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George Thomas

George Thomas is an assistant professor in the Computer Science department at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He teaches a variety of courses including the Software Engineering courses in the department. He is interested in seeing how HFOSS projects could be used in these courses. His scholarly interests are in the areas of Multiagent Systems and Natural Language Processing.

Part A - Question 5 - Introduction to IRCs

Part 1 – Walk through of IRC Conversation

How do people interact?

-people go around and share what issues or thoughts they have using the text-based chat functionality. Generally like a face to face meeting where people go around but anyone can jump in as appropriate.

What is the pattern of communication? Is it linear or branched? Formal or informal? One-to-many, one-to-one or a mix?

-pattern of communication is generally linear with respect to topic; they work on one topic in the meeting agenda and then move on to the next. The language is informal, with some abbreviations, mispellings but for the most part is complete, correctly spelled sentences; not like twitter or other forms of chats.

-during discussion on a topic, people jump in as needed; responses are sometimes out of order.

-discussion is a mix; generally one-to-many but one-to-one is done by addressing specifically the intended target.

Are there any terms that seem to have special meaning?

-Clearly, the terms for the meeting bots have significance: #beginmeeting,#endmeeting, #topic to begin a new topic, #info to demarcate some informational items for quick retrieval, #action to demarcate action items, #link to demarcate a link of interest

-meeting leader seems to take the lead(but not exclusively) in using these terms

Can you make any other observations?

-Seems to be a reasonable way of conducting online meetings. My observation through participating in the IRC test chat was that it takes a long time, with a lot of time just spent waiting for people to type. This is even more pronounced than other chat applications, maybe because we get immediate feedback that people are typing, and the commitment to good grammar is much less. In an actual meeting, you have the undivided attention of everyone. In a video chat, the feedback is still much better.

Bonus question: Why didn't Heidi and Darci's actions get picked up by the meetbot?

-My guess, the nicknames were spelled with capital first letters so the bot could not find a matching user

Part 3 – Join and Observe Channel Discussion

Joined the #OpenMRS channel on May 4th, listened for 8 hours. An international participant complained about getting times mixed up in time zone conversion and missing an important meeting. Lot of discussion in trying to get all meetings in UTC. There was some small talk then a daily scrum meeting began. Everyone went around and gave brief updates. Meeting lasted only 3 minutes. Nature of discussion was similar to the sample given in part 1. Everyone was supportive and made jokes here and there.

Part A - Question 6 - Project Anatomy Activity

The Sugar Labs Project

Summarize the roles that you think would be most applicable for your students on your faculty wiki page. What are the commonalities across roles? What are the differences?

-I think the developer role would be the best starting point for a CS student. All roles involving organizational, communication and planning skills. Developer and designer roles requires specific knowledge of software platforms

On your wiki page describe the general process for submitting a bug and indicate the types/categories of tickets listed on this page as well as the information available for each ticket.

-use the Sugar Labs trac instance to report bug

-you can add comments, annotations, etc. on a bug

-bugs are reviewed by bug squad

-Listed on the timeline page included bugs that had the following severity: unspecified (mostly), major (one) and minor(a few). The status on each bug was also another catgeory: accepted, assigned, closed, new, reopened.

Can you determine from the information provided here whether the project uses a web-based common repository or a local repo?

-Looks like a web-based common repository

Include an entry on your wiki page that describes how the release cycle and roadmap update are related.

-Looks like a roadmap is setup at the start of each release cycle. The release cycle has four releases: development, beta, release candidate and final. The road map specifies, for each release, the release dates, when features are frozen for that release, tickets and feature proposals considered for that release, and other dependencies.

The Sahana Project


-Developers - active developers in the project

-Testers - testing including manual, development and system administration

-Designers - graphic design of the applications and websites

-Overall, the roles are more focused on development than sugar labs.

Bug Tracker

-The layout seems to be a set of presorted queries here, as opposed to you running the queries in sugar labs. Easier to find what you might be looking for here. The categories and information seem to be very similar to sugar labs tracker.


-Looks like a local repo

Release cycle

-The roadmap seems to be a set of milestones. Not as clear as sugar labs road map. Milestones seem to correspond to major releases, with core, stable, beta in each milestone.

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