Posts from January 2014

Google Summer of Code Veteran Org: KDE

Friday, January 31, 2014

Next week the application period for mentoring organizations for Google Summer of Code 2014 begins. For our 11th veteran GSoC post, the KDE team talks about a few of their students and their overall experience in the 2013 program.

Google Summer of Code 2013 saw 50 enthusiastic students coding for the summer, guided and assisted by their KDE mentors. In a span of ninety days, the students learned, innovated, created and contributed to one of the largest free and open source communities, and developed software that may affect users all over the world. As members of the KDE community, they've gained insights into the way the community functions and have had enlightening interactions with enthusiastic community members.

GSoC students and mentors have shared some quick thoughts on their experiences below:

Matěj Laitl (who worked on Amarok) joked that what he loved most about GSoC was that he got to spend his summer flipping bits instead of burgers!

"The satisfaction of working on a real life project and writing code for software which would perhaps be used by millions of people is indescribable.” -- Akshay Ratan (Plasma Media Center)

“The entire journey was truly remarkable and cannot be forgotten." -- Lukas Appelhans (Muon

Albert Vaca (KDE Connect) felt that he learned a lot throughout GSoC and was happy to work with such awesome mentors and believed that without their help and advice the project wouldn't have been possible.

"I first saw the GSoC poster in 2012, but at that time I didn't believe myself to be qualified enough to participate in it. But this year, my final year in college, I had made up my mind and this entire journey was a great learning experience for me!"  -- Yiou Wang (DigiKam

"It has been an amazing summer during which I've learned so much. I have evolved from a web newbie to a web enthusiast and had the chance to meet great people." -- Andrei Duma (Marble

Claudio Desideri working on Gluon as a part of GSoC said, "the possibility to learn new things, work on so many parts of a project, with so many technologies" kept him motivated!

Utku Aydin discovered something interesting during GSoC, "...that one can have a love–hate relationship with C++."

Lydia Pintscher, the main org admin and a driving force of GSoC in KDE, said, "I'm thrilled to see our community take such a large number of young bright people by the hand. Google Summer of Code and KDE have made such a profound difference in the lives of the students of previous years. I am looking forward to seeing where this year's students are going and how the projects they worked on are going to turn out."

Students worked on a vast array of KDE projects and developed new features this summer including:

  • A new collaborative text editor based on KTextEditor and KDE Telepathy
  • Animation support in Krita, a digital painting suite for real artists—professionals and those who create for the love and fun of it
  • Communication between a user’s Android phone and their KDE desktop, with features such as desktop notification of new messages, syncing photos over WiFi, pausing music automatically during a call and more.

New KDE applications were added by GSoC students, such as:

  • Artikulate – a foreign language pronunciation trainer
  • Khipu - an advanced mathematical function (2D and 3D) plotter
  • A web interface for KDE project reporting that provides information along with statistics and graphical reports
  • A localization team management tool that handles tasks such as application booking and the review process. Localization includes translation, documentation, and internationalization. KDE is translated into more than 100 languages.

To learn more about KDE participation in Google Summer of Code, please read this comprehensive report.

Thank You
A big thank you to the people in the KDE community who have been so supportive and have encouraged students to contribute to open source as part of the community. And thank you to the mentors for the time and effort put into guiding these students and for your assistance from the beginning—proposing meaningful GSoC projects—to the completion of those projects. And many thanks to the GSoC students who worked so diligently on their projects, helping to bring new ideas and energy to free and open source software.

Google Summer of Code is many months of hard work for everyone involved. It produces surprising results and fresh enthusiasm. It helps shape minds and attitudes, provides valuable experiences and delightful, life-long memories. It fosters a new sense of freedom and opens possibilities for the participants and the people who are touched by their work. The program and its participants are the epitome of the power of free and open source software.

By Devaja Shah, KDE team

GSoC meetup at ETH Zürich

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

As we start the 10th year of Google Summer of Code in 2014, GSoC supporters from around the world have been hosting meetups to encourage even more students to apply for the program this March. Below, we have a student from last year’s program discussing a recent meetup he and other interested students organized in Zurich, Switzerland.

