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Free & Open Source Software @ MAGIC

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FOSS @ MAGIC

One of the most unique initiatives at MAGIC is the FOSS@MAGIC effort, an initiative that originally grew out of the Department of Interactive Games and Media's course in educational game development for the OLPC. Today, FOSS@MAGIC sponsors numerous projects, hackathons, regional get-togethers, birds-of-a-feather gatherings, and events throughout the year in connection with the MAGIC Center, the School of Interactive Games & Media, the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing & Information Sciences, and other elements of the campus that span the entire university, as well as numerous external partners. Since 2009, this group has brought FOSS speakers to campus, sponsored professional development opportunities for faculty, housed externally sponsored and faculty and student created research and development projects and has brought an annual regional FOSS conference to the RIT campus on several occasions. Known throughout the region, this group is an active and vibrant part of the Rochester open source movement, and is engaged with a variety of institutions throughout the region and the nation.

Specifically, FOSS @ RIT is an initiative to promote Free/Open Source Software related activities at RIT that:

  • Pursues applied research in and around RIT and with sponsors and external entities
  • Supports Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships
  • Develops and/or supports FOSS academic efforts including the Open Source Minor, project courses and independent studies
  • Coordinates and/or sponsors FOSS events like hackathons, speakers and POSSE
  • Offers students employment opportunities for part-time work and co-ops with projects that are released via open-source license

The initiative grew out of the School of Interactive Games and Media's first seminar in educational game development for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) in 2008. Starting in 2009, student, faculty, staff and community interest across the institute and throughout Rochester have grown the initiative to sponsor...

  • 50+ hackathons regional get-togethers, birds-of-a-feather gatherings
  • internationally renowned speakers such as Richard Stallman, Hal Abelson and Walter Bender
  • Professional development opportunities for faculty, staff and graduate students including three annual week-long instances of POSSE
  • Outreach to other Colleges and Universities, K-12 schools and community organizations like Hacks/Hackers Rochester and the Girl Scouts
  • 30+ Undergraduate Research Fellowships, Co-Ops and part-time student positions doing humanitarian project work including nation-building work with UNICEF’s Innovation Lab in Kosovo and Educational Games for OLPC and SugarLabs downloaded around the world and honored at the White House.
  • Applied research projects for RIT, Red Hat, Mozilla Open Badges, OLPC and Sugar Labs
  • Additional academic courses for IGM, including the first Minor in Open Source Software and Free Culture, which will be offered beginning in Fall Semester of 2014 by IGM
Hacking Election Night Link Image

To see what

FOSS @ MAGIC

is all about, here's a sample activity we engage with every year on election night. This is the kind of hacking we're excited about.

Get Involved

Join our IRC Channel #rit-foss and #rit-innovation on irc.freenode.net. This is a great place to introduce yourself and get in contact with anyone involved in foss@magic. We have an IRC bot running under the name foss_bot which sits in and logs any channel we fell is important to the Foss project. You can also visit us on Facebook, and connect with us through MAGIC.


Key Programs and Departments Engaged in FOSS @ MAGIC

Background and Need for Research

Support for Open Source methodologies and practices is in its early stages in higher education. Computing programs around the world use tools, develop code libraries, and share their work with others, but often publish in ways that are restrictive, non-collaborative or less 'open' than they might appear. Traditional academic publishing is a closed, and in some cases predatory, practice. The current commercial sector is dominated by players that produce closed-source solutions, but this is rapidly changing; with several major corporations now producing libraries and toolsets available through Open Source licenses. Open Source is now a growing strategic component of the software world, but that is only scratching the surface. While the methodologies and practices of the FOSS movement often seem a good match to the ethos of the university, we feel universities must go further and provide direct educational and experiential opportunities for students to learn about Open Source processes and practices. Only by directly engaging in work with these tools, practices, and communities will students effectively incorporate the benefits of the Open Source approach in their own work and contributions.

