In the open source world blogs are one of the main vehicles for general discussions about technical and project issues. One of the main reasons for this is that open source projects are interconnected, and developers working on one project want to follow what is happening in other projects. Users also like to know what is happening behind the scenes with their favourite software. Blogging is a great way to reach new people who share similar interests to you. Sites like http://digg.com, http://slashdot.org, and others facilitate this.
The volume of blog postings created within a community can be overwhelming. To help deal with this, RSS or Atom feeds enable the receipt of content in a machine-readable format so that it can be used in a variety of different ways (for example, in Firefox Live Bookmarks, through a service such as Google Reader, or in a program such as Lifrea or FeedReader).
Many open-source community maintain a Planet site which aggregates the feeds from community members into a single page (and the Planet, in turn, provides an aggregated feed). Here are some examples:
- The Mozilla Planet - http://planet.mozilla.org
- Fedora Planet - http://planet.fedoraproject.org/
- Go-OO Planet - http://planet.go-oo.org/
The OpenSource@Seneca planet is at http://zenit.senecac.on.ca/~chris.tyler/planet and includes postings from current and former Seneca students, Seneca faculty, and local and international partners. See Open Source@Seneca Planet List for information on starting a blog and adding it to the planet.
Blogs in DPS909/OSD600/SBR600/SPO600
You are required to blog twice per week on things related to the course, your project, your readings, etc. If you haven't blogged before, spend some time reading other people's blogs.
You are also encouraged to comment on other people's blog posts when you have something to say in reply, either directly (by leaving a comment on their blog) or by creating a blog entry of your own that links to the other's blog (most blog software will automatically link the postings using a "Trackback" mechanism). The makes the blog a two way communication medium, and help blog authors understand how their views are being received.
Blogs in Other Courses
You will receive separate blogging instructions for each of your courses. In general, you'll submit some of your weekly work and project reports by blogging. You are also encouraged to comment on postings by other people.
Your blog is an integral part of your work in your open source course(s). Blog postings will be made available to other students, faculty, and the general public via the web and your RSS/Atom feeds, and your postings will appear on the OpenSource@Seneca Planet. The Planet feed will in turn be picked up and used in a number of very public places.
Because your blog postings will be incorporated into other content, it is important that you represent your thoughts professionally, using these guidelines:
- Write professionally. Blog postings are less formal than other types of writing, but they are still a reflection of your communications skills.
- Remember that the internet has a long memory. The Planet page is generated periodically, and even if you delete or change your posting, it may be indexed, cached, or reposted until the planet is re-generated. Avoid saying something that might come back to haunt you later -- and remember that future employers may read your old postings (as well as future in-laws, office mates, and so forth).
- Write in English. English is the language of instruction at Seneca and the main language of communication in many open source communities.
- Do not use profane, obscene, or rude content, or content that belittles other people.
- Do not link to profane, obscene, rude, or illegal material or to sites that knowingly violate intellectual property rights (warez).
- Ensure that each posting makes sense when taken out of the context of your blog and viewed on its own. If you are referring to one of your previous posts, link to it rather than refer to it as being "below" or "above".
- Link extensively. If you're referring to a blog post, article, video, event, command, software package, person, project -- link to all of them so that your readers can find out more information.
- Ensure that each posting conforms to the Seneca AUP
- Keep the postings relevant to your open source work.
Failure to follow these guidelines may result in removal of your feed from the Planet, and in a severe case (such as a breach of the AUP) may result in disciplinary action from the college.
Please note that if you want to create blog entries that may not conform to these guidelines, you are free to do so in one of two ways:
- Create a separate blog for your personal postings.
- Use a feed for the Planet that only includes articles tagged with a certain word or classified into a certain category, and then ensure that articles that do not meet these guidelines are not tagged or classified in such a way that they are picked up in the feed. See Open Source@Seneca Planet List.