Being part of Google Summer of Code 2013 was an amazing experience. As a new masters student at ETH Zürich, I decided that it would be a good idea to spread the word about the upcoming Google Summer of Code, and motivate more students to take part in 2014.

I began by looking for past GSoC students and mentors who are located in Switzerland. It was a lengthy process, but we were able to gather up a few people into a Google group. It was exciting to find that many people were also eager to share their experiences, as well as meet fellow GSoC alumni. Veronica even offered to come over for the event from Neuchâtel, almost on the other side of Switzerland!

Thanks to Sabina and some random but fortunate chain of connections, we were able to get the interest of Wolf and Iurii of Google Zurich, who offered to speak about their experiences (and also bring over GSoC stickers and pens). It really is great to have the Engineering HQ of Google EMEA next door!

Soon, a room was booked, a flyer was designed (with over 700 given out), emails were sent out, our event was registered into the official ETH calendar, and the Google Slides were starting to take shape from the collaboration of everyone from gsoc-ch.

The day of the talk quickly came and we were anxious to see the result of our work. The projector was working fine, the second slide faded in gracefully, and all the speakers were present. Things couldn’t be better.

The session kicked off with a brief introduction to Google Summer of Code. Many students did not know much about GSoC and were interested to find out that projects ranged across many areas of study.

After the brief talk, we moved on to presenting personal projects and experiences. It was interesting to hear the varied takes on GSoC, and about what a mentor’s life is like. From stories of how the first $500 kept a student fed as well as unfortunate disappearances, the talk quickly became a very amusing and vibrant exchange between the speakers and students.
The Speakers: Seon-Wook, Wolf, Veronica, lurii, Jasper, Imran, and Sabina (left to right)

By the end of the hour and half long event, it seemed like many students had been sold on the benefits of GSoC. We gathered around to take a group photo, and dispersed knowing that we had done something good and worthwhile.

The next day brought feedback from my peers who had attended the talk. They had been won over, and were seriously considering an application to Google Summer of Code 2014. It is great to know that our efforts were not wasted!

The Google Group for GSoC alumni and prospective students in Switzerland lives on. Do stop by if you have questions, or would just like to say hello!

By Seon-Wook Park, GSoC 2013 M-Lab student

Google Code-in 2013 - drumroll please!

Monday, January 20, 2014

It’s time to announce this year’s 20 grand prize winners in the Google Code-in 2013 contest! Over the last seven weeks, 337 teenagers from 46 countries have been busy working with open source organizations to write code, fix bugs, create documentation and find creative ways to get other students interested in participating in open source, completing a total of 2,113 tasks! Congratulations to all of the students who participated in this year’s contest! You should all be very proud of yourselves.

Each of the 10 open source organizations that worked with students during the contest chose 2 students to be their organization’s grand prize winners based on the students’ comprehensive body of work.

The grand prize winners are listed below alphabetically (by first name) with their country and the organization that they worked with during Google Code-in 2013.

Akshaykumar Kalose, United States - Sahana Software Foundation
Anurag Sharma, India - Sahana Software Foundation
Benjamin Kaiser, Australia - KDE
Chirayu Desai, India - RTEMS
Dalimil Hájek, Czech Republic - Apertium
Daniel Ramirez, United States - RTEMS
Freeman Lou, United States - Haiku
Ignacio Rodríguez, Uruguay - Sugar Labs
Jacob Burroughs, United States - BRL-CAD
Jorge Alberto Gómez López, El Salvador - Sugar Labs
Mark Klein, United States - Drupal
Mateusz Maćkowski, Poland - Wikimedia
Matt Habel, United States - Copyleft Games Group
Mikhail Ivchenko, Russian Federation - KDE
Peter Amidon, United States - BRL-CAD
Puck Meerburg, Netherlands - Haiku
Samuel Kim, United States - Copyleft Games Group
Sushain Cherivirala, United States - Apertium
Theo Patt, United States - Wikimedia
Vijay Nandwani, India - Drupal

