The Oregon State University Open Source Lab recently hired three new full-time staff members as part of a movement toward expansion as a self-supported campus entity. The additional staff members will provide comprehensive support in lab operations, allowing the OSL to increase student opportunities within the lab and improve the resources it can offer open source projects.
The OSL is home to some of the most well-known open source projects in the world and facilitates more than 600,000 unique downloads each day. In addition to hosting external projects, the OSL also contributes to and develops open source software in-house and provides hosting for projects and Web infrastructure within the university. To support its efforts, the lab employs several qualified OSU students who gain professional experience managing open source projects, maintaining servers and providing customer and user support.
Sometimes finding the best solution means starting over. That was Mike Cooper’s dilemma as he tackled his first solo project at the Oregon State University Open Source Lab. An OSU sophomore studying computer science who had just been hired in March 2010 to work as a system administrator for the lab, he was tasked with securing a network connection that could be extended to laptops, allowing lab staff and hosted projects to connect to the lab's private network from anywhere. Cooper decided to scrap the previous method that others had planned to use to link the network servers and instead opted for a virtual private network, a transient link between servers that he felt was a better fit for the lab's needs.
“When I started the project it was kind of hard for me to look at this and say ‘No, we should be doing something else’ and throw away all that work,” Cooper says.“But I decided that the approach they were taking wouldn't work very well for what we wanted.”
Staff members and students from the Oregon State University Open Source Lab will represent the lab at Portland’s O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) July 16-20. An annual open source conference, OSCON engages all aspects of the open source community with sessions, tutorials, keynote presentations and an expo.
The OSL will be present throughout the conference at the OSCON Expo, where the lab will have a booth alongside open source leaders like Drupal, Facebook and Intel. In addition, OSL Associate Director of Operations Lance Albertson will lead a session on open source private cloud platforms. Albertson plans to discuss the various features offered by different cloud computing platforms and offer insight on how to choose a platform that best meets a project’s needs.
The Oregon State University Open Source Lab’s Beaver BarCamp 9 brought around 70 people to the Kelley Engineering Center on April 21 to discuss projects, explore new interests and share ideas. The sessions held throughout the day varied greatly in topic — from robotics to hydroponic gardening to gaming — but all shared an open forum and flexibility that promoted discussion and collaborative learning.
In Daniel Miller’s session, Indoor Hydroponic Gardening, he used diagrams and photos to demonstrate how he built a hydroponic gardening structure in his small room using materials purchased at a home improvement store. Nearly all of the 10 people who attended Miller’s session spoke at least once, asking for clarification about his methods, offering suggestions on how to improve the structure and even giving Miller ideas about what to make once the tomatoes he is cultivating are ripe. The most popular suggestions? Pizza and salsa.
Students reap the benefits of professional programming experience at the OSU Open Source Lab
Posted by Kayla Harr on May 10, 2012
As a freshman at Oregon State University in early 2010, Jordan Evans didn't have a lot of computer science experience. Though he had always had an interest in computers, Evans had come to OSU as a mathematics major and, like many first-year students, didn't yet have a clear idea of what he hoped to do with his education.
“I decided I liked math classes better than I liked computer science classes, so I kept taking math classes,” Evans says. “I really had no idea what I would do with it. I knew what I liked but I didn’t know how to apply that to anything.”
Two years later, Evans' career goals have undergone a radical change. Since June 2010, Evans has worked at OSU's Open Source Lab, where he’s built up an impressive resume that includes two years of professional experience as a system administrator, a summer internship with Google and knowledge of exactly what he wants to do in the future.
The Oregon State University Open Source Lab will host Beaver BarCamp 9 Saturday, April 21, in the Kelley Engineering Center. The event is free and open to anyone, including OSU students of all majors and interests, faculty and community members.
Beaver BarCamp is an opportunity to learn about an assortment of projects, skills and interests through discussion in an open, participant-led format. Attendees are invited to devise and lead interactive sessions that others at the conference can join. In the past, BarCamp sessions have focused both on computer and software development and on completely non-technical subjects. Topics have included writing software applications, learning Spanish, screenplay writing, the computer science gender gap, improving Web security and biking, among others.