0xF8 to
separate the namespace from the attribute name. So querying for system
attributes involves querying the name 0xF8SYSTEM0xF8attr.
There’s also the statea family of functions, which will fill in a
struct stat64x, but that’s of little consequence to us here.
FreeBSD / NetBSD
FreeBSD and NetBSD both use the same functions for the extended attribute
calls. The most obvious difference is that the attribute namespace is no
longer part of the attribute name. Each namespace is defined as an constant,
and must be passed separately.
Almost seemingly as a result of this difference, extattr_list can now error with
EPERM, rather than hiding the attribute names that the caller doesn’t have
The other, more annoying difference, is the return value of the extattr_get
and extattr_list functions. Rather than behaving like linux, AIX or OS X,
they instead return the number of bytes written, making truncation detection
harder. This basically requires that you make two calls if you want to ensure
that no truncation will occur.
OS X differs in a few ways. Notably, their functions all take an options arg.
Rather than calling an entirely different function to prevent following
symlinks, you can pass the XATTR_NOFOLLOW to prevent traversing symlinks.
Another, fairly curious difference is the position argument that’s part of
the prototype for getxattr. To really get a handle on this, we’re going to
dive into the wonderful world of forks.
Forks are kind of like having multiple datastreams for the same file. The data
that we typically think of being stored in a file is dumped into one fork (in
the case of Mac OS, the data fork) and metadata, resources or any other type
of data could exist in other forks, wholly independent.
On Mac OS filesystems (MFS, HFS, HFS+), each file could have at least a
resource fork for the purpose of storing resources about a given file. This
was used for things like splitting up icons that Finder would use to represent
a file, or for separating presentation and content of text documents.
HFS+ (maybe HFS too? I’m not sure) allowed for any number of named forks.
Back to OS X
Extended attributes on OS X are actually just named forks. The extended
attribute API wholly supplanted the old resource manager API.
To ensure that applications could seek to arbitrary points in a
fork, OS X’s extended attribute API includes a position argument.
getxattr is similar to Linux, in that it returns the size of the attribute’s
data, not just the number of bytes read. This makes truncation detection
It is worth noting that extended attribute names in OS X are not namespaced
in any special way.
Solaris gets weird. Solaris is probably closest to OS X in its implementation
of extended attributes, in that extended attributes are just named forks.
However, Solaris includes only one specialized function call to deal with
But even this isn’t required, since you can get the same results from using
a combination of open and openat:
From there, all of the *at functions can be used to operate on extended
attributes with some restrictions:
no links between attribute space and non-attribute space
no renames between attribute space and non-attribute space
only regular files are allowed - no dirs, symlinks or devices
Otherwise, extended attributes are treated like regular files.
This is awful when trying to expose a generic, cross-platform API for extended
attributes; the only one that I’ve found is written for
perl. I had
to add support for FreeBSD in Go, Python and Rust - and none of these deal with
Solaris or AIX! Adding FreeBSD support
was pretty rough, largely since implementors assume that every OS has a
No OS has a Linux-compatible extended attribute API
Are attributes namespaced? Are namespaces strings? Are they int constants?
Are they named forks? What happens if I need to seek?
How big can the data be? How do we check for truncation?
Error conditions differ radically
Honestly, I wonder if this contributes to the lack of cross-platform apps that
use extended attributes. They’re super useful in any case where it’s necessary
to track metadata about files without having to keep track of it in a separate
database. That’s honestly fraught with peril anyway, since you’re dependent on
the name of the file (or whatever identifier you use in your db) staying
constant across renames, deletes, etc.
Where to go from here?
A C wrapper lib around all of these implementations would be nice, but there are
some obvious trade-offs that need to be made.
The way that I’ve done this in Python and Rust has been to:
Assume linux-like namespaces, and translate accordingly. If there aren’t namespaces in your OS’s implementation, then just make the namespace part of the attribute name.
Make two calls to get the size of the extended attribute. This works across AIX, Linux and OS X. Solaris will have to use statat to get the size. Unfortunately, race conditions abound.
When listing extended attributes, ignore EPERM for system-level attributes
Maybe when I get some time, I’ll start working on one.
Finally: please, please stop assuming that the whole world is Linux.
With a successful Mozlando for the Participation Cohort still in our rear-view mirror, we are excited to begin the launch process for the Leadership Summit, happening next month in Singapore
What is the Leadership Summit?
As part of the Participation Team’s Global Gatherings application process for this event, we asked people to commit to developing and being accountable to recruit and organize contributors in order grow the size and impact of their community in 2016. We ran also ran a second application process this month, to identify new and emerging leaders – bringing our invited total to 136.
The Leadership Summit will bring together this group for two days of sessions and experiences that will:
Help Participation Leaders will feel prepared (skills, mindsets, network) and understand their role as leaders/mobilizers who can unleash a wave of growth in our communities, in impact and in numbers.
Help Participation Leaders leave with action plans and commitments, specific to growing/evolving their communities and having impact on Connected Devices and a Global Campus Campaign.
Help everyone leave feeling that “we’re doing this together.” Everyone attending (volunteer and staff Mozillians) will feel like a community that is aligned with Mozilla’s overall direction, and who now trust one another and have each others back.
“You mentioned Connected Devices and a Global Campus Campaign? Say more…”
Sure! In setting goals for 2016, we realized that focusing on one or two truly impactful initiatives, will bring us closer to unleashing the Participation Mozilla needs, while providing opportunity for individuals to connect their ideas, energy and skills in the way that feels valued and rewarding.
To that end, we are currently developing a list of sessions and experiences for the Leadership Summit that will set us up for success in 2016 as community leaders, and on each of our three focus areas:
Regional / Local / Grassroots
We will say more about each as we get closer to the Summit, as well as including the opportunity to connect personal goals through 1:1 coaching for all attending.
“What about Reps and other functional areas?”
Fear not! Sessions and experiences will include:
Alignment for Reps around changes in the program, what’s expected of them, and what they can expect from Council and staff in 2016
Opportunity for volunteers in specific functional areas to build relationships with staff in those areas
This event will complete the process of merging participants from three events into one activated cohort – this is our beginning, and I am excited, I hope you are too!
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