Congratulations to these 20 pre-university students who completed a remarkable 650 tasks during the contest. We asked the students to tell us a bit about their favorite tasks they worked on in the contest and here are descriptions of a few of the tasks in the students’ words:
The task was about creating a screencast of coding a Hello world module for Drupal 8. It was an ordinary task but it helped me gain recognition in the whole Drupal community. The video was also appreciated and discussed on social networks. -- Vijay Nandwani 
One of my favorite tasks was revamping the "other languages" feature on the mobile Wikipedia, for which I both added features and noticeably reduced page load times. -- Theo Patt 
My favorite task was to modify DriveSetup to make the window zoom-able. It seemed like a simple task but I was still unfamiliar with the Haiku API, so there was a bit of challenge to it. -- Freeman Lou 
I added support for new types of Flickr URLs for UploadWizard extension for MediaWiki. -- Mateusz Maćkowski
For their grand prize trip the 20 students will be flown to Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters along with a parent or legal guardian in mid April for a four night trip. Students will talk with Google engineers, take part in an awards ceremony, enjoy time exploring San Francisco and best of all make new friends also interested in technology and open source development.

We have a special surprise in store for this year’s grand prize winners -- each year the students tell us they’d like to meet the mentors that they worked with during the contest so this year we are doing just that -- one mentor from each organization will be joining the students on the grand prize trip.

A huge thanks to all of the students, mentors, organization administrators, teachers and parents that made Google Code-in 2013 awesome!

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

GSoC Meetup in Coimbatore, India

Friday, January 17, 2014

In celebration of the 10th year of Google Summer of Code in 2014, many former students, mentors, and open source enthusiasts have been hosting GSoC meetups around the globe to introduce new students to the program.  Below we have a guest post from Sarup Banskota, 2013 GSoC student with Fedora.

Some of us geeks here at Amrita University, Coimbatore, India run the tech{know}logy club and we're always trying to inspire college students to be creative and develop new ideas and implement those ideas.

We value FOSS principles throughout, and just when a tech{know}logy primer on FOSS techniques was in the pipeline, Google announced the Google Summer of Code program for 2014. We've had two past GSoC'ers, Yeswanth with the Python Software Foundation in 2011, and myself, Sarup Banskota, with the Fedora Project in 2013. Encouraged by excitement from the students, we decided to host a meetup.

The agenda was clear -- introduce students to the FOSS community and encourage them to participate in GSoC and the Gnome OPW program. With support from the CS department here at Amrita, we managed to book a hall, get loads of flyers printed, and generate interest in the classrooms.

On event day, we had about 60 students and a professor attend. There were people new to programming and there were others who had some idea about FOSS but wanted help getting started. We started off with the GSoC slide deck, stopping in between to discuss past projects and answering questions. I demonstrated GlitterGallery, the GitHub for designers I built over the summer.

To give the event an open source feel, we set up an IRC channel, mailing lists and a GitHub repo. I gave a primer on Git (which was gamified and received a lot of interest) and for part of the lesson we collaboratively built a fun project together! There were people sending in pull requests and asking questions on IRC. It was a very exciting half hour, after which we took a break and distributed some Google swag.

It was a fantastic Saturday on 9th November, and we hope a lot of the attendees will venture out to open source communities of their choice and contribute! I already had a couple of contributors come by and commit to GlitterGallery, and I hear a few others have started contributing to Gnome and Mozilla.

I'd really like to thank everyone who turned up, and my friends Aravind, Archit, Madhu, Manjush and Romil for being awesome geeks and helping out during the event. Special thanks to Kriti for the publicity and for covering the event on her blog.

By Sarup Banskota, Google Summer of Code 2013 Fedora Project student

Introducing InFact library

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Have you ever heard of Greenspun’s Tenth Rule?  It says
Any sufficiently complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden, slow implementation of half of Common Lisp.
This is remarkably true in practice, especially when it comes to configuring a large system at run-time. For programming languages like Java that have full reflection capabilities, one can use the language itself as a way to execute code on the fly, as is done by the BeanShell library. In C++, there is no equivalent mechanism.

Today we announce a new, lightweight library called InFact that serves as an interpreter and factory for C++ objects.  Since C++ does not have reflection, we require a tiny bit of help from the programmer, but we have kept that burden very low. InFact can interpret a set of assignment statements at run-time, then the programmer can access variables from the interpreter’s environment. The language is small and formally specified, and intentionally bears close similarity to C++ itself. The interpreter is also lightweight.

The language supports the most common primitive types (bool, int, double and string), objects that are constructed via a Factory class, as well as arrays of primitives or objects, and it can construct objects that wrap other objects.  Here’s a brief example:
// Construct a cow with a required argument, its name.
Cow c1 = Cow(name("Bessie"));

// Construct a second cow with a different name, and an optional age.
// Also, specifying a type is optional, since InFact does type
// inference.
c2 = Cow(name("Lani Moo"), age(2));

// Construct a human pet owner with the two cows as pets.
PetOwner p = HumanPetOwner(pets({c1, c2}));

InFact evolved from the Reranker Framework open source project, which uses it as its configuration mechanism.  InFact is available today from Google Code at

By Dan Bikel, Senior Research Scientist

Introducing benchmark

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It is my pleasure to announce a new C++ library for running Microbenchmarks. Inspired by googletest and the xUnit architecture, benchmark supports value- and type-parameterized benchmarks, various options for running the benchmarks including multithreading, and custom report generation.

The framework is lightweight but powerful. An example portion of a run comparing the insertion of elements into a std::vector and a std::list is shown in the screenshot below.
Unlike googletest, the benchmarks are not automatically discovered, but this allows greater flexibility in terms of how the benchmarks are run, and the parameters that are used by the benchmark.

The benchmark library is released as an open source project under the Apache license, and is available now on github. The repository includes some test code demonstrating various use-cases for the framework. If you’d like to send feedback, or have any questions, please open issues through github, or see our discussion group. I hope you find this useful.

By Dominic Hamon, Network Research Team

A better way to explore and learn on GitHub

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cross posted from the Google Cloud Platform Blog

Almost one year ago, Google Cloud Platform launched our GitHub organization, with repositories ranging from tutorials to samples to utilities. This is where developers could find all resources relating to the platform, and get started developing quickly. We started with 36 repositories, with lofty plans to add more over time in response to requests from you, our developers. Many product releases, feature launches, and one logo redesign later, we are now up to 123 repositories illustrating how to use all parts of our platform!
Despite some clever naming schemes, it was becoming difficult to find exactly the code that you wanted amongst all of our repositories. Idly browsing through over 100 options wasn’t productive. The repository names gave you an idea of what stacks they used, but not what problems they solved.

Today, we are making it easier to browse our repositories and search for sample code with our landing page at Whether you want to find all Compute Engine resources, locate all samples that are available in your particular stack, or find examples that fit your particular area of interest, you can find it with the new GitHub page. We’ll be rotating the repositories in the featured section, so make sure to wander that way from time to time.

We are very committed to open source at Google Cloud Platform. Please let us know what kind of samples and tools that you’d like to see from the team. We’re looking forward to many more commits ahead!

By Julia Ferraioli, Developer Advocate

Google Summer of Code Veteran Orgs: openSUSE

Friday, January 10, 2014

Everything is about the number 10. For our tenth guest post, written by veteran Google Summer of Code Org Admins, the openSUSE folks talk about their 10 successful student projects for summer 2013.
Google Summer of Code 2013 was the sixth year openSUSE participated as a mentoring organization in the program. We were happy to have 10 of our student projects completed successfully. Our students put in a lot of effort writing code, documenting it and in the process, learning a lot over the summer.

Below is a short summary of the work our students completed this summer:
1.) Xystushi created a Git review system. A lot of code has been refactored from the ground up, important bugs fixed and new features have been added.
2.) Kshitij developed tools for AppArmor Profiling. The command line versions have been created for all the tools. There were some setbacks on the YaST based GUI frontend, but the overall project was successful. Kshitij will be working to complete the GUI based tools in the coming weeks.
3.) Akif Khan wrote a standalone application that can perform automatic resizing of File System and Logical Volumes. This tool can be called by the package manager during installation when encountering a low space exception. The tool can also perform automatic resizing if the free space required by a user for a particular volume decreases below a certain level.
4.) The music app for ownCloud that Morris Jobke developed this summer lets you scan, browse and listen to your music. The final polish on the app is scheduled for the next ownCloud release.
5.) Periklis Natansis wrote a new campaign mission for the game Hedgewars, which is about a hedgehog’s journey in the stars to save his home planet. It will be included in the next Hedgewars release.
6.) Gyula Petrovics wrote a MySQL destination driver for syslog-ng.
7.) Tihamér Petrovics created a Redis Destination for syslog-ng.
8.) Shayon Mukherjee worked on creating a Discussion System for the Open Build Service(OBS). The project has already been integrated with the OBS, and is proving very useful to packagers and maintainers. He wrote a series of blog posts at the end of GSoC, detailing his experiences.
9.) Stella Rouzi created the OSEM, Open Source Event Management system. This has system has already been tried and tested during the recent openSUSE Conference in July, and the upcoming openSUSE Summit. The system was well received at the openSUSE Conference, and all visitors got a first hand demonstration on registering, submitting talks, managing schedules, etc. OSEM will be the backbone of future openSUSE Conferences and Summits.
10.) Raghu Nayyar created a User Management Application for ownCloud. The project has been completed and integrated with the ownCloud Code.

Thanks to our awesome students who keep the spirit of open source and open source communities alive. You guys rock!! Many thanks to the mentors who took valuable time out of their busy schedules to assist the students. A lot of appreciation goes to Google for managing the program year in and year out; Google Summer of Code really is an awesome program. We will most certainly apply in 2014 for the 10th year of the program.

By Saurabh Sood, openSUSE Organization Administator

Google Code-in 2013 comes to an end

Monday, January 6, 2014

Google Code-in 2013, our contest introducing 13-17 year old pre-university students to open source software development ended earlier today.

Congratulations to the 334* students from around the world who have been working very hard over the last seven weeks completing 2,100* tasks in the contest. Students completed tasks like writing small pieces of code, creating tutorials to help new users of the software, reporting bugs, writing documentation for the open source projects and hosting information sessions about the projects in their local communities or via Hangouts.

Not only did students gain real world experience working with 10 open source software projects during the contest and applying the skills they learned in their studies, they also learned how to work collaboratively with a community of developers. As students worked on their tasks, there were mentors available to help guide them and teach them new skills and knowledge about how open source software projects work. Students also earned fun prizes like t-shirts and certificates.

We will be announcing the 20 grand prize winners for Google Code-in 2013 on Monday, January 20th on this blog. Each of the 10 open source projects will choose 2 students to be their grand prize winners. These students will receive a trip for themselves and a parent/legal guardian to Google’s Mountain View, CA headquarters for four days this April where they will meet with Google engineers, explore the Google campus and enjoy a day full of adventures in San Francisco.

Congratulations to all of the students who participated in the contest.  We hope you all had fun working with the open source organizations and mentors and continue to stay involved in the community or with other open source projects in the future.

The success of the contest comes not only from the hard work and enthusiasm of the students but also the dedication of the mentors and organization administrators who volunteer their time to help young students learn about open source development and their communities. Thank you to all of you for the many busy nights, weekends and holidays you dedicated to helping this year’s students. This contest would not be possible without all of your passion and enthusiasm for your projects and your desire to excite young minds about open source software development.

In the next few weeks we will post more stats on the contest and snippets about some of the extraordinary work the students completed during the Google Code-in.

Great job Students, Mentors and Organization Administrators!

* The final evaluations are currently being graded, these numbers could increase in the next few days.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

Polytechnic University of Bucharest GSoC 10 Things event

Friday, January 3, 2014

This week we have a guest post from a mentor from the Liquid Galaxy project describing his experience at the Google Summer of Code “10 things” celebration in Romania along with his presentation about the Liquid Galaxy project and the workshop he held at the event.

