Posts from February 2012

Google Code-in students: Simply the best

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

During the Google Code-in contest SymPy had a total of 176 tasks completed by 64 students.

Some highlights of the program:

- The Sympy webpage is now translated into five languages and our tutorial is translated into three languages.

- The interface for SymPy Live was completely rewritten, and many new features, such as tab completion, full screen mode, saved searches, and recent searches were added. We also now have a mobile version of the site available. If you have not used SymPy Live since the start of the Google Code-in program, I encourage you to check it out.

- Our documentation, in particular our Sphinx documentation, was vastly improved. For example, as a result of the program we are now much closer to the goal of including every public functions' docstrings in the Sphinx docs.  We are also now much closer to the goal of complete docstring/doctest coverage for public functions, classes, and methods throughout SymPy. Other documentation was improved as well, such as the isympy manpage and the new cheat sheet.

- Various bug fixes, cleanups, and improvements throughout the code base, as well as changes to our web page and wiki.

For full information about which tasks were completed, see our page on the Google Code-in site.

Thanks to all of these students for your contributions!  We hope that you will continue to contribute to SymPy outside the program, and that you will use SymPy when you find yourself in need of a symbolic mathematics system.

I would also like to thank all the mentors and anyone who helped to review tasks for Google Code-in.
Some of the mentors who helped include: Aaron Meruer, Alexey Gudchenko, Chris Smith, Christian Muise, Hector (Prafullkumar P. Tale), Joachim Durchholz, Mateusz Paprocki, Matthew Rocklin, Ondřej Čertík, Ronan Lamy, Saptarshi Mandal, Stefan Krastanov, and Vladimir Perić.

Thank you to each and every one of you.  Without your mentoring help and assistance with various other things like developing the tasks, SymPy's participation in this contest would not have been possible.

Finally, I want to thank Google for putting on this contest.  This goes out especially to the Google Open Source Programs Office for running the contest and to the developers of Melange, who were helpful throughout the whole process.

By Aaron Meurer and the SymPy development team

Mentoring Organization Applications Now Being Accepted for Google Summer of Code 2012!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Interested in finding bright, enthusiastic new contributors to your open source project? Apply to be a mentoring organization in the Google Summer of Code program. We are now accepting applications from open source projects interested in acting as mentoring organizations.

Now in its eighth year, Google Summer of Code is a program designed to pair university students from around the world with mentors at open source projects in such varied fields as academic research, language translations, content management systems, games, and operating systems. Since 2005, over 6,000 students from 90 countries have completed the Google Summer of Code program with the support of over 350 mentoring organizations. Students gain exposure to real-world software development while earning a stipend for their work and an opportunity to explore areas related to their academic pursuits, thus “flipping bits, not burgers” during their school break. In return, mentoring organizations have the opportunity to identify and attract new developers to their projects as these students often continue their work with the organizations after Google Summer of Code concludes.

This year we are again encouraging experienced Google Summer of Code mentoring organizations to refer newer, smaller organizations they think could benefit from the program to apply. Last year we had 49 of these small organizations join the program and we hope the referral program will again bring many more new organizations to the Google Summer of Code program.

The deadline for applying to be a mentoring organization for Google Summer of Code is Friday, March 9th at 23:00 UTC (3pm PST). The list of accepted organizations will be posted on the Google Summer of Code site on Friday, March 16th. Students will then have 10 days to reach out to the accepted organizations to discuss their project ideas before we begin accepting student applications on March 26th.

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more details. For more information you can check out the Mentor Manual and timeline for and join the discussion group. Good luck to all of our mentoring organization applicants!

By Carol Smith, Open Source Team

Open Monitor: Building a World Wide Internet Connectivity Monitor through Google Summer of Code 2011

Friday, February 24, 2012

Despite all the magnificent improvements to both technology and the internet these days, we lack a free and open source real time internet connectivity monitor from which anyone can tell what the connectivity conditions are in any part of the world. Solving this problem is a huge undertaking, but at Umit Project, we saw a chance to start developing such a solution through the Google Summer of Code when we were chosen as a mentoring organization for the 2011 program.
We chose a hybrid P2P approach that would consist of hybrid peers and a centralized server that we call the aggregator. The hybrid peers would be able to communicate with each other and pass along reports even if direct connection to the aggregator is blocked, acting as both a server and client and promoting themselves to super peers as needed. The aggregator would be responsible for gathering all the connectivity reports from the peers and showing them in real time in a Google App Engine based site using the Google Maps API.

We also thought of having three different kinds of peers: desktop peer, desktop super peer and mobile peer. The desktop peer runs on top of the same code base but promotion to super peer status is based on the peer's availability. The desktop version is very portable (runs on Mac, Linux and Windows) and is written in Python, while the mobile peer is Android based, can not turn into a super peer and is focused on getting us a view from inside mobile ISPs.

We were given three talented students for the three month long Google Summer of Code, and each of them tackled the different pieces of the system. Despite the overwhelming amount of work and the short time frame they were working with, the students managed to get these systems to form a network, communicate, run connectivity tests and share reports.