Our work is humanitarian in focus and is generously supported by Red Hat and by Fedora (who donated the original 25 XO laptops that started us off for RIT's first FOSS class.) OLPC, Sugar Labs, and others have donated hardware and/or sponsored co-ops and Hackathons. Our funding is used largely to support Open Source student projects, library contributions, and development opportunities. In addition, such funding supports hackathons, outreach and engagement events with the local community and regional and national institutions. Our work engages students, faculty, and staff in exploring the possibilities as software becomes a freely available resource, both to draw from and contribute to. We're solving the world's problems through code.

FOSS@MAGIC Projects

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Blocku

Abstract:Blocku is a puzzle game consisting of filling a grid with squares by matching the squares sides by following a constraint. Blocku is a game that can be used by teachers to teach a multitude of subjects to students. The teacher will be able to create a constraint such as match the formula to the answer or A + B = C. Then the teacher makes a list with two columns. Each row in the columns is a pair of of matching objects. The first row of column A matches the first row of column B. Using this formula the game will randomly assign the objects of each column to square blocks, one object per side. The student then has to put all the pieces in a grid so that pairs on the sides of the squares follow the constraint. The student will be able to move the pieces as well as rotate them. Submitted by: fran.

Links and References:

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CIVX

Abstract: CIVX is a open source public data aggregation framework that focuses on government transparency and transitioning raw data into open and index-able formats. Our core platform is designed to simplify the process of modeling, scraping, scrubbing, correlating, and visualizing raw data. This tour is intended to point out the types of information that CIVX aggregates as well as the nuance of the interface, please feel free to contact us with any questions. Submitted by: decause.

Links and References:

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Mathmematical Adventure: Fortune Hunter

Abstract:Mathematical Adventure: Fortune Hunter draws on teaching children of a global scale fourth grade mathematics through the guise of a dungeon styled adventure game. Players will be able to explore dungeons and fight fearsome battles with various monsters, each pertaining to a unique mathematical concept. The player controls a protagonist that must progress through maze-like dungeons, solve puzzles / problems, and defeat enemies in a two dimensional world. It is a single player adventure with room for ad hoc cooperative play in the future. Submitted by: jlew.

Links and References:

FOSS Community RPG Research

Abstract:The goal of this project has been to research and plan a game which promotes and rewards FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) development. However, this goal is no easy task since game design alone provides intense challenges to providing a fun and balanced experience. Adding on FOSS development stats makes game design much harder, adding imbalance and other issues. On top of all of this, we have been going in alone, researching this new topic that has little prior research.

Links and References:

  • GitHub Repository which contains all of our research and design documents
  • We meet Mondays through Thursdays in our FOSSBox from 12:00 to 6:00(EST). We will also be on IRC throughout this time. #rit-foss on irc.freenode.net
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Girl Scouts games for Life Workshop

Abstract:Since March, 2009, RIT’s Lab for Technological Literacy and faculty and students from the Game Design and Development degree programs currently housed in the School of Interactive Games and Media have led a one day workshop for Girl Scouts of America (GSA) troop members to complete their “Games for Life Interest Project.” (GFL) The workshop has been offered, in various forms, four times in Rochester, New York and once in Los Angeles, California.

These materials have now been refined to the point where they can be released so that other Girl Scout Troops across the country can offer the workshop in their home communities. They can also be used for a general introduction to game design and development outside of the Girl Scouts. The current versions of the interactive tutorials are in Scratch, a multi-platform, open source tool that can be installed on Windows, Apple or Linux operating systems.

