Some Reflections on The Open Source Course

Regular classes for this semester have finally come to an end which means that the open source course for this semester has also reached the finish line. This is the first time I’ve taken such a course. I think it is very unique. Seneca, or for that matter other Colleges or Universities don’t offer a course such as this one. I’ve definitely enjoyed myself while working on this, which is not to say that I didn’t go through frustrating times. Throughout this course I have been guided by jorendorff, ted, djc and bsmedberg. Thank you to all of them, without their help I wouldn’t have been able to get very far. I really appreciate the help.

I think that this course has pushed me to the limits of my ability and beyond. Before this semester I didn’t know anything about Python, jquery, Mercurial or for that matter JavaScript (at least not in the manner that Mozilla uses it). I’ve had to learn all these technologies in one semester and apply them into something that worked and would be accepted by Mozilla. It has been amazingly difficult and challenging. Out of all my subjects I have definitely committed the most amount of hours to this course, by far. Almost every other day I was working on the something related to this course. Reflecting back, over the semester I have written 40+ blog posts and release 10+ patches, not to mention the labs and contributions that I did.

I think the whole blogging idea is ingenious. This blog has become a way for me to let the community know what I am doing. This is the true essence of open source as nothing is hidden from the community. Also, I think this blog has become a great asset for me. I will be referencing this blog in my resume so that I can show prospective employers what I have done with Mozilla and what kind of skills and experiences I have garnered. This process definitely makes everything transparent.

Overall, I think this course is extremely helpful and I would recommend it to every student in the CPA and BSD programs. It really separates the men from the boys. However, I think there are ways in which the course can be improved. I believe the biggest problem is that there is not boundary line available. Throughout the course I had to ask myself, is this enough? Do I have enough contributions? Did I blog enough? Did I provide enough information? There is no right answer for these questions as Dave doesn’t want to answer them. I can understand why as these questions made me push myself to do everything possible in order to make sure that I had reached that invincible safety area. Not having the knowledge that you have done enough to get a good mark makes you do even more until there is no time left, at least that is true in my case. Even though this is a good thing it really affects the other courses that one maybe taking. This course will take up as much as time as you are willing to give to it. There is no boundary. I think there should be some sort of boundary to give you that sense of reassurance that you are in the safe zone so that you don’t dedicate all your time to this course while potentially neglecting your other courses. I don’t know if others feel the same way but I got this feeling throughout the course.

I’m relatively certain that I will be taking the next open source course. I had a conversation with jorendorff and ted and it seems that there is plenty more things that I could work on next semester related to hgweb. Although, I’m not 100% certain yet if I’m I’m going to take the next iteration of the course. I need to check my schedule and look at the other courses I will be taking and then I will make a final decision. For now all my attention will turn towards my exams, which are ominously lingering over the horizon.

Overall a wonderful and challenging course that taught many new things. I want to thank Dave Humphrey for providing the building blocks and continously pushing us to limit throughout the semester. It was fun!

Have a happy holidays everyone!

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