Unit of competency details

ICAB4232B - Maintain open source code programs (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 08/Jul/2010

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to ICAPRG401A - Maintain open-source code programsOutcomes deemed equivalent. Prerequisite unit removed. Added application of unit. Changes to range statement, required skills and knowledge and evidence guide. 17/Jul/2011

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 020103 Programming  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 020103 Programming  08/Jul/2010 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit defines the competency required to contribute as a member of an open source software project community and to maintain open source code. The open source development model differs considerably from the traditional commercial model.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Refer to Unit Descriptor


Prerequisite units 


Apply introductory programming skills in another language

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Introduction to open source paradigm

1.1. Examine the open source paradigm and demonstrate an understanding of the differences from the traditional software  development models

1.2. Investigate and demonstrate understanding of the types of on -line resources 

1.3. Investigate and demonstrate understanding of the types of project documentation 

1.4. Recognise and demonstrate understanding of the role of an on -line community  and international collaboration

1.5. Examine and demonstrate understanding of motivational factors for contributors to open source code

1.6. Analyse and demonstrate understanding of open source licensing models 

2. Familiarise with target project

2.1. Examine on -line resources  associated with the target project

2.2. Download pre-built executable binaries, to install and run project

2.3. Download, read and demonstrate understanding of supporting documentation 

3. Prepare for maintenance activities

3.1. Select and register with a relevant on -line community  open source group

3.2. Download nightly snapshots of latest source code and supporting documentation 

3.3. Build and execute snapshot where appropriate

4. Maintain code

4.1. Access the project bug database and select bugs to be resolved or features to be added

4.2. Make changes to local copy of code to resolve selected bugs

4.3. Test resulting code to ensure it performs appropriately

4.4. Prepare code patch for submission

4.5. Submit code patch to project

4.6. Use appropriate software development tools  and environment

5. Maintain documentation

5.1. Access project documentation 

5.2. Prepare and contribute new information or updates to existing documentation 

5.3. Prepare and submit documentation  changes to project

6. Participate in community

6.1. Exchange messages with other project members and actively participate in community activities

6.2. Take action to ensure exchanges are socially acceptable 

6.3. Submit code and documentation  code patches for inclusion

6.4. Access on -line project  resources frequently to keep up to date with project and community developments

6.5. Take action to ensure community participation standards  are observed and maintained

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • Communicating with global peers
  • Participating in volatile communities of interest
  • Effectively participating in open source projects
  • Building existing software projects from source
  • Creating and maintaining code
  • Testing and debugging code at a high level

Required knowledge 

  • Open source development methodology
  • On-line project communities
  • Project-specific knowledge

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • Assessment must confirm that a significant contribution to an open source project has occurred. Contributions will be in the form of:
  • Program source code changes and/or additions
  • Documentation changes and/or additions
  • On-line participation in the project direction
  • Local proof of building of snapshots, code modifications and testing

To demonstrate competency in this unit the person will require access to:

  • Software development environment
  • Access to the internet
  • Technical requirements
  • CVS databases
  • Information repositories
  • Programming languages
  • Group facilitation software

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

The breadth, depth and complexity of knowledge and skills in this competency would cover a broad range of varied activities or application in a wider variety of contexts most of which are complex and non-routine. Leadership and guidance would be involved when organising activities of self and others as well as contributing to technical solutions of a non-routine or contingency nature.

Assessment must ensure:

  • Performance of a broad range of skilled applications including the requirement to evaluate and analyse current practices, develop new criteria and procedures for performing current practices and provision of some leadership and guidance to others in the application and planning of the skills would be characteristic.

  • Applications may involve responsibility for, and limited organisation of, others.

Method of assessment 

The purpose of this unit is to define the standard of performance to be achieved in the workplace. In undertaking training and assessment activities related to this unit, consideration should be given to the implementation of appropriate diversity and accessibility practices in order to accommodate people who may have special needs. Additional guidance on these and related matters is provided in ICA05 Section 1.

  • Competency in this unit should be assessed using summative assessment to ensure consistency of performance in a range of contexts. This unit can be assessed either in the workplace or in a simulated environment. However, simulated activities must closely reflect the workplace to enable full demonstration of competency.

  • Assessment must confirm competency in all areas of the software development cycle. Code-only solutions are not acceptable.

  • Assessment will usually include observation of real or simulated work processes and procedures and/or performance in a project context as well as questioning on underpinning knowledge and skills. The questioning of team members, supervisors, subordinates, peers and clients where appropriate may provide valuable input to the assessment process. The interdependence of units for assessment purposes may vary with the particular project or scenario.

Guidance information for assessment 

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended.

An individual demonstrating this competency would be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of a broad knowledge base incorporating some theoretical concepts
  • Apply solutions to a defined range of unpredictable problems
  • Identify and apply skill and knowledge areas to a wide variety of contexts, with depth in some areas
  • Identify, analyse and evaluate information from a variety of sources
  • Take responsibility for own outputs in relation to specified quality standards
  • Take limited responsibility for the quantity and quality of the output of others
  • Maintain knowledge of industry products and services

Additionally, an individual demonstrating this competency would be able to:

  • Contribute to and understand a range of development methodologies and their application to a project or scenario
  • Demonstrate theoretical knowledge of open source practices
  • Produce documentation

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Documentation  may follow:

  • ISO/IEC/AS standards
  • audit trails
  • naming standards
  • version control
  • project management templates
  • report writing principles

On -line project  may be:

  • private website
  • commercial hosting facility hosting community code
  • ftp site
  • CVS site
  • other type of group repository

On -line community 

  • May include but is not limited to local communities, on-line virtual communities of interest and organisational communities
  • The main tools for on-line communities are mailing lists, web conferencing and newsgroups.

On -line resources  may be:

  • websites
  • news groups
  • CVS trees
  • gopher sites
  • ftp sites
  • community sites
  • on-line communities

Community participation standards  may be:

  • verbal or written policies
  • procedures or guidelines
  • may be informal or formal rules and regulations used by groups to manage their on-line projects.

Software  may include but is not limited to:

  • commercial software applications; organisation-specific software, packaged software, in-house or customised software

Socially acceptable  messages should be:

  • designed and sent with regard to recipient's location
  • culture
  • ethnicity
  • race
  • social sensitivities

Software development tools  may include:

  • operating systems
  • target environments
  • development tools
  • computer language
  • version control systems
  • development methodology

Licensing models  may include but are not limited to:

  • GPL
  • LGPL
  • BSD
  • Mozilla
  • Apache licences

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 


Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Competency field

Competency field 

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