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From Bruce Atherton <br...@callenish.com>
Subject Re: OT: C projects for students?
Date Wed, 10 Oct 2007 00:29:28 GMT
Subversion is a good project to start with, I think, for a couple of 
reasons.

First, it has a considerable amount of documentation for new people 
starting out to learn the ropes. See 
http://subversion.tigris.org/hacking.html in particular.

Second, it has a lively community with a well-developed culture (see 
http://producingoss.com/ to get an idea of how that came about) that can 
help new contributors find their way. In fact, if patches are considered 
for acceptance they are sure to get a thorough review and commentary 
back from the members of the community, which can be extremely helpful 
for students to learn how to do things. It is very rare for any patch to 
be accepted into the code base without having gone back and forth a few 
times.

Third, the code is very well architected, particularly for a C project. 
Great care has been taken, partly through using APR and APR-UTIL, to 
follow rules that govern where resources are allocated and opened, and 
how they are then cleaned up. C coders could do far worse than to 
imitate the Subversion style of coding.

Finally, Subversion maintains a list of what they call "bite-sized 
tasks". Items from this list would probably be ideal for students to 
work on as they don't require complete understanding of the rest of the 
code base. The list of bite-sized tasks is here: 
http://subversion.tigris.org/issues/buglist.cgi?component=subversion&issue_status=UNCONFIRMED&issue_status=NEW&issue_status=STARTED&issue_status=REOPENED&keywords=bite-sized&cmdtype=doit

You don't say what level of previous understanding of C your students 
would have. It is pretty ambitious to think that they could contribute 
anything during an introductory course, so I assume they are already 
reasonable competent in coding C. In fact, I think that learning how to 
effectively contribute to an open-source project should itself be a 
course, independent of language.

Kevin Jackson wrote:
> Hi,
>
> This is totally not Ant related (although it's slightly Apache
> related).  If you're not interested sorry to waste your time.
>
> I'm teaching C to university students this semester and I'd like to
> set them some practical work to actually implement bugfixes and
> provide patches to open source projects.
>
> Unfortunately I'm not really aware of many open source projects that
> are C (not C++) and that have a decent infrastructure setup for
> receiving patches from novices.
>
> One thing I'm considering is the linux kernel janitors project, but
> I'm very wary of pushing that idea as I think it may be too ambitious.
>
> Do any of the developers here know of any projects that wouldn't mind
> junior-level developers submitting patches?  I was thinking about APR,
> but again it's a bit too abstract for the students to be interested in
> :(
>
> Anyway thanks for your time,
> Kev
>
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