Posts from June 2010

Googlers on the Loose at OSCON

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In three weeks, Googlers from offices around the world will be gathering in Portland, OR for OSCON, O'Reilly Media’s annual open source convention. OSCON will take place from July 19th - 23rd, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to meet and interact with the open source community.

There is an impressive lineup of Googlers speaking at OSCON this year, with 20 of them presenting talks and even more attending. Click on the session names below for more information on each talk’s time and location.
Robin Anil: Mahout: Mammoth Scale Machine Learning

Dan Bentley: Make Open Easy

Tim Bray: Practical Concurrency

Ben Collins-Sussman: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: The Joys of Engineering Leadership

Chris DiBona: Google Open Source Update 2010 and Your Work in Open Source, 3 years of Incremental Change

Brian Fitzpatrick: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: The Joys of Engineering Leadership

Joe Gregorio: Extending Wave with Robots and Gadgets

Sam Johnston: What We Need are Standards in the Cloud

John Koleszar: Introducing WebM: High Quality, Royalty-Free, Open Source Video

Ikai Lan: Introduction to Google App Engine and What is Google App Engine?

Alex Martelli: Practical Python Patterns and Powerful Pythonic Patterns

Mark Miller: E, Caja

Dan Morrill: Android: The Whats and Wherefores

A. Ali Pasha: Challenges of running Google Code - Porn, Malware, Hacks, etc.

Dan Peterson: Extending Wave with Robots and Gadgets

Rob Pike: Go, Public Static Void, and Another Go at Language Design

Mark Pilgrim: HTML5's Multimedia Future

Mark Smith: Build Your Own Contributors (One Part at a Time)

John Woodell: Ruby and Duby on App Engine

Roni Zeiger: Google Health: Connecting Mobile Patients
If you have a particular interest in Android, in addition to Dan Morrill’s talk there will be an Android Hands-On session at 7 PM on Wednesday. This event promises to be “an intense, technical, and structured event led by Google Android experts.” Advance registration is required for this event, so don’t forget to sign up!

We’ll also be holding a Google Summer of CodeBirds of a Feather (BoF) session on Wednesday. This BoF is a chance for anyone who has been involved in Google Summer of Code or is interested in learning more to meet face to face and talk about the Google Summer of Code experience. The fun and community bonding starts at 7 PM!

In addition to all the talks and events listed above, the Google Open Source Programs Office will be holding Office Hours on Wednesday, at 2:30 PM. If you’ve ever had a question about open source and Google, this is a great opportunity to meet the team and ask it in person. You’re also welcome to just come by, say hello, and hang out.

Hope to see you at OSCON!

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team

Google Summer of Code 2010 San Francisco Meetup

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Carol Smith and Cat Allman (5th and 1st from right) with with meetup participants

Two weeks ago, Google’s San Francisco office hosted a Google Summer of Code™ meetup. I joined a group of about a dozen others, including Carol Smith and Cat Allman from Google's Open Source Programs Office. There were program participants from all over California, including two exchange students and one who came all the way from Guadalajara, Mexico. We didn't have a huge agenda, we just planned to get together and geek out.

We started the event off just after 3 PM with introductions and some background info on the 2010 projects. There were two 2008 Google Summer of Code alums in attendance: João Antunes, who worked on a file transfer protocol for SIP Communicator and myself (John Britton), who worked on a localization server for Gallery.

João and I shared our advice on succeeding in Google Summer of Code. We each gave short demonstrations of our projects and some background to put them in context. We also fielded tough questions on how to make sure to set reasonable expectations for mentors and deliver on promised goals.

After talking about the program, I took the floor to talk a bit about projects that I've been working on recently. I started by giving an interactive demo of Twilio and explaining how my experience duiring Google Summer of Code was instrumental in getting a job there. The program was especially good for preparing me to work on building the community around our first open source project, OpenVBX. After I finished up talking about community building, I shared an update on Mozilla's Drumbeat initiative which naturally segued into a discussion on P2PU and the School of Webcraft.

