Well hello there. As some of you may know, I’m currently a sophomore at Olin College in MA. One of the things I’m doing this semester is running a student-taught class as an independent study on release engineering applications & lessons. What that means is that I will receive credit for immersing my (currently) three students in open source communities and introduce them to many of the concepts we’re employing here, because sometimes open source communities don’t realize that these concepts might be foreign to newcomers.
We meet every Thursday for two hours, and starting next week, we’re also going to have weekly IRC meetings on Mondays in attempt to introduce my fellow students to software communities. Our first meeting was a brief one, mostly consisting of organizational things, but also a conversation on the current conceptions around release engineering: what is it that I mean when I call it out? I tend to define it fairly broadly as “the process of implementing and ensuring cultural, social and technical processes towards the creation and release of a [software] product”. This course is going to demonstrate them at the example of a large-scale online software development community, like Fedora. When I asked how people work together today to assemble big software projects, we seperated ideas between the processes large companies use and small and innovative startups that simply run fast and don’t necessarily utilize aforementioned processes.
Now for those of us in the Fedora world, that’s a funny thing. Red Hat and its Enterprise Linux do clearly fall into the “large company with product and customer support” area. On the other hand, there’s Fedora, which is highly innovative and drives the integration of new components forward. How do these two fit together? I believe it’s a fascinating question that we’ll explore more throughout the course.
I thought I’d also share the assignments for next week with the community (aside from creating a Fedora account and starting to blog). There are a few readings that we’ll use to introduce concepts such as “release early, release often” and others.
That’s it for now. More coming up later this week. Oh, and feel free to comment here if you’ve got any thoughts!