Luca Saiu - Teaching - DEVL (Développement de logiciel libre) - 2008

DEVL is a course introducing the philosophy and practice of free software taught by me at Institut Galilée, Université Paris Nord. The course is mostly in English.



You can access slides and other course material from last year's course page. Just note that this year the exam rules are different, and the final project (the original project is now expired: you'll have to work (alone!) on the rattrapage project) is also completely new.

This year I didn't use my slides in class, but I still mostly followed them; they can be good for a quick review.
If you are interested and you want more information you can find online material here. You will need to study from there if you didn't come to class; I think the exam will be a little more difficult in that case, so if you study by yourself and have any question you're particularly encouraged to write to the mailing list, or to me personally.

If you have problems with Unix you can also look here.

The unofficial course mailing list

I strongly suggest students to subscribe to the (unofficial) course mailing list.


Everything is explained in the project page (the original project is now expired: you'll have to work (alone!) on the rattrapage project).


Sometimes I distribute some material on paper, to be used in class or at the lab:

If you have problems with English

Here are some links to resources in French.

Examinations and marks

There are two modalities to pass the exam, an implementation project and a written exam. You can choose either one, or both.
If you do extremely well, you can get 20/20 even with only one modality. No oral exams.

Implementation project

You can submit any number of tasks for the
final project (the original project is now expired: you'll have to work (alone!) on the rattrapage project). Each correct submission will contribute as an addend to your project mark. I also evaluate clarity, coding style, and of course the correctness of copyright and license headers.

Written exam

The written exam will be made of 20 multiple-choice questions, in French. For each question, you will have: Your written mark will be the sum of the scores for each question.
Some questions will be about Scheme, as this is the only technical topic we have covered in some depth.

Final mark

This is how your final mark will be computed. It's just a more formal way of stating what I've always said in class: what I have promised doesn't change.

Let's define the sum with saturation _⊕_ as a function of two parameters, p and w:

pw = 0 if p+w < 0
pw = 20 if p+w > 20
pw = p+w if 0 ≤ p+w ≤ 20

If p is your project mark (the sum of all your project bonuses, or 0 if you submitted nothing) and w is your written mark (0 if you were not present at the written exam), then your final mark will be pw.

Note that p∊(ℚ⁺∪{0}) (I may give fractional project bonuses, but no maluses) and w∊ℤ (the written mark is integer, possibly zero or negative), hence (pw)∊(ℚ⁺∪{0}). If your final mark is fractional, I will bring it as it is to the jury, where it will be rounded by excess or by defect.

I think these rules to be very generous: my purpose is only to incite you to spend time thinking about the topics we've covered in the course, and to make you learn some programming. I have no interest in giving you a bad mark.

Resources on the Net

I appreciate personal enquiry, and may take it into account as a bonus for the final evaluation if you show me deep knowledge of some topic. Here I provide some resoruces for interested students who want to get a deeper understanding, or for people who don't come to class and have to, or prefer to, study by themselves.

Again, if you don't come to class and have any question you are particularly encouraged to use the mailing list or write to me personally.

Free software philosophy and history

If you have little time I recommend to read at least Why software should not have owners, by Richard Stallman.

Open Source

I particularly recommend The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric Raymond.


I think everybody should at least try the
SICP video lectures. Watch them when you have some time.

Extension languages




Copyright and licenses

Development methodologies

These are not necessarily related to free software, but they're a very instructive reading.
I admit that this selection is biased towards Lisp.

Hacker culture

This is light reading.

Back to my home page...

Luca Saiu
Last modified: 2009-06-15
Copyright © 2008, 2009 Luca Saiu
Verbatim copying and redistribution of this entire page are permitted provided this notice is preserved.