The team from Scripped followed me by giving some advice on the importance of communication in software projects and on managing expectations. Last but not least, we got an official tour of the Google San Francisco office. Tour highlights included a pit stop in the micro-kitchen, a chance to ride the Google slide, and a giant Android phone.

We rounded out the day with a trip to a pub on the waterfront overlooking the Bay Bridge. Overall, it was a pretty sweet day.

Check out the Google Summer of Code Flickr Group Pool for more photos.

By John Britton, 2008 Google Summer of Code Alum

Introducing the Google Command Line Tool

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ever wanted to upload a folder full of photos to Picasa from a command prompt? We did, a lot, last summer. It made us want to say:

$ google picasa create --title "My album" ~/Photos/vacation/*.jpg

So we wrote a program to do that, and a whole lot more.

GoogleCL is a command-line utility that provides access to various Google services. It streamlines tasks such as posting to a Blogger blog, adding events to Calendar, or editing documents on Google Docs.

For example:

$ google blogger post --blog "My blog" --tags "python, googlecl, development" my_post.html
$ google calendar add "Lunch with Jason tomorrow at noon"
$ google docs edit --title "Shopping list" --editor vim

GoogleCL is a pure Python application that uses the Python gdata libraries to make Google Data API calls from the command line.

Read more at the GoogleCL project page, or jump right to the examples. Along with a standard tarball, we have a .deb package ready for download, and hope to have it included in Debian and Ubuntu repositories in time for their next releases. We're adding features all the time, so check in frequently. Or better yet, contribute.

GoogleCL brings cloud computing to your fingertips, literally!

By Jason Holt, Street View Team and Tom Miller, former Street View Intern

Birds of a Feather at Open Source Bridge

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The second annual Open Source Bridge, held in Portland, Oregon, was a blast. I presented a talk on Foundations, Non-Profits, and Open Source and I participated in some great sessions as well on topics ranging from How to Give a Great Tech Talk (including the 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Speakers) and a geek choir.

The best part of the conference in my opinion, though, was the Google Summer of Code™ Birds of a Feather (“BoF”) session that we held on Thursday night. I and my fellow Googlers, Ellen Ko and Cat Allman, met some past and present students and mentors and also talked with some enthusiastic students who may be applying next year. There was, of course, the traditional post-BoF gathering at Old Town Pizza, as well. We all had some great conversations, made some new friends and are looking forward to the Google Summer of Code BoF at OSCON on Wednesday July 21st.

Hope to see you there!

Zurich Open Source Jam 8

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

After a period of careful consideration and planning, a new edition of the Zurich Open Source Jam took place on May 27th. This time, the focus was more on the social side of the Jam, but an Open Source Jam always includes a number of presentations so our guests have topics to debate.

William Candillion started the meeting with his lightning talk about cloud extensions for XQuery. His project has built a large set of tools to work with XQuery++ in a variety of APIs from a number of programming languages.

Yannick Stucki explained the design of his Android music player Music Queue. For example this player displays the current song playlist in various ways, rather than details about the current song, and provides novel ways to alter it with simple swipes, making it easier to use while walking.

Following Yannick, Cedric Staub told us about the modular UZBL browser (pronounced as “usable”). This browser follows the UNIX philosophy by consisting of a number of single-tasked components and scripts which interact with each other to display the web site and offer controls.

After a break to grab some food and drinks, Petr Pridal talked about his Google Sites Backup and Mirroring scripts. These scripts use the Google Sites API to dump and restore web sites from Google Sites, including the version history of each site.

If you missed this Open Source Jam, don’t worry; there will soon be another one here in Zurich. If you have an interesting open source project you’re working on, or if you would like to participate in one, you’re very welcome to show up and get in contact with other people who share your interests!

Stay tuned and watch for announcements on the Open Source Jam Zurich Google Group!

By André Wienck, Site Reliability Engineering Team

Notes from SambaXP 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hello, I’m Jeremy Allison, a Google engineer in the Open Source Programs Office and a Samba Team member. I recently returned from SambaXP, the annual Samba Team coding bash and get-together in Göttingen, Germany, held from May 5th - 7th. There were several notable outcomes from the conference, which I’ll share here.

