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Software Project: Coding Openness

Im summer 2022, the course »Coding Openness« offered by Florian Berger (HCC Research Group) brought 20 computer science students in touch with open source software development. They temporarily joined established teams of a diverse range of existing open source projects and contributed to chat servers, Java libraries, compilers, machine learning, and project management software.


Since its beginnings in the 1980s, the Free Software and, later, Open Source movement has developed from a niche phenomenon to a dominant player in the software development world. The majority of software developed today is either licensed as, or depends on open source software.

The course "Coding Openness" aimed at introducing students to this movement both from an outsider and insider perspective. After getting acquainted with the history of Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS), they researched the dynamics of the development communities, their roots, habits, tools, and processes. After that, their task was to select and approach existing and widely-used FLOSS projects, and join their development efforts for the remainder of the semester. A total of eight groups formed, joining a wide variety if projects and using their industry-grade toolchains, coordination and consensus processes. The various encouraging, daunting, satisfying and frustrating experiences that ensued were all part of the didactic concept.

At the end of the semester, the students summarised their findings and impressions on conference-grade posters. The results have no need to hide. We are very pleased with this installment of the course, and are looking forward to offer it again.