5 Open Source Projects to Try Over the Holidays

5 Open Source Projects & Games to Try Over the Holidays

Since starting at Black Duck just over a year ago, I've gotten a crash course in everything open source. To say that what open source offers is amazing would be a serious understatement. While in my day job I focus more on open source license compliance and security, I've also had a lot of fun exploring many open source projects. Some I learned about from our Open Source Rookies program, some from working on the Future of Open Source Survey. Those two projects just touch the surface of the millions of projects available.

It seems that every parenting article these days emphasizes the importance of experiences over things. Since technology is integral to most of our lives, working on an open source family project creates an experience we can all share in. The Raspberry Pi has so many affordable offerings that it's a great jumping off point for just about anyone. 

Raspberry Pi Multi-Room Music Player

Multi-room sound systems like Sonos or Bose SoundTouch 10 are expensive, but check out this DIY project by Jezsinglespeed at Instructables. It’s a four-step project you could try with your kids and a Raspberry Pi. Interested? Check it out and let me know how it goes!

Customized Digital Picture

We have a spare monitor floating around our house, so this project caught my eye. I like this project on Instructables because it looks simple to build but fun to customize. It uses project called Openframe (openframe.io), an open source platform for displaying digital art. Especially cool: you can push images, websites or shaders to any of your frames, or even public streams of artwork posted by other users.

Raspberry Pi Tablet

When I saw a version of this project involving AutoCAD, I got a little intimidated. Lucky for me, Lifehacker has another version that looks promising. Maker Faire contestant Michael Castor used a Raspberry Pi to make his own tablet in this article, if you're looking for another version. The "PiPad" seems like a pretty cool project to try out — a full-size tablet running Raspbian Linux.

Tynkers Hour of Code Projects

These Tynker projects look like fun for all ages. I’m looking forward to a little time with my kids to explore these cool games and coding ideas for kids. I'm pretty sure they'll be on board with creating Minecraft mods and I bet I learn a lot in the process (and hopefully my kids will as well).

Learn Coding While Playing Games

I could not resist this headline. Who wouldn't want their kids to learn Python, JavaScript, or Lua? So another thing I'll be checking out with my family is the online game Code Combat. This simple idea is similar to childhood favorite Zork but brings in learning a new skill. I think it will be fun to try out in different languages, see how hard or easy it is in each, and choose our favorites. 

Adafruit has a lot more information about this (in addition to many other ideas you should investigate).

More Open Source

There are so many more options out there! I'm just going to share IT Pro Portal's list of 22 Raspberry Pi projects in case none of the above appeal to you.

Finally, if you're looking for something a little more serious, consider taking a look at Google's Summer of Code projects and resources. For young developers, you can't miss. They've been doing this for 12 years, in 104 countries, with 567 open source projects and12,000+ students. It's open to post-secondary students age 18 and older (in most countries). 

Happy Holidays

Regardless of what you choose to do with your holidays, I hope they're peaceful and filled with great experiences — outside or inside, with tech or without. Looking forward to an amazing 2017!

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