Posts from July 2012

Geek Time with Eben Moglen

Monday, July 30, 2012

Earlier this year at LibrePlanet 2012, Jeremy Allison caught up with Eben Moglen, head of the Software Freedom Law Center, to discuss the GPLv3 and the software project Freedom Box. Some highlights from the chat are listed below:

What is the role of the Software Freedom Law Center?  (0:27)

Eben discusses the creation of the GPLv3.  (1:30)

By the time the GPLv2 license reached its 15th year he and Richard Stallman realized they needed to update it because of concerns around trusted computing (DRM lockdown) and international patent issues.  (2:24)

Jeremy points out that GPLv3 is not the license that the Linux kernel developers use and they haven’t agreed to adopt it, and asks is this is a big failure?  (3:50)

Jeremy comments that free software is doing well and on an upward trajectory with many people working very hard behind the scenes to work with companies interested in using free software.  (6:25)

Eben talks about the software project called “Freedom Box.”  (8:19)

Jeremy recommends viewing Eben’s keynote speech at LibrePlanet 2012.  (11:45)

Jeremy asks how Eben got started on this career path.  (12:18)

Thank you to Daniel Piccirillo for his great camera work for this interview.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

Make a room come alive with Interactive Spaces

Monday, July 23, 2012

Today, we announce the release of Interactive Spaces, a new API and runtime which allows developers to build interactive applications for physical spaces.

Imagine walking into a room where the room recognizes where you are and responds based on your position.

You can see an example above. There are cameras in the ceiling which are doing blob tracking, in this case the blobs are people walking on the floor. The floor then responds to the blobs by having colored circles appear underneath the feet of someone standing on the floor and then having the circles follow that person around.

Interactive Spaces works by having “consumers” of events, like the floor, connect to “producers” of events, like those cameras in the ceiling. Any number of “producers” and “consumers” can be connected to each other, making it possible to create quite complex behavior in the physical space.

Interactive Spaces is written in Java, so it can run on any operating system that supports Java, including Linux and OSX and soon Windows.

Interactive Spaces provides a collection of libraries for implementing the activities which will run in your interactive space. Implementing an activity can require anything from a few lines in a simple configuration file to you creating the proper interfaces entirely from scratch. The former gets you off the ground very quickly, but limits what your activity can do, while the latter allows you the most power at the cost of more complexity. Interactive Spaces also provides activities’ runtime environment, allowing you to deploy, start, and stop the activities running on multiple computers from a central web application in your local network.

Additional languages like Javascript and Python are supported out of the box. Native applications can also be run, which means packages like openFrameworks which use C++ are also supported out of the box. Plans are also underway for supporting the Processing language.

Sound like fun? Check it out on Google Code.

By Keith Hughes, The Experience Engineering Team

A Turing Complete Puzzle Game

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The code behind the Google doodle celebrating Alan Turing’s 100th birthday is now up on Google code. This animated logic puzzle game appeared on the Google homepage on June 23, 2012. If you missed it, you can still play it in the doodle archives.

Our doodle for Turing's 100th birthday showed a live action Turing Machine with twelve interactive programming puzzles. Turing Machines are theoretical objects in formal logic, not physical things, so we walked a fine line between technical accuracy and accessibility. We focused on finding a good representation for programs and choosing puzzles of appropriate complexity. We did considerable user testing and iteration, more than for any past doodle.

Please enjoy, and feel free to extend and improve the code. Can you think of ways to generalize the game? We have filed some starter issues to whet your appetite. If you are interested, hack away, and we’ll happily review your changes!

By Jered Wierzbicki and Corrie Scalisi, Google software engineers

Smack dab in the middle - Google Summer of Code 2012 midterms are here!

Monday, July 9, 2012

This week marks the halfway point of Google Summer of Code 2012. Both students and mentors will be submitting their midterm evaluations of one another through Friday, July 13th as indicated in our timeline. If you would like to read more about these midterm evaluations, please check out the "How Do Evaluations Work?" link on our FAQ.

The next milestone for the program will be the “pencils down” date of August 13th after which students can take a week to scrub their code, write tests, improve calculations and generally polish their work before the firm end of coding on August 20th.

There has been fantastic progress made so far, and we encourage all the students, mentors, and org admins to keep up the great work!

By Carol Smith, Open Source Team

Everyone's Coming up to the City of Roses

Thursday, July 5, 2012

As the temperatures rise in the northern hemisphere, Googlers from across the world will travel to the City of Roses, (Portland, Oregon) for OSCON, O’Reilly’s 14th annual Open Source convention held July 16-20 at the Oregon Convention Center. Over 2,500 open source enthusiasts from around the world will congregate for sessions and tutorials on everything open source.

This year 18 Googlers will be talking and teaching on a variety of topics with another 30 or so attending the weeklong conference. The schedule of the talks by Googlers are listed below in chronological order.

Monday, July 16th
Google Summer of Code Birds of a Feather (BoF) - All past and present participants in the Google Summer of Code program are welcome to join us, all you need is a free Expo Only Hall pass for OSCON.

Tuesday, July 17th
Andrew Gerrand - “Building real software with Go”

Wednesday, July 18th
Wesley Chun - “Python 3: the Next Generation (is here already)”
Joe Gregorio - “Scaling to 100+ APIs”
Rob Pike and Andrew Gerrand - “The Go 1 Programming Environment”

Bob Evans - “Experience Sampling Experience”
Alex Martelli - "Permission or Forgiveness?”

Thursday, July 19th
Bob Nystrom - “Dart: Google’s evil plot to make it easier for you to build web apps”

Christopher Swenson - “Google Government Public Data: Finding and delivering the world’s government, tabular data”

Chris DiBona - “Ask a Google Engineer Anything”
Google will again sponsor its popular “Ask Google Engineers Anything” session. The session is intended to help developers work better with Googlers and Google technology and to answer most of the questions that developers might be puzzled about.
Ben Collins-Sussman and Brian Fitzpatrick - “The Art of Organizational Manipulation”

Alice Boxhall - “Web Application Accessibility”
Wesley Chun - “Connecting to Twitter and Google+ using Python”

Bob Nystrom - “Office Hour with Bob Nystrom”

Friday, July 20th
Chris DiBona - “Keynote”

Chris DiBona, Shawn Pearce - and Carol Smith - “The Google Open Source Update”
Augie Fackler and Nathaniel Manista - “Stop Mocking, Start Testing”
Justin McWilliams - “Using and Building Open Source in Google Corporate Engineering”

For a complete schedule of talks at OSCON, you can visit the conference site. We hope to see you at OSCON!

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs