MSSU Follow Up

On Thursday, October 25th, I spoke to the CIS club at Missouri Southern State University. The presentation won’t win any awards (no presentation of mine ever will.) I put the Powerpoint up on SlideShare. I promised the students and professors in attendance that I would follow up with a post on my blog with links and other info that might be helpful.

If you’re interested in an internship with Gestalt’s Joplin office, please send your resume to my email address: jhoover at I’ll make sure your resume gets to the right people within Gestalt.

Pragmatic Unit Testing in C# with NUnit on

Agile Software Engineering
Some of the agile software engineering best practices I mentioned during the presentation were Test Driven Development (TDD) and Continuous Integration (CI). Since MSSU is focused on .NET, here are some links that might be helpful related to TDD and CI:

YouTube Videos
Coco had asked how Gestalt was using YouTube. I mentioned that we used it as part of a recruiting effort. We had a contest open to the employees to see who could make the coolest recruiting video on YouTube. The results of that contest can be found here. The winner (as voted on by Gestalt employees) was John Moffet’s PatrolNet Woes. In an act of shameless self-promotion, I’m embedding my video below.


My Job Went To IndiaRecommended Read
A book I’m in the process of reading that I think would be extremely beneficial for college students to read is My Job Went To India. I’m about a third of the way through and the advice is practical and especially relevant for those entering the IT workforce these days.

RSS LogoThere were some questions about RSS during the presentation. May I suggest checking out the Gestalt Blogs RSS feed? This feed has all the posts from Gestalt bloggers, with quite a few being out of the Joplin office. My personal favorite combo for subscribing to and reading RSS feeds is Firefox and Google Reader.

Open Source
Below are the links to all our current Open Source projects:

Producing Open Source SoftwareRemember to look into joining an Open Source project. While I don’t have any specific recommendations on projects to join (other than our own!), I can definitely recommend reading the book Producing Open Source Software. You can get a free PDF and HTML version of the book.

Benevolent Dictators

Benevolent DictatorsYesterday I read a short white paper about some experiences with developing open source software for the Department of Defense (DoD.) It was a good read and relevant considering that we (Gestalt) have been pushing more and more of our software for the DoD coming out of the Joplin, MO office to the open source community. One of the points made in the paper was that successful open source projects need a benevolent dictator. I’ve always believed this to be true, but then I read Josh Berkus’ post on The Myth of The Benevolent Dictator and am not so sure now.

Josh Berkus is a lead developer for PostgreSQL. While MySQL often gets the glory, PostgreSQL has quietly earned respect by hardcore database people. I’m one of those people who has a lot of respect for the PostgreSQL project as a whole, so when one of the lead developers expresses a strong opinion I’m prone to listen. (Plus, the guy has one of the best first names ever.) Josh’s main point is that it’s too easy to say that successful open source projects need to have a benevolent dictator. There are all sorts of models that have succeeded. PostgreSQL is a democracy. Debian is a chaotic democracy. Apache is a bureaucracy. MySQL is a company. Java is a mixed bag of everything. But, it’s more fun to look to the benevolent dictator for quotes and it’s more convenient to sum up the success of open source project leadership in two words.

There has to be clear leadership for any software project, open source or not. I think the important thing to keep in mind is that open source software has been successful with various models of project leadership. The benevolent dictator is one model that has worked for Linux and others, but it is only one of many.

I realize this conclusion will likely disappoint one of my Gestalt comrades who sometimes fancies himself a benevolent dictator, but it had to happen sooner or later. At least he’ll always have “The Lovinator”, which is something that is ALL his and likely always will be. Dictate away!