We launched the new look for the web site at the conference, refreshing the Samba web site with a 21st Century design.

We listened to many presentations, had lots of meetings, and drank fine German beer. I gave a presentation on "How to make a product with Samba," (PDF of slides) aimed at helping companies use Samba in commercial products.

The Microsoft engineers who are working on the SMB (Server Message Block) and SMB2 file-sharing network protocols are Samba Team friends and they returned to the conference this year - in fact, Tom Talpey from Microsoft announced a new project to design UNIX extensions for the SMB2 protocol.

The Samba Team is still making great strides on the next release of Samba, Samba4. Samba creator Dr. Andrew Tridgell from IBM (just to be formal for once... everyone still just calls him "tridge") demonstrated two-way replication between a Microsoft Active Directory domain and a Samba4 Domain. There is still much work to be done on the AD domain controller code, but there is starting to be light visible at the end of the tunnel in getting to a "stable" 4.0 release. Maybe by SambaXP next year there will be an exciting new announcement on this subject.

After consultations with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Linux distributions, the Samba Team decided to move to a nine month period between major Samba releases instead of the previous six month release cycle. The strain of keeping to the six monthly cycle was too great on the release process, and nine months should give a better balance between having time for feature development and time for testing of the Samba production release code.

Plans for the merging of the existing file server (smbd) and authentication daemon code (winbindd) with the Active Directory code (samba) were made, and tridge demonstrated Samba4 printing for the first time.

Günther Deschner from Red Hat won the "Code Janitor of the Year" award yet again, for his clean up of the old printing code, and was only just beaten to the post as the top code commit contributor into Samba by Stefan "the Machine" Metzmacher from SerNet.

John Terpstra of Primastasys announced the clean up of the support page as part of the new look for the web site. John will be ensuring all companies offering Samba support on the site are kept up to date for users to contact.

Thanks to Google for sponsoring the event, and SerNet for hosting. The slides from all the presentations are available here. If you didn't go, you were missed - and you should certainly make an effort to be there next year!

By Jeremy Allison, Open Source Team

Umit Project 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Umit Project is an international open source organization focused on network monitoring, with the goal of making life easier for network administrators and others who need to be aware of what is happening in their networks. The project developed out of in 2005, becoming an independent organization in 2007.

Umit Project has been a proud participant in Google Summer of Code™ since 2005. This year Umit Project participates in Google Summer of Code again with two students working on the Nmap Security Scanner.

In 2009, Umit Project received more good proposals than allocated slots, and students contacted us wishing to accomplish their projects even without funding through Google Summer of Code. To address this need, we created Umit Summer of Code (USoC) to enable those "extra" motivated students to participate in our project. Even without a stipend, the students accomplished their projects and they're still contributing in our community.

This year we have decided to operate the USoC program again, and everyone is welcome to join us! Check out more details about it at Umit's blog.

By Luis A. Bastiao Silva, Umit Project Lead Developer and former Google Summer of Code Mentor

Code, Open Source, and Summer Love on the 17th Floor

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jon Trowbridge and Borja Sotomayor welcome students to the Google Chicago office

It's springtime in Chicago, and that can only mean one thing: time for the 3rd Annual Chicago-Area ACM-Student/Open-Source-and-Google-Summer-of-Code™ Lightning-Talks-Meetup! Ok, ok, so we haven't settled on a good name yet, although it's mostly a Google Summer of Code meetup. I say "mostly" because, although the event revolves around a series of lightning talks delivered by accepted Google Summer of Code students and by Google engineers, it is open to all students from Chicago-area universities with ACM Student Chapters. (The local ACM chapters helped to organize this event.) Roughly 70 students, mostly Computer Science undergraduates from The University of Chicago, Northwestern University, DePaul University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago stormed the Google offices in downtown Chicago on May 7th for an evening of intercollegiate mingling and geeking out.