Workshop Organization

The workshop begins with an introduction to the components of a game (i.e. it’s Formal Elements). The slide show attached discusses the roles of players, different types of game mechanics, win conditions, and other game components using examples of common board games to keep the concepts clear. Next the scouts play some “casual” web games of different types, read reviews of those games from web sites, and discuss them in terms of the formal elements they just learned about. Games we have used are The Company of Myself, Red Remover and Learn To Fly. After the play session, usually during lunch, the girls hear presentations from one or more professionals in the field about careers in the game industry. After lunch the Scouts spend some time working on tutorials on building games in Scratch. They are provided with thumb drives with all the necessary files for the tutorials on them as well as installers and run-time versions of Scratch. montage of girl scout games It takes a village to give a workshop, and the group that has supported the workshop over the years is a sizeable one. Professor Jim Leone, Department Chair of RIT’s Department of Information Technology, sponsored the original workshop materials development in 2008. Microsoft Research funded the second round of materials development. The final round of materials development was sponsored by RIT’s Lab for Technological Literacy. RIT and The Rochester Association of Women in Computing sponsored Rochester workshop events. Our Rochester GSA coordinator was Laura Robinson, Program Manager, Girl Scouts of Western New York. The SIGGRAPH Los Angeles workshop was sponsored by ACM SIGGRAPH, Autodesk, Inc, and Intel Inc. Our GSA Co-Coordinator was Katherine Poulin-Kerstien, STEM Program Specialist, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. Materials for the various workshops were created and/or revised by Stephen Jacobs, Kelly Piering, Sela Davis, Heather Arbiter, Joe Pietruch, Yana Malysheva and Justin Lewis. All Rochester workshops have been coordinated by Amy Carey of AWC and Digital Rochester.

Links and References:

Groove Bot

Abstract: Groove bot is a personal project of Justin Lewis that allows control of Grooveshark through IRC.

The project can be found in gitorious.org/jlew/groovebot. Submitted by: jlew.

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Lazorz

Abstract:Lazorz is an educational game targeting the middle school curriculum for the pysics of light. Our team will be submitting to the National STEM Video Game Challenge (link below). We'll be posting more information as we continue development. Stay Tuned! Submitted by: decause.

Links and References:

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Lemonade Stand

Abstract:his is your basic "Lemonade Stand" style game, where the player manages a lemonade stand (or similar such store) and tries to make as much money as possible. The game is designed to incorporate money and fractional math skills to teach basic operations. Submitted by: Qalthos.

Links and References:

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MediaWiki Visualization

Abstract:MediaWiki Visualization is a python program that watches a wiki for changes using the MediaWiki API. It loads up a list of pages and their link structures and then watches the change log. When a page is changed it links the user to the page as well as linking to any pages it links to.

The visualization is currently using ubigraph to draw the visualization with the help of the networkx python module. It also uses the twisted framework to pull the api at a configurable interval. Submitted by: jlew.

Links and References:

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narcissus

Abstract: narcissus is a web application for visualizing real-time webserver hits. Submitted by: rjbpop.

Links and References:

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Open Video Chat

Abstract: Open Video Chat is a Video Chat Activity for the XO Platform. Developers sponsored by PEN International were tasked with developing a proof of concept by improving the underlying software stack to improve video chat accessibility for communication between deaf and hard of hearing students in a classroom environment. The project leaders at PEN have expressed a long-term interest in the life of this application that includes release into the Opensource ecosystem, and eventually porting to other platforms.

Team members for the project include Stephen Jacobs (RIT Faculty Advisor), Remy DeCausemaker (RIT Project Lead - Storytelling, Evaluations, Mentor), Justin Lewis (RIT Dev Team - Lead), Taylor Rose Blog (Dev Team - Developer), Fran Rogers RIT (Dev Team - Developer), Doney Oatman (RIT Mentor Team - ASL), Mel Chua (Fedora Mentor Team - Comm Arch, Evaluations), Luke Macken (Fedora Mentor Team - Technical, Evaluations), and Bernie Innocenti (SugarLabs Mentor Team - Technical).

Links and References:

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Wikiotics

Abstract: Wikiotics is a community site for collaborative language instruction. The site aims to provide easy tools for teachers and students to create high quality language lessons that are immersion focused, interactive, and easy to share. These activities are supported by the Wikiotics Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 non-profit. Starting in September 2010 two RIT students, Nate Case and Taylor Rose began contributing to the project through the FOSS@RIT movement. Submitted by: trose.

Links and References: