Intro to FOSS (Activity)

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Foss in Courses Planning 1


Description Intro to FOSS
Source None
Prerequisite Knowledge None
Estimated Time to Completion 60-90 minutes
Learning Objectives Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to: 1) Describe two or three major events in the history of FOSS, 2) Describe several characteristics of the open source philosophy, and 3) Identify why student involvement in FOSS could help learning
Materials/Environment Access to Internet/Web and web browser.
Additional Information
Rights Licensed CC BY-SA
Turn In Nothing


Welcome to the exploration of Open Source Software! The goal of this activity is for you to become familiar with the roots and culture of Open Source Software.



The world of FOSS is large and complex. Producing a large software project is an complex and challenging process. As learning anything with high complexity, at first the amount to be learned may feel overwhelming. As you incrementally gain knowledge, you will gradually become more familiar with FOSS as well as becoming comfortable with not knowing all aspects of a project. Therefore:

  • We expect that you will feel lost. This is a natural feeling when becoming involved in a FOSS project.
  • We understand that feeling lost may feel uncomfortable.
  • We expect that you may feel overwhelmed, as if you were going to a foreign land not knowing the language and customs.

The goal of this workshop is to enable you to be "productively lost" within a project, where you may not have a full grasp of a project, but you have sufficient signposts for you to be able to navigate the project and ask appropriate questions. The following readings will help explain the use of FOSS projects for learning as well as the feeling of being "productively lost".

Overview of FOSS

The following readings provide an introduction to FOSS


 Discusses the foundation of Firefox which grew out of Netscape: 

Humanitarian FOSS

Humanitarian FOSS (HFOSS) is FOSS that does some social good. HFOSS projects can range from disaster management, micro-finance, health care, education and more. We have chosen to focus on HFOSS as the altruistic nature of HFOSS has the potential to attract more computing majors, and women in particular.

Personal tools
Learning Resources
HFOSS Projects