Finnish Summer Code 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Finnish Summer Code is a yearly project organized by FILOSI (the Finnish Linux and Open Source Initiative), which aims to support Finnish participation in significant Open Source projects and to strengthen the Open Source competencies which companies need. FILOSI, a joint project of institutes and companies involved in software development, operates as a part of COSS, the Finnish Centre for Open Source Solutions. The program recently concluded for 2008, and five students participated in the program this year. Juuso Alasuutari improved LASH Audio Session Handler, and Sakari Bergen's project was about improving Ardour. Niklas Laxström worked with MediaWiki translation support and Olli Savolainen's topic was the Moodle Quiz. You can read the final reports for each of our student's projects on the Finnish Summer Code site.

Also known as Wellark, Antti Kaijanmäki is a 21 year old student of digital and computer technology at Tampere University of Technology. He participated in the Finnish Summer Code project in 2008 and worked on improvements that make mobile networking in Linux easier. Specifically, he programmed a settings assistant for mobile networking devices for Linux, and it is now possible to set up mobile networking with a graphical clickthrough tool. The tool also contains settings for major operators throughout the world. Antti's work was been published first in Ubuntu 8.10 and the overall comfort and performance of Network Manager has been praised in different reviews and blogs. Given all the buzz over his work, we thought we'd sit down with Antti and ask him a bit more about his project.
Antti, what made you apply for the Finnish Summer Code?

I have had the idea of the project in my mind for few years. I don't remember where I heard about the Finnish Summer Code, but because I already had the idea I decided to send an application.

Does the concept of Finnish Summer Code excite students in general?

It's very exciting - you get to do what you want. The only thing that we laughed about was making our presentations, both in the applying stage and at the end. It requires quite a lot of work. For a normal summer job, you simply get the instructions and you do the work. The difference is rather clear.

What kind of advice would you give to a person considering applying for the Finnish Summer Code?

The motivation to do a Finnish Summer Code project goes hand in hand with being motivated to do general FOSS development. It is all about personal motivation. For me, it was very relevant that someone was interested in my work. Ubuntu activists Alexander Sack and Rubén Romero got excited about my project and gave me ideas and support. I also had friends who were interested in the project, which was also quite inspiring. When I'd completed my project, it felt good to see all the blog posts about how great it was - how my code just made things work.

What has this positive publicity felt like?

Of course it feels really good. One of the motivations to do FOSS work is helping others, and it feels great to achieve that goal. It feels good to solve a problem and, by doing so, help a lot of people. The mobile networking assistant is not yet perfect and it needs ongoing maintenance. The database that holds the settings of different operators is mostly taken from the already completed work by the GPRS Easy Connect project. Some changes have been done to update the database, and new changes are coming at a rate of approximately one per week.

There has been some uncertainty about who has done what. My part of the whole thing was the settings assistant – the guided clickthrough. The actual PPP connection stack was programmed by other contributors. As I had some extra time, I did the integration for the Network Manager applet, too. The Network Manager User/Interface is one of the challenges of future. We will also add new types of connection devices and types of networking.
Many congratulations to Antti, Juuson, Niklas, Olli and Sakari for their accomplishments! We would also like to thank Google for once again sponsoring the program. Next year’s Finnish Summer Code application period starts in January 2009. Keep an eye on the program website for more details.

(Note: Site in in Finnish. If you would like to view the site in English, you can select this option from the page's top navigation menu.)