The Umit Project team has been working very hard since Google Summer of Code ended in August to deliver our first version of Open Monitor and we're very close to releasing an alpha in the next few weeks for selected trusted testers.

If you're interested in knowing more about the project, its motivation, and more technical details about it, we have released a video on YouTube of a presentation given about the project at the Creativity World Forum 2011 and another talk given at the Chicago Python User Group Meeting. Slides of the CWF11 presentation are also available to view.

Special thanks to Google for their amazing Google Summer of Code program!

By Adriano Marques, Director of Umit Project and Google Summer of Code mentor

Cauliflower Vest: end-to-end OS X FileVault 2 recovery key escrow solution

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We are thrilled to announce the open source release of Cauliflower Vest, a solution that we’ve developed to automate enabling FileVault 2 and escrowing recovery tokens.

FileVault 2 is a major, welcome addition to Mac OS X starting with Lion, as full disk encryption is an important part of securing your computer and its data. While the new FileVault 2 offering is very well suited to consumers, some enterprises may require additional features that are not provided out of the box. For example, FileVault 2 encryption is initiated voluntarily by users, lacks enforcement, and, by default, escrows recovery keys to Apple’s central server. It also relies on individual Apple IDs, which cannot be managed as a group.

Cauliflower Vest bridges these feature gaps by allowing enterprise Mac admins to:
  • Forcibly enable FileVault 2 encryption.
  • Automatically escrow recovery keys to a secure Google App Engine server.
  • Securely access recovery keys so that volumes may be unlocked or reverted.

This release includes a GUI client to easily enable encryption, an escrow service, and a web UI for management. Also provided is a standalone CLI tool to automatically initiate encryption and generate a recovery key without requiring any user actions.

Employees at Google self-enable FileVault 2 using Cauliflower Vest - it’s tested and ready to help you make FileVault 2 part of your enterprise.

We are releasing this source code today as part of our commitment to share Google's unique IT approach with the world, including future releases of Simian and more.

For more information, please visit the Cauliflower Vest project page and join the discussion list.

Several Googlers made Cauliflower Vest possible: Anthony Lieuallen, Avi Drissman, Edward Marczak, Felix Gröbert, Greg Castle, John Randolph, Justin McWilliams, and Mark Mentovai.

By Edward Marczak, John Randolph and Justin McWilliams, Google Corporate Platforms Engineering Team

The road not taken: The adventures of a post Google Summer of Code student

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It all started with last year’s Google Summer of Code where I, along with over 1100 others, took part in the program designed to pair university students with open source organizations for a three month project writing code over the summer. I was accepted by OpenMRS, which is an Open Source Medical Record System used by healthcare service providers the world over. I decided to stick around with OpenMRS after the final deadlines went by. That, plus my decision to apply for Google Summer of Code, were probably the wisest decisions I have made  in my entire life.

My association with OpenMRS brought me many noteworthy achievements over the past six months. These victories are priceless, and I wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of them if not for my decision to ‘stay on’ with the organization. It all goes to show that a little commitment and goodwill can take you a long way.

I feel that many students fail to make a very basic observation: that money isn’t the most important Google Summer of Code dividend. Of course, it’s the money that attracts many students (including myself) to these projects initially, and yes, the money does come in very handy. But what many students don’t realize is that it shouldn’t be just about the money. Google Summer of Code is all about connections and experience. Google is offering us a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect with the best and the brightest in the industry; a professional equivalent of ‘sustainable development’ for students. Google Summer of Code can only show us the way, the rest of the journey is up to us. Google gave us the opportunity and it’s up to us to make it work. It took me several months to realize this subtle truth.

At the time I started Google Summer of Code, I was an obscure student living in a small developing country with no real opportunity to move ahead in life. I had no connections, no access to academics in my preferred field of study and no hope of ‘changing the world’. Barely ten months later, I had traveled to three countries (all funded by benevolent mentors), co-authored two research papers (one of them with the co-founder of OpenMRS) and made important contacts from all over the world. I’d worked on some of the best health informatics projects on the planet, visited implementation sites, done cutting edge research work for leading American scholars, helped maintain implementation sites in Africa and, in my own little way, contributed to make the world a better place.

Six months ago, I used to write articles about others for our university newsletter. Now I’m a regular fixture in our local magazines. Instead of the usual chain mails and spam, my inbox now contains serious mails from academics and industry leaders. I’ve learned to communicate well, to work with diverse offshore based teams, to manage my time wisely and to make the best of any situation.

And what did all this cost me? Nothing more than simple good will and a moderate amount of work. Sure there is a certain amount of hard work involved, but if you must work, it should be for something you believe in, and will benefit your future. We have two options: to take the money and run or to be an active participant who benefits by helping improve their mentoring organization.

Writing in the wake of the Google Summer of Code 2012 announcement, I have just one hope - that the next generation of students will see Google Summer of Code for what it really is, and that they will make use of this golden opportunity to change their lives.

