Lawrence Programmers Hack Nights

So I've been kicking around the idea of starting a hacking night/weekend type thing. I think it'd be a blast to take one evening or afternoon a month or maybe even ever week, commit to a particular project and get a bunch of people in the same room and hack on it. We do a lot of yacking at LPDN, this would be an opportunity to do a lot of coding. Ya know, less bitching, more fixing.

There's a couple of possible formats. I'm curious to get some feedback. What do you think would be more fun?

  • First, we pitch around a few ideas over at Lawrence Programmers, come up with some new library or software, hack it together, release it, and all feel good about contributing to the world at large.
  • Second, we could pick open source projects and contribute to them. PHP has had some big successes with their Test Fests. There's plenty of open source projects in every language that would love more unit tests or some bug squashing. We could trade languages, each month doing something different with people that know that language taking the lead. Get someone from each language to chaperon their own language.
  • Third, we could do something GiveCamp style. Get people to donate a weekend and hack out as much as we can for non-profits. There's plenty of non-profits that could use a hand. I know of one (*wink* *wink*) that has a ton of really cool projects, including a few big ones, that they need done and hacking together something to get it kick started would be awesome.
  • Or finally, we could create an evening every week where people bring their laptops, Bananajour prepared, and hack on whatever they're up to.

Having a hacking night sounds kind of fun to me. The big projects definitely have a lot of potential for great things coming out of them and I plan on getting a Kansas Give Camp organized sometime this winter, but based on the experience I had getting Lawrence Programmers off the ground, I think we're probably better off to start slow, maybe declaring one night a week hack night at a coffee shop or some such.