This post is mostly a roundup of Planet Fedora snippets I thought might be of interest to the 40 Allegheny students from Matt Jadud and Darren Miller's {Technology, Art} and Activism course who just got introduced to the ecosystem of free and open source and content ... on Tuesday. It's a firehose of context, so we're doing what we can to scaffold them gently into the community as they start on their projects, mostly within the realm of Marketing or Design (more on this later). The remainder of this post is addressed to them.

Hey, folks. How's it going so far? I know we've introduced you to a ton of material - this is a huge experiment for all of us (for me, for your professors, for the Fedora community members you'll be working with for the next 5 weeks), so thanks for coming and learning along with us. One of the things that came up at the end of Tuesday is, which is our blog aggregator; just like you've got a class blog aggregator that lets you see what your classmates are thinking and writing, we have our Planet as a way of seeing the thoughts and projects of members of the Fedora community. It's a lot of content, though - so this morning I sifted through recent posts to pull out a few I thought you might be interested in.

First, since it's April Fools Day, I couldn't resist pointing out Nicu's post on Fedora's rebranding from blue to magenta with a medieval French lily-textured background. Nicu is one of the most active members of our Design community; he hails from Romania.

Tom "Spot" Callaway (from Boston) wrote up a proposal for a User Driven FAD. A FAD is a Fedora Activity Day, which I usually describe as a hackathon, or "a bunch of folks from our usually-distributed community all fly into one place and spend a couple days working to Make A Cool Thing." What (I think) Spot is describing is a FAD where (1) experienced folks would come in to make the software that would let new users test Fedora as described in his proposal, and (2) new folks would come in to try that software out right as it's being made. As new folks with fresh eyes yourselves, I'm curious if you've got any thoughts on the idea. The post and the linked-to wiki page are written for an audience of existing contributors - what do we need to do to make it interesting to new ones as well? Is this something any of you might be keen on participating in?

The comments are also interesting: Colin Walters is also from the Boston area, but Greg DeKoenigsberg is in Raleigh and Jef Spaleta is out in Alaska. And actually, if you go back and take a look at the comments on Nicu's post - Tareq is from Saudia Arabia, Nushio (Juan) from Mexico picked up on it and translated the joke into Spanish, since we have a large Latin American community, Adam is from Canada...

Speaking of Adam, his blog post today pointed out two things: the F13 release date has slipped by a week, and today is ABRT Test Day. The first topic (release date) may be a confusing read, since it assumes a lot of vocabulary and context we haven't introduced you to yet (Beta release, release criteria, RC, gold, slip...) - that's okay. Basically, what is means is "we decided that we weren't going to be quite ready in time for our original due date, so we now have a 1-week extension on all of our deadlines for Fedora 13." That's it.

The other (and last) thing is ABRT Test Day - a Test Day is a day where a bunch of community members get together and try out a new feature to see if it works, and what could be improved. It's open to all - you're welcome to join if you like, and I'll be around after class in case anyone would like to hop in on it with me. Today's feature is ABRT, which stands for "Automatic Bug Reporting Tool." On Tuesday, I talked about how if, for instance, Firefox were to crash, you could report a bug to the Firefox developers and potentially help... oh, somewhere around 270 million users that way. Well, ABRT is one tool that helps you do that by popping up afterwards and saying (in this example case) "hey, it looks like you found a Firefox bug! Want to tell the developers about it?" and walking you through that process.

We want to make sure ABRT itself works and actually does help people through the process of reporting bugs, so the ABRT developers (Jiří Moskovčák (jmoskovc), Nikola Pajkovsky (npajkovs), Denys Vlasenko (dvlasenk), and Karel Klíč (kklic)) and a few members of the QA team (Kamil Páral (kparal), Michal Nowak (mnowak), Adam Williamson (adamw)) are hanging out online today to help people get started testing, and to answer questions. So again, I'll be around doing this right after class if anyone would like to join me; I'll show you how to use the livecds we've burned to do exactly that.

There's plenty more on Planet Fedora, but this is the stuff that caught my eye this morning while I was reading. What caught yours?