By Suranga Nath Kasthurirathne, Google Summer of Code 2011 student and OpenMRS contributor

Google Code-in 2011 Grand Prize Winners... the envelope please!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

We are delighted to announce the grand prize winners of Google Code-in 2011, a contest designed to introduce pre-university students (age 13-17) to the world of open source software development. Congratulations to all 542 students from 56 countries who completed an impressive 3,054 tasks in the contest. All students who participated will receive a t-shirt and a certificate for their participation in the contest. Those students who successfully completed 3 or more tasks will be receiving a small monetary prize as well.

And the 10 grand prize winners are... (in alphabetical order by first name)

Aaron S. - United States
Abhishek A. - India
Aneesh D. - India
Cheng S. - United Kingdom
Edward W. - Canada
Gaurav N. - India
Gautam G. - India
Laurentiu I. - Romania
Oana S. - Romania
Shitiz G. - India

These 10 pre-university students completed an impressive 449 tasks during the eight week contest period. The grand prize winners will be flown to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California in early June along with a parent or legal guardian for a four night trip. During the trip they will have an awards ceremony, an opportunity to meet with Google engineers, and enjoy a fun day exploring San Francisco.

Thank you to all of the students, mentors, organization administrators and the many IT teachers who encouraged their students to learn more about the world of open source.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

Drupal Usability Study at Google livestreamed to 100+

Friday, February 10, 2012

I am excited to announce what a huge success the Drupal usability studies were last week! We livestreamed 8 usability sessions using both Google+ Hangouts on Air and and had over 115 people watching live! The exciting conversations taking place in the #drupal-usability IRC channel proved how powerful live events are; the community truly came together through a process of collaborative brainstorming and experiencing the struggles of new users collectively as they happened.

Our usability lab setup was flawless thanks to the masterful help of my friend and coworker Garen Checkley. Jen Lampton from Chapter Three served as the help desk support for study participants during the session. I moderated the sessions and walked participants through different tasks that we created along with the help of Bojhan Somers and Angie Byron.

We divided our study participants into 2 groups to study; one using vanilla Drupal 7 to observe where new users had trouble understanding the the basic system, and one working with a custom Drupal 7 install that already had specific contrib-modules installed and enabled to gain insight into usability issues with specific interfaces, especially the hugely popular module Views."

Currently we are beginning the process of turning our findings into actionable items that we can put into issue queues. The Drupal Usability group will work hard to act on the results of this study to improve Drupal. Recorded videos of the sessions can now be viewed on our YouTube playlist.

Additionally, I have posted a video of my presentation “User Experience for You and Drupal too!” with Jen Lampton from Drupal Camp San Diego (SANDCamp) in an article on my blog. Be sure to check out the video for an overview of fundamental principles of user experience and how UX has evolved in the Drupal community.

When our findings and results from the study become more refined, Garen will write another blog post on this blog to share our findings and some more links. Until then, make sure to get involved with the Drupal Usability group if you are interested in helping to act on the findings of these studies and continue to make Drupal better!

By Becky Gessler, Google Search Quality team

Google Code-in 2011 Stats to Ponder

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For Google Code-in 2011 we had 542 pre-university students (ages 13-17) from 56 countries complete an astounding 3,054 tasks for 18 open source organizations during the eight week contest period.  59.8% of the students completed 3 or more tasks in the contest.

The graph below illustrates the 10 countries with the highest number of students participating in Google Code-in 2011.

The five schools with the largest number of students participating in Google Code-in 2011 are listed below:
- Technical School Electronic Systems associated with Technical University - Sofia in Bulgaria had an impressive 49 students participating.
- XIV Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Stanisława Staszica w Warszawie in Poland
- Roman-Vodă National College in Romania
- Ankara Polis Koleji in Turkey
- "Tiberiu Popoviciu" I.T. High School from Cluj-Napoca in Romania

We had 307 dedicated mentors and organization administrators from 51 countries helping the students throughout the contest. Mentors hailed from all corners of the globe from places such as New Zealand, Uzbekistan, Peru, Bangladesh, Germany, South Africa and all parts in between.

Thank you to all of the students, mentors and organization administrators who helped make Google Code-in 2011 a success.

Stay tuned to this blog as we will announce the 10 grand prize winners for Google Code-in 2011 on February 14.

If you are a university student at least 18 years of age and would like to work on open source projects this summer (or winter for our southern hemisphere friends) then please look into our Google Summer of Code 2012 program that we recently announced.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

Google Summer of Code 2012 is on!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I am proud to share the news that Google Summer of Code 2012 was announced this morning at FOSDEM.

This will be the 8th year for Google Summer of Code, an innovative program dedicated to introducing students from colleges and universities around the world to open source software development. The program offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects with the help of mentoring organizations from all around the globe. Over the past seven years Google Summer of Code has had 6,000 students from over 90 countries complete the program. Our goal is to help these students pursue academic challenges over the summer break while they create and release open source code for the benefit of all.

Spread the word to your friends! If you know of a university student that would be interested in working on open source projects this summer, or if you know of an organization that might want to mentor students to work on their open source projects, please direct them to our Google Summer of Code 2012 website where they can find our timeline along with the FAQs. And stay tuned for more details coming soon!

By Carol Smith, Open Source Team