This year, we had three Google Summer of Code student speakers, starting with Michael Lucy from The University of Chicago:

Michael will be working on Guile this summer, as part of the GNU project. His project will involve writing a module for compiling Parsing Expression Grammars (PEGs).

Next up, Jamie Schwettmann:

Jamie is a 2009 Google Summer of Code alumna from The University of Oklahoma, but now she now lives in Chicago because her summer work for The Globus Alliance rocked so hard that the University of Chicago ended up offering her a job to continue working on Globus software! Jamie told us about her project, Project Performance characterization of GridFTP on 10+ Gigabit networks using hosts with 10 Gigabit network interface cards. She also told us not to be intimidated by the title- her summer work ended up revolving mostly around creating an automated parameter optimization utility for GridFTP. She also reflected upon her experience in Google Summer of Code, and all the wonderful things that have happened as a result of it.

Finally, Emily Brand from Loyola University Chicago:

Emily will be working for Drupal on porting QueryPath to D7.

We were also treated to talks from three Googlers G-Men who, according to them, were there for comic relief, although they also provided many insights on real-world coding. First up, Jacob Matthews told us how his views on software development have evolved since his pre-college years. Here he is shown emphasizing the importance of testing:

Next, Vijay Menon extolled the benefits of learning multiple programming languages:

And finally, Jon Trowbridge told us how relational databases are not the be-all-and-end-all of data storage and management, and how Google relies on different approaches for its own data.

Besides the talks, there was also a truly scrumtrulescent dinner:

The captive audience:

And some truly awesome views of downtown Chicago from the 17th floor where Google's conference space is located:

Many thanks to Google's Chicago office for being such an awesome host! And congratulations to our Chicago-area students for making it into Google Summer of Code!

By Borja Sotomayor, University of Chicago Ph.D. Candidate and Google Summer of Code Organization Administrator (Globus Alliance) and Mentor (OpenNebula)
Photos by Anne Celestino and Borja Sotomayor.

Google Chrome’s RLZ library is now open source!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Today on the Chromium blog, we announced that we’re open-sourcing the RLZ library in Google Chrome as its own project. The RLZ library gives us the ability to accurately measure the success of marketing promotions and distribution partnerships in order to meet our contractual and financial obligations. For example, the RLZ library generates a query parameter that sometimes appears in Google search URLs in distributed products:

We’re excited to not only improve the transparency of Google Chrome, but also offer potentially useful code to the open source community. Please check it out and let us know what you think!

Open sourcing Thoughtsite - A discussion forum designed for Google App Engine

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Google App Engine is a powerful system, designed to take all the pain of infrastructure management and performance scaling out of web application programming. App Engine applications are easy to build, easy to maintain, and easy to scale as your traffic and data storage needs grow.

While there are a lot of open source projects available to learn how to use App Engine, there have been few open sourced, comprehensive web applications built on App Engine to help you learn how best to use the advanced features that App Engine provides.

Enter... Thoughtsite!
Thoughtsite is a discussions/forum web app designed for Google App Engine. The main features of the app are:
  • a flexible system that could be used for any kind of discussion forum.
  • voting, tagging, comments and a reputation point system for users.
  • full text search on App Engine with Apache Lucene.
  • search for threads by tags or by keywords. Threads can also be linked to from user profiles.
  • users gain reputation points based on community votes for their contributions.
  • full-fledged user profiles with info, points, contributions, user's personal tag cloud, etc.
  • basic duplication detection filters to detect similar threads so posters can avoid creating a new thread if one already exists.
  • basic spam and gaming filters (self-voting, cross-voting, etc.).
  • comprehensive admin section that allows moderation of individual posts and users. Users can flag objectionable content or trolls.
Best of all, Thoughtsite is completely open source using an Apache 2 license and the code is available for download.

We hope you download the source, take it apart and play with it. Thoughtsite will work as a complete app if you want to use it to host a discussion forum on your own domain, but its real value is in taking it apart to understand how it uses App Engine under the hood.