Posts from August 2010

An update on JavaOne

Friday, August 27, 2010

(Cross-posted from the Google Code Blog)

Like many of you, every year we look forward to the workshops, conferences and events related to open source software. In our view, these are among the best ways we can engage the community, by sharing our experiences and learning from yours. So we’re sad to announce that we won't be able to present at JavaOne this year. We wish that we could, but Oracle’s recent lawsuit against Google and open source has made it impossible for us to freely share our thoughts about the future of Java and open source generally. This is a painful realization for us, as we've participated in every JavaOne since 2004, and I personally have spoken at all but the first in 1996.

We understand that this may disappoint and inconvenience many of you, but we look forward to presenting at other venues soon. We’re proud to participate in the open source Java community, and look forward to finding additional ways to engage and contribute.

Interviews from GUADEC, Part 2

At many open source conferences, discussions about diversity come up and there is a lot of talk about how to make the open source community more inclusive and welcoming. While the Open Source Programs Office’s Jeremy Allison was at GUADEC, he had a chance to talk to someone who is actively doing something to get more women involved in free software. Marina Zhurakhinskaya, GNOME Shell developer and Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat, is an organizer of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women and she spoke to Jeremy on camera about the program’s activities.

One of the projects that the program has completed was a mentoring program similar to Google Summer of Code, which provided six women with mentors and stipends to help stimulate open source development. They plan to repeat their success again this year with the 2010 GNOME Outreach Program for Women, which will run from mid-December through mid-March to coincide with the Southern Hemisphere’s school break. If you’re interested in participating, take a look at the list of participating projects to see what sparks your interest, check out the mailing list, or help spread the word to anyone who you think should apply!

Thanks to Fabian Scherschel of Sixgun Productions for operating the camera.

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team

Acre, an open source platform for building Freebase apps

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Freebase is an open, Creative Commons licensed repository of structured data that contains information about 12 million real-world entities including people, places, films, books, events, businesses, and almost any other thing you can imagine. Our graph database has about 400 million facts and connections between entities, and all of it is accessible via our REST API. Freebase was acquired by Google last month, and one thing we knew would happen was that Freebase would become “even more open.”

We first launched Acre, the hosted, server-side JavaScript platform behind Freebase Apps, just over a year ago. Since then it's become more and more important to us and to the Freebase community. Not only are all kinds of individual developers and businesses using Acre to build apps and integrate Freebase data into their own platforms, but we've also recently announced our intention to develop the site on the platform, too.

Until now, Acre development has always been tied to, meaning that you need to develop your Acre apps on our server, using our app editor. But we know that most software developers prefer to use their own native development environments -- their favourite text editor, version control system, and so on -- so lately we've been working on ways to make Acre work with source code that's not stored in Freebase.

Last week we announced that we're releasing the Acre platform as open source software. This means that you can run Acre on your own machine, pulling templates and other files from your local disk and using your own development environment. While Acre still has close ties to Freebase (such as API hooks for easily making Freebase queries), this also means that you'll be able to develop standalone, non-Freebase apps using the platform if you want. And, by running Acre on your own platform, you can avoid the resource limitations that are necessary in a shared environment.

If you're interested in server-side JavaScript platforms, you may also be interested in some of the technical details of Acre.
  • Acre is based on Rhino, Mozilla's implementation of Javascript in Java. (In fact, "Acre" stands for "A Crash of Rhinos Evaluating.") Acre, by default, uses the Jetty servlet engine as its HTTP server, but can be run in any servlet container.
  • Acre includes a module system that supports high-latency source retrieval using extensive caching. Although Acre was originally designed to fetch data only from Freebase itself, it can also fetch data from disk and will support a wider range of require() options such as WebDAV.
  • Acre is capable of running on Google AppEngine, with support for the Keystore and for synchronous and asynchronous HTTP requests. Soon, Freebase's own Acre installation will run on AppEngine.
Please download Acre and try it out, and let us know what you think! You might also like to look at some of our other open source releases, like freebase-python (a Python library for working with the Freebase API) or freebase-suggest (a jQuery plugin that makes it easy to have your users select Freebase topics based on any criteria). For more information about Freebase and our open source efforts, see the Freebase wiki or post to the freebase-discuss mailing list.

By Kirrily Robert, Freebase Team

Our 6th Google Summer of Code Has Come to an End

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We’ve just finished our 6th year of Google Summer of Code™, our innovative program designed to introduce students at colleges and universities around the world to open source software development. Over 2000 mentors and over 1000 students from 69 countries began working together on over 150 open source software projects, and we're happy to announce that 89% of our student participants have received passing final evaluations, which is about 4% better than 2009. This is our best success rate to date.

