Welcome to FOSS @ USC


We want to establish a thriving culture of Free and Open Source Software at University of Southern California. We feel that contributing to open-source software is a great initiative for anyone to take up - whether they know programming or not. It benefits almost everybody involved, especially the students who contribute - they tend to become better programmers, while putting some great open-source code out there.


We have a bunch of ideas on how to go about doing this - some traditional and some new. The biggest task we wish to accomplish by the end of September, 2012 is get together a small and dedicated team of students at USC who wish to start contributing to one of more existing Open Source projects, or start hacking on a new one.


  1. Advertise a Hackathon
    This is one of the few ways which we think will help us find the team of contributors we seek. We let the word out on a weekend-hackathon, with very few rules, #1 being that any code written & submitted to the hackathon should be accompanied with a valid open-source license.
  2. We think this will act as a great filter and we will, in all probability, end up with people with the right mindset (pizza & open source lovers).

  3. Minimum Politics
    We really don't want to have an argument on Free vs Open-Source, no matter how philosophically or morally important the question might be. As long as the code we produce has a valid Open-Source license, we really don't care. The members of FOSS @ USC should understand this before joining the club, as we will not be dragged down by the politics of FOSS.
  4. Minimum Meetings
    The primary medium of communication should be the Mailing-list or the issue tracker on Github for the project involved. We would probably meet for an hour a fortnight, and the Meeting Minutes would be posted on the FOSS@USC website.
  5. Multiple Code-Pushes a Month
    The startup culture today produces good code really fast. This is the model we wish to follow. Instead of a single big release at the end of every semester, there will be multiple releases (or fixes, if we are contributing to somebody else's project) in a semester, month, or even a week.
  6. Do it Because You Want To
    There will be soft deadlines, and if a member doesn't push the fix they were assigned in a timely manner, then somebody else will. We don't want to become another "course" to handle for students, but rather a fun & productive way to learn from each other. If you have an assignment due this weekend, or just want to get away from programming, just put your issue up for grabs, and hopefully somebody else will claim and fix it.
  7. Guest Talks
    We will do our best to invite hackers, founders, open-source contributors and great programmers to interact with members of FOSS@USC. Make no mistake - having geeky talks with other programmers is one of the best ways of expanding your horizons.
  8. Workshops/Hackathons
    Keeping up with the latest in programming best-practises, as well as recognizing the classical pitfalls that every hacker faces is really important. Our aim is to collaborate with smart and highly technical people & organizations that want to get involved with student programmers and help the young and budding hacker community at USC.

How You Can Help

If you are someone who can help, please contact us (information below).

FOSS@USC was dreamt up by two current USC grad students - Saurabh Tandon and Hardik Ruparel, who both have a (admittedly tiny) history of contributing to Free & Open-Source software.

FOSS@USC is not yet officially recognized by the University of Southern California, however we're working on it.

Contact us by e-mailing hruparel@usc.edu.

Our Presence