The first few months of my open source experience felt like little more than the typical lecture based class, but with all the information taught directing towards one major project due at the end of the semester. Learning about copyrights and the aspects of what make up a successful project team have shown me that working on an open source project is much more than just making sure the code is correct. During this early portion of the class I have come to learn a lot about what goes into working on a product in general, and less about working on my classes project: MouseTrap.
The weekend of October 12th saw the class taking a trip to the GNOME summit 2013 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This was an opportunity for us to show the rest of the GNOME community what exactly we were working on, and also get to work together with some of the other developers who gave us tools and other information to assist us as we progressed further into the project. Some of these figures that we met happened to be leaders of the MouseTrap project, who we have been communicating with via irc since the class began. The personal introductions were a big aspect of the summit, as it was the first time that many of us were able to put an appearance to the minds that we have been collaborating with for quite a few weeks. The summit was the first time in my college career that I felt like I had a grasp of what I would actually be doing once I stepped into the working world. We spent a majority of our time at the summit in our own separate room working at MouseTrap, and we were all enthusiastic with the ground we covered in making the product perform tasks that it was intended to do.
Our trip to Canada definitely gave me a solid idea of what the coding aspect of being a software engineer would feel and look like. This was a much needed experience as the class itself does a very thorough job of getting us accustomed to the design and planning aspect of a project, but after three years of writing code in different languages it was nice to get a feel of how my schooling will apply to the construction of such a product. In conclusion, the fact that we were able to interact with a portion of the Humanitarian Free and Open Source(HFOSS) community in person made this trip an experience that I will definitely cherish and use it as something to look forward to when committing to projects in my full time career.
My introduction into the world of FOSS was a project called MouseTrap, a which is a form of software that uses a computer’s webcam to track the movement of a persons head. This software was designed with the mindset of helping user’s that have physical disabilities be able to maneuver and click a mouse.
The project seemed to be quite active, with all the members keeping up to date logs of their progress on the project’s wiki page. The platform and language used for the project fits my curriculum well and I hope to be able to contribute something worthwhile to the project as the semester progresses.