These successful students are now preparing code samples to present to the rest of the world; we'll post an update here when the source code produced during this year's Google Summer of Code has been made available on project hosting on Google Code. Of course, there's no need to wait for code samples - you can check out their work by visiting the websites and mailing lists of the participating projects now. We'll also be publishing more extensive statistics from our program evaluations, along with wrap up reports from some of our participating mentoring organizations, so stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.

Congratulations to all of our students for their hard work this summer. We hope you will continue working with your project communities with source code, documentation, and enthusiasm long after this summer has ended. Many thanks also to our community of mentors whose time, skill and dedication make this program possible.

Interviews @ GUADEC, part 1

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jeremy Allison, co-founder of Samba and member of the Google Open Source Programs Office, recently returned from GUADEC, the GNOME conference held in The Hague, Netherlands. Jeremy was kind enough to bring his video camera along with him so he could interview some open source community notables and share the recordings here on this blog.

Jeremy’s first interview is with Bradley Kuhn, who is a board member of the Free Software Foundation, the president of Software Freedom Conservancy, and the Policy Analyst and Technology Director at the Software Freedom Law Center. Jeremy and Bradley discuss the GPLv3 and Bradley’s work as an advocate of free and open source software.

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team

Ready, Set, Go

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rob Pike, Google Distinguished Engineer and co-creator of the Go programming language, presented an OSCON keynote last month about his motivations for creating Go. For those of you who weren’t able to catch Rob in person, you can now watch the video of his talk.

If you’ve been curious about an open source programming language that offers, in the Go team’s words, “the development speed of working in a dynamic language like Python with the performance and safety of a compiled language like C or C++,” check out the video and then get Going!

by Ellen Ko, Open Source Team

FISL, I was there \o/

Friday, August 13, 2010

GNU and Me

My name is Marcos Paulino Roriz Junior, and I’m participating in Google Summer of Code™ for the first time this year. I’m really excited because I’ve been developing in Java for some time and this is my first step into FOSS. My project is hacking on GNU Classpath on Escher which is an X11 client written in Java, used by the XPeer code to request and handle drawings. I’m learning the X11 protocol which is amazingly cool and surely ahead of it’s time. This is not only helping me with Google Summer of Code but is also the main protocol behind thew idea that I’m using in my final year project.

When I applied to Google Summer of Code I had no idea how it was going to change my life. So far I have not only learned new things, but also met awesome developers. The climax of this was when I joined several other Brazillian students to ask Google for some financial help so that we could travel to FISL (Forum Internacional de Software Livre – International Free Software Forum) in Brazil. Google did an amazing favor and helped us so that we could learn about and spread free software to others. I met with several other students from the #gsoc-br IRC channel, met excellent FOSS developers, and gave a lecture about the Google Summer of Code experience.

At that talk I met more Google Summer of Code students, we shared our difficulties and we exchanged tips on how to solve problems. They all laughed a me when I said that I preferred svn over dscm, like git or mercurial. But at the same time they gave me a very brief and informal talk/introduction to git (which I’m kinda liking). I talked also a lot about X and XCB with friends and hackers there since it’s directly related to my proposal.

Google Summer of Code Students

I had a chance to meet some seriously cool developers (like Jon “Maddog” Hall) and attend amazing talks (like Glassfish in OSGi Bundles and What’s New on OpenJDK 7). Overall, It was a amazing experience, and I want to thank again Google, all the cool people at FISL and my mentor Mario Torre, who understands that I’m a little behind on my project but getting back to the schedule now =).

By Marcos Roriz, 2010 Google Summer of Code Student

BSDCan through the years

Monday, August 9, 2010

I’m Kirk Russell, a Google Site Reliability Engineer who moves files around the cloud at a massive scale. I use BSD software on a daily basis -- in my Android phone, my home NAS and my MacBook. My newest toy is a small ARM board that runs FreeBSD.

Earlier this year I attended BSDCan, a software conference for BSD based operating system projects. I attended this conference to learn about new BSD technology that will someday become part of my daily life and to meet people with similar interests -- there is time to chat in-between the scheduled talks and in the pub. BSDCan is a conference where I learn about new development that I can put to use both at work and at home. Learning these things from the original developers makes it that much more interesting.

Here is a quick reflection on some highlights of past conferences:
In 2004, I attended Ryan McBride's talk about PF, a BSD licensed packet filter.

