Updates from Googlers Contributing to Open Source Projects

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You may recall some of our previous posts about Google employee contributions to Open Source during their 20% time. While many engineers spend their 20% time on releasing code created internally at Google, many more spend their time contributing to external projects just to scratch their own itch. We're pleased to bring you some updates about what our engineers have been doing over the past few months:

For all you version control geeks out there, you'll be interested to know that Ben Collins-Sussman has been working on rewriting Subversion's HTTP protocol. While the rewrite will still be WebDAV compatible, he's busy removing all of the DeltaV formalities that cause numerous extra requests. Once complete, users should see much faster network traffic when speaking to an Apache server. For more details, check out the write up on Ben's blog.

Continuing his work on WHOPR, a scalable whole program optimizer for GCC, Diego Novillo reports that the complier can now build several Google applications with link-time optimizations enabled. Diego and the rest of the WHOPR team are handling code generation bugs and performance problems with generated code. They expect to be showing steady performance improvements over the next couple of months.

Frank Mayhar recently submitted a patch to remove the journaling dependency from ext4. The patch has been accepted and should be merged very soon. You can find more details and the actual patch submitted in the list archives.

Shiki Okasaka continued development on the ES Operating System, releasing some new source tarballs. Included in the latest release were a number of contributions made by Google Summer of Code students. The switchover to the new Web IDL standard from OMG IDL for the system interface definitions is in preliminary stages and some progress has also been made on the implementation of the project's TCP/IP stack. The latest release also contains the Web IDL based preliminary RPC runtime for x86 linux, allowing for testing and combination of multiple ES software components running in separate processes on Linux, a substitute for the ES kernel natively running on a PC.

Tim Hockin contributed to a number of different systems software projects. Work continued on the recently released prettyprint project. Tim has been exploring languages to use for prettyprint's runtime, Javascript being the top contender for now. He has also worked on improvements to ACPID, including a lot of code clean up and a minor release. Tim also has a patch in his review queue to add netlink support to this completely flexible, totally extensible daemon for delivering ACPI events. He's also done some more work to whip the MCE Daemon into shape and is looking at promoting it for various distros.

These are just a few of the many contributions that have taken place over the past few months, and we'll be bringing you regular news about what Googlers are up to in the wide world of Open Source. Happy Hacking!