Pidge logoFergus Ross Ferrier tells us about his project, Pidge.

Matthew: What is the Pidge project?

Fergus: The goal is to have an open web platform — code and data — that students can use as a robust, trusted online community for sharing relevant information across their campus: events, initiatives, courses, peer education … all via their online ‘pidgeon hole’.

The only current installation — codename, and a separate project on Launchpad — is at the University of Cambridge, England.

I can’t say it’s a raving success at the moment (it’s not), but there’s strong indication that this is a worthwhile goal, and we just need to plough on and improve it to the point where it gets widespread adoption.

Matthew: What parts of Launchpad do you use for Pidge?

Fergus: Mainly code hosting and bug / blueprint tracking at the moment. As soon as someone starts using it in a locale other than the UK, we’ll look at translation, and answers I’ll think about as a primary support method for users.

Matthew: Why did you choose Launchpad?

Fergus: The bits fitted together nicely. Linux, Apple and Django all benefit from the full-stack approach, and I really don’t want to waste my time chasing the ‘best’ software project management tool. I’d simply like to trust people at Canonical to work that out for me.

Matthew: What would you like to see changed in Launchpad?

Fergus: Consumption of OpenID…?

And it’d be super-cool if the UI and workflows were so well tested for non-technical people that I could actually send ordinary users to the Bugs / Blueprints / Answers areas and get them to chip in productively, without them having to work out the whole structure of the project.

Matthew: What do you particularly like about Launchpad?

  • Err, it’s free.
  • It’s used for a number of high-profile open-source projects (and thus hopefully will continue to be developed and supported!)
  • And I really like the open nature of the whole thing: how anybody can walk into any project listed, pick up the structure, and get involved. No politics, no asking for commit access to a repo, no hidden bug trackers.

Matthew: What’s next for Pidge?

Fergus: Well I need to learn a few things about motivating other students (and myself!) and keep ploughing on until it reaches critical mass here at the U of Cambridge.

And, as this is designed as a reusable package, I’d like to see someone at another student campus in the world taking up the gauntlet to set up a remote installation. Referrals, suggestions and introductions welcomed!

3 Responses to “Pidge!”

  1. pdusen Says:

    The developers may find it worthwhile to not give their project a name almost identical to that of another, much more popular project. I mean, come on, they even used a purple bird as the mascot. Wtf?

  2. Mitch Harden Says:

    Clearly they should’ve used a Green Lion for their logo.

  3. Fergus Says:

    Pidge [as in pidgeon hole] and pidgin [as in pseudo-language – are two very different concepts, though I was more than aware that we were using similar mascots to illustrate the name!

    It made sense, as the initial installation was ‘MyPidge’ for a distinct reason – because it was intended to replicate your university ‘pidge’ on the internet – “I’m just going to check my pidge / MyPidge”. And by that point we’d already made the logo, and named him Percy.

    Oddly enough, it follows a trend of P-lettered animals: python [name derived from Cambridge comedy troupe], penguin [Linux], and pony [of Django].

    I doubt it’s really going to cause huge issues, and made about as much sense at the time as all the other [zero] suggestions I’d had.

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