In 2005, I learned about spamd at a talk from Bob Beck. After the conference, I deployed spamd at home -- my spam count dropped to almost zero. Spamd uses PF to block spam at the IP level. This saves resources on your server because you do not actually receive the mail. Adding packet filtering features to the base operating system has enabled new applicaitions, like spamd, to develop.

In 2006, I attended the Debugging Kernel Problems tutorial (PDF) given by Greg Lehey-- I continue to use these debugging tricks when debugging FreeBSD kernels today.

I attended Pawel Dawidek's ZFS talk in 2007. Today I use FreeBSD/ZFS on my home NAS -- I wouldn't think of running my NAS without the features of ZFS. I want my data to have data corruption detection. It is fantastic that a production filesystem can work in my tiny NAS! In 2007 I also saw the brilliant Poisonous People talk by Brian Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman. Part of this talk is about avoiding bikeshedding -- it was funny to watch when Fitz and Ben realized that Poul-Henning Kamp, the author of the original bikeshed email, was attending their talk.

2009 was a good year for NetBSD and filesystems. There was a talk about WAPBL a journaling filesystem in the NetBSD tree and RUMP -- a framework that allows NetBSD kernel filesystem code to execute in user space.

2010 showed BSD continuing to be used as a platform for OS research. Kirk McKusick's new Journaled Soft-Update improvements now allows fsck in a few seconds, instead of hours.
The BSD community continues to produce exciting software that can be used in small gadgets and production servers and BSDCan continues to be a fantastic venue to meet the people behind the scenes. Congrats to Dan and his team to volunteers -- I am looking forward to 2011.

By Kirk Russell, Site Reliability Team

São Paulo Open Source Jam 2

Friday, August 6, 2010

On July 14th, Google Brazil hosted the 2nd Open Source Jam in São Paulo, Brazil. We had about 40 attendees and 10 talks! Here is a quick summary of the talks that were given.

The jam began at about 19:00, and after Rodolpho Eckhardt welcomed our guests, João Paulo Rechi Vita presented his Google Summer of Code™ project on improving support of AVRCP (Audio and Video Remote Control Profile), a Bluetooth protocol for controlling media players, in BlueZ.

Next, Rodrigo Strauss talked about his “nosql“ multi-platform container server Tio built using a publish/subscribe pattern.

Rodrigo Strauss and his NoSql project Tio

The third project presented was the GPL v3-licensed LibreDWG by Anderson Cardoso, an Open Source implementation of the DWG format used by several CAD applications.

Guilherme Chapiewski talked about acceptance tests using Pyccuracy, a tool for behavior-driven development written in Python.

CoGroo, an open source grammatical structure checker for Portuguese for OpenOffice, was presented by Wesley Seidel.

For the last talk before a break, Saracura was introduced to us as a concept to fill the gap between weather forecasts, reports and collective intelligence among people. By cross-checking the available information, disasters could be prevented or alleviated.

André Luiz introducing Saracura

After six talks it was time for a break. Delicious pizza helped spur conversations among attendees, who talked about their projects and established new contacts. There was so much pizza it had to be delivered by taxi instead of the usual delivery by motorcycle.

Following the break, Radames presented IT3S, a project which intents to promote the use of information technologies with non-profit organizations.

Radamés describing his work at IT3S.

Milton Afonso showed his concept for a framework providing a multi-language programming environment. Alan Justino took the opportunity to start a small debate on certain issues with object-relational mappings. Potential solutions were discussed, as well as comments and ideas.

Alan Justino answering the questions

Our last talk of the day was presented by Luciano Ramalho who talked about ISIS-DM, an independent API for database schema definition and data extraction.

We'd like to thank everybody who attended the 2nd Google Open Source Jam in São Paulo and hope to see you again next time. If you have missed this jam, stay tuned on our events by joining the Open Source Jam Brazil Google Group! Open Source Jams are hosted by the Google Open Source Team.

By Licio Fonseca, Hardware Operations Team

Google Summer of Code Midterm Evaluations

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Midterm evaluations for Google Summer of Code 2010™ have wrapped up and we have some great news about the program.

Out of the over 1,000 participating students from the beginning of the program, 964 have passed their midterm evaluation. That’s just a over 90% pass rate - exactly on target for what we expect from the program.

Since Google Summer of Code started in 2005, we’ve had over 5,000 students complete the Google Summer of Code program. Take a look at the timeline on our website for more details about the program - our final evaluations are approaching!