It’s September, the time of year when students head back to school and professors plot. Almost all of my existing Mozilla students have graduated and started working, and I’m left all alone, *sniff*. Well, not quite. We’ve just welcomed 35 new students into our open source courses. I’ll be taking them deep into the mystical land of Mozilla, while my colleague, Fardad, will be doing the same with OpenOffice.org. Meanwhile, Chris Tyler, who taught the Mozilla courses with me last year, is leading a new grad program (LUX) on Linux in partnership with Red Hat and Fedora. It’s awesome to have so much open source going on here!
I was looking for a way to throw these new students directly into the fray and give a sense of what it’s like to develop Mozilla, how to use the web as a collaborative tool, etc. Not being one who likes to do the same thing twice, I suddenly realized that a lab on Ubiquity hacking would be perfect. In this first course, we have students work toward a 0.3 release (which they take to 1.0 in a subsequent course), and working with such a holy-crap-this-is-awesome prototype like Ubiquity is perfect. A huge thanks to the Labs and Ubiquity crew, who have done a really good job documenting and explaining their stuff. I was joking with jorendorff today that I’m a big believer in the “hole in the wall” method of teaching (see video):
Hopefully doing a “hole in the browser” will achieve my aim of getting the students started on this open source journey. I’m thrilled to have something like Ubiquity to use for this.
Also, with new students comes the opportunity to get people working on things. I’m already talking with a bunch of folks about project ideas, stale (or super fresh!) bugs, and other things you’d like to get some love over the next 8 months. If you have ideas, please do let me know. Even smaller things are in scope, as students need so-called “Contrib” marks for doing things on other projects, which are not their main focus.
As in previous years, watch out for new people wandering around Mozilla trying to find their way. Mozilla is one of the most welcoming projects I’ve ever seen, and I’m grateful for it. I look forward to getting these students contributing in the weeks to come.