SCaLE, Google, and Open Source

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Photo Credit: Solange Maffi

My name is Bruno Albuquerque, and I’m both a Googler and an open source contributor. This past February I left Brazil and went to Los Angeles to attend the 8th edition of the Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE 8x). SCaLE is a yearly open source conference focused mainly around Linux, but it also includes other open source operating systems and it is a showcase for open source solutions. This was my third year there and this time I went to talk about my pet open-source project, Haiku, and about Google Summer of Code™.

Of the three times I have attended this event, this was definitely the biggest. The amount of people visiting the exposition floor was so impressive that the Haiku booth had to work really hard to cope with all the people. The same was also true for the other exhibitors.

A really nice thing about events like this, and one that probably goes unnoticed by most people, is the interaction between the open-source projects themselves. It is a pleasure to get together with people from other projects to exchange ideas. For instance, I had the pleasure of meeting Rob Savoye from the Gnash project and showing him Gnash running on Haiku. He was impressed by this work and it resulted in him integrating changes made by Adrian Panasiuk to Gnash’s repository.


The first talk I gave was about Haiku. It is nice to see that in a few years, we have gone from an obscure project to one that most people recognize. Part of our success is due to the many developers who worked hard to bring the project to its current state and who made it possible for us to release the first public version of it last year, but we also owe a lot to the user community that has supported us. Google Summer of Code also enabled us to advance the project further thanks to the funding it provides for students to work on open source projects.

This talk was about the recently released public version of Haiku, R1/Alpha 1, and what we will be doing from now on. The interaction with the audience was very interesting and most of them seemed excited about the prospect of a user-oriented open-source operating system.

The second talk was about Google Summer of Code. This was interesting for me because although I have participated as a mentor for the past several years, this was the first time I was on “the other side of the fence” and actually talking about the program as a Googler.

I was happy by how interested and excited the audience members were about Google Summer of Code; most of the audience either took part in previous years or plans take part this year!

People were also interested to know why Google does something like Google Summer of Code, which gave me a chance to talk about how Google uses a lot of open-source code (and also contributes a lot of code to the open-source community). Making sure there is a healthy open-source environment is a definite goal at Google.

In conclusion, taking part in an event like this makes me proud of being a member of an open-source project, but more that that, it makes me proud of being a Googler. A big percentage of the projects being demonstrated at SCaLE, including Haiku, have at some point benefited from Google Summer of Code.