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A History of Development

Josh Schonstal

OSU senior Josh Schonstal was in second grade when he wrote his first computer program with his father’s help. As an eighth grader he was working with his friends on a basic role-playing game. OSU was the only school he applied to when he was looking for colleges, and that was because of the Open Source Lab.

"I knew they hosted my favorite distribution of Linux," he says. "But I didn’t understand the caliber of experience I’d be getting. It’s really helped me grow as a developer."

During his time at OSL, Schonstal has worked on One Laptop Per Child, and recently has been spending his time on TriSano, a tool that helps the Centers for Disease Control monitor outbreaks of infectious disease, environmental hazards, and bioterrorism attacks. TriSano was recently deployed in hospitals throughout Utah.

TriSano works like a front end for a database of information, Schonstal says. So when a health professional has a report to make, he or she gets a form that is separated into different concerns. The information is later accessible and editable to anyone with clearance to use the system.

"Ideally we want as many hospitals as possible to use this software," Schonstal says. "It will help with the Centers for Disease Control’s ability to control outbreaks."

Mostly, Schonstal works on bugs and noncritical parts of the application alongside developers from Collaborative Software Initiative. "They’re really into development," Schonstal says. "They don’t sit around and wait until five o’clock rolls around. It’s really cool to get to work with those people."

Schonstal isn’t sure what he will do after he graduates in the spring, but he thinks the opportunities OSL has provided have prepared him well. "The open source community is really merit-based, so people who contribute more are going to be well-regarded in the community," he says.