The labs on Tuesday to Friday are for you to work on a project of your choice. The aim is to work with the project sufficiently to be able to give a short (10 minute) presentation on your work on Saturday.
The main steps in this lab work are:
Choosing your project
Researching the project
Learning to build and install the project
Learning how to interact with the project developers
Finding some way that you can contribute
Working on your contribution
Communicating with other project developers
Writing up your work for your short presentation
The details will vary with each project. For some projects, it may take you most of the week just to learn how to build it. For others, you may be able to make a substantial contribution very quickly.
You should read carefully through the information on selecting a project on the lab work page, and also read through the information on the assessment page to make sure you are gathering all the information you need.
Please make sure you ask for help from Paul or Martin when you get stuck. You may also find that another student knows how to solve a problem, or perhaps you can help another student who is stuck.
In order to be able to write a good report, it is important that you keep good logs on your interactions with your chosen project.
For logging of interactions with the project that happen via web pages, the 'scrapbook' extension to Firefox is strongly recommended. You should get in the habit of using 'Capture Page' in scrapbook to capture key web pages as you come across them.
If your chosen project uses an instant messaging system for communication (for example, an IRC channel), then make sure you enable logging in the IM tool you use. For example, if you use the 'pidgin' tool, then make sure that 'Enable Logging' is set in the Options menu, and make sure you find out where the tool is storing logs of your conversations.
For command line interactions (for example building a project), you should get used to using the 'script' command to capture terminal output. See the script(1) manual page for details.
During the Saturday session you will be asked to make a short presentation on your project to the other students. This forms part of your assessment, so make sure you have something well prepared.
The way this presentation will work is we will redirect your screen, keyboard and mouse to the projectors in the lab. You will then control the display via the terminal at the front of the class. You may choose to present your project in any way you want to. Some suggestions include a LibreOffice presentation, or a set of web pages, or a live demonstration.
MAKE SURE YOU BACKUP
Make sure you do a backup at the end of each lab, or you may lose all your work.