Category Archives: Team-related

Fall 2012 Semester Review

This semester, we focused primarily on Mozilla products: Firefox and Popcorn.js. Overall, it was a good learning experience. We learned how to build Firefox, run the unit tests, search for bugs in Bugzilla, and ask for help on IRC. We went on a field trip to tour the Mozilla and Facebook offices in SF and San Jose. We skyped with the lead developer of Popcorn Maker, Bobby Richter.

As for next semester, we’re planning on having more variety of projects, with more opportunities for members to share their own open source projects and experience. See you then!


Getting the Most Out of Team Meetings

The Open Source Team is different than a lot of other clubs. At our meetings, we don’t just hang out and talk: We get stuff done. Being productive, however, requires a bit more time and effort on the part of each member. The old adage, “You get out of it what you put into it”, really applies here. Here is a short list of ways to get more out of our team meetings:

Come prepared
What was it you wanted to do at the meeting today? Did you forget? Sit down an hour before the meeting and make a list of things that you want to do, share, ask, or discuss.

Brag, even. Tell other people what you’ve done on the project so far and what you’ve learned. Don’t wait for whoever is running the meeting to ask you.

Ask questions
Simply asking other people how they’re doing with the project will help you stay up-to-speed with it. If someone else is already contributing code and you’ve only just compiled the project, ask them how they did it.

Help others
People don’t always ask for help– sometimes you need to offer. Helping others is a great way to learn and make new friends.

Offer ideas
Fresh, new ideas are what keep this club interesting. If you just thought of something that might make the club better, share it!

Overall, to get the most out of the club you need to be proactive. This is your chance to use the skills you’ve learned in college on real life projects. Contribute!

Semester focus: Mozilla Firefox! Thursday Build-Fest

On Thursday, Sept. 20th, we will be holding a workshop to begin our semester long development project: Mozilla Firefox.

A laptop with 5 gb of free space is required. Firefox can be built on Windows, OSX, Linux, and most Unix-based systems.

We encourage attendees to clone the codebase from Mercurial before attending (it is >500mb). Instructions can be found here: Firefox Build Instructions

The event will be held in BMU 209 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm on Thursday, September 20th.

Seating is limited, so please register to save yourself a spot:
Eventbrite - Firefox Build-fest

Thank you!

Spring semester review

With all of our club meetings and workshops for this semester over, I’d like to do a quick review of the things we’ve accomplished and discuss what worked and what didn’t work.

This semester, we presented workshops for (and contributed to) the following projects:

– Pianobar, C-based command-line Pandora client
– Overtone, Clojure-based music creation software
– Tiled Map Editor, game map editor in C++ using the QT framework
– Cells, Python-based AI game using the PyGame framework
– CSLUG Website, PHP-based website

Overall, our strategy of presenting and promoting open workshops was successful. We achieved our goals of helping students learn how to contribute to open source projects while at the same time growing our member-base. Our planning meetings helped us get to know each other a little better, which improved our ability to work together and get things done. Our projects this semester were generally larger, more diverse, and almost all of them were real projects that people actually use. Both workshop and meeting attendance was pretty good, especially compared to last semester.

The drawback to our focus on workshops is that our actual productivity (in terms of commits) was diminished. In the future, it might be a good idea to hold regular “hack-days” the weekend after the workshops for people who really want to make a contribution. We tried this with Tiled and it worked out well.

Although they can be fun, it seems like big group workshops are generally too distracting to get much code written. Part of that might be the classroom setting– something about sitting at a school desk just isn’t conducive to focusing on code. It also seems like people didn’t contribute much from home this semester. I had hoped that people would take the skills learned at the workshop and do something for the projects on their own. It’s possible that our attempt at bringing larger projects to the table made contribution more daunting?

I’m sure we’ll come up with some ideas on how to make the club even better for next semester. Thanks to everyone who participated this year! It’s been a lot of fun.

Fall 2011 Review

Thanks to all members for making our club’s first semester so successful.

Here is a list of some of our activites in Fall 2011:

Through these projects, we explored HTML5, Javascript, jQuery, Python, Ruby, Lua, LÖVE, PhoneGap Build, and other interesting technologies. We achieved our goals of contributing to open source and learning new stuff.

Club activities will resume at the beginning of next semester. See you then!

Firefox Add-on Hackathon

On November 19th, we’ll be traveling to Mozilla’s headquarters in Mountainview, CA for their Firefox Add-on SDK hackathon:
This will be a loosely structured event with the goal of creating new Firefox extensions. There will be some lightning talks and coding competitions with prizes, too! If you’d like to join us, please send us a message.

Hacking Autism


On Tuesday, October 11th, myself and a few other members of the Open Source Team will be attending a special hackathon called Hacking Autism.

We’ll be working together with other developers to create free applications that help people with autism. We’re really exited to contribute to a good cause while having fun and learning from other developers.

Thanks to Hewlett Packard for sponsoring this event, and to Random Hacks of Kindness for organizing it.