When the Open Source Programs Outreach team at Google announced their “10 things” roadshow for the 2014 Google Summer of Code program, I was excited to see what countries they would visit. They approached the Liquid Galaxy project administrators, Andrew “ALF” Leahy, Ben Goldstein, and myself, Andreu Ibanez, about the possibility of doing a presentation of our project at their meetup at the Politechnic University of Bucharest in Romania. We enthusiastically accepted the invitation.

On November 21, the event was held in a majestic hall with a dome roof, a beautiful example of the school’s 160 year history. The room for the main presentation, with two hundred seats and a grand piano in a corner, was perfectly prepared by local Googlers. In time the room was full of students excited about hearing about Google Summer of Code. The day started with a welcome and introductory words from Adina Magda, Dean of the EPB,  Dan Bulucea, Google Romania Country manager, and Googlers Elisabeta Moraru and Gabriela Chiorean.

Next there were presentations by local GSoC mentors and students that had projects in past years of the program. It was encouraging to see that many women were involved in the projects, and it was interesting that women tended to choose the larger, more established open source projects, like KDE or GNOME.

Carol Smith, manager of the Google Summer of Code program, started her presentation by talking about some of the “10 things” Google is doing in 2014 to celebrate the 10th year of the program. The exciting news included a 10% increase in the number of students that will be accepted, 10 more organizations than ever before would be accepted (which means it will be 190) and also a 10% increase in the student stipend.

And among the statistics mentioned about the program, we soon understood why Google chose the Polytechnic University of Bucharest to hold an event - 100 students from the university have been accepted into GSoC over the last 9 years of the program, the second largest number of students from any single university in the history of the program. From the country of Romania there have been 234 student participants and 54 mentors since 2005.

Then it was time for us to present the Liquid Galaxy project. I spent 15 minutes introducing what the Liquid Galaxy is and what kind of different form factors have been explored, complete with nice videos from the Google Mountain View California headquarters and other installations around the world. Also I spent a few minutes introducing the Liquid Galaxy LAB, the joint local initiative we have in Lleida, Spain, that I started a year ago with Escola Politecnica Superior, La Paeria de Lleida City Council, and the Scientific Park. The Liquid Galaxy LAB is a 50 sqm facility equipped with 3 Liquid Galaxy development instances where students from the university develop their projects around Liquid Galaxy and other Google technologies.

Lunch was also great, with a selection of interesting local food, that was thoroughly appreciated by the students. With our energy replenished, it was time to go deep on Liquid Galaxy technology with 20 interested students joining us for a two and a half hour workshop.
We addressed many topics in the workshop and were pleased with our very interactive group that asked lots of questions throughout the entire workshop. Topics included:
introduction to deep hardware and software internals of the Liquid Galaxy
introducing the many user interfaces we’ve experimented with and the ones we’re working on, such as Leap Motion controller and Google Glass
content currently on LG, including Google Earth, Street View, Google Maps, Google Oceans, and other 360 degrees panoramas
working with web based synchronized contents in browsers across the screens
ongoing special projects at the Liquid Galaxy LAB such as the FAED drone project that is catching lots of interest, and the Firefighters real time Forest Fire analysis tool, both using the LG as the visualization tool.

Other nice surprises included a couple of live Hangouts with other Liquid Galaxy GSoC 2013 students and mentors from Spain and USA.

At the end of the workshop I explained past GSoC Liquid Galaxy projects with the help from local student Ciocan Mihai. Ciocan introduced his colleagues to his 2013 project, a Hangouts like application using WebRTC technology that gives the Liquid Galaxy the ability to do video multi conferences, having a person on every screen.

And last but not least, a perfect dinner was organized by local Googlers in the old city center, full of great meat, vegetables, beer, and friendship. It was the perfect end for a full day of great experiences, meeting new people, seeing new places, and visiting a University that is really interested in Google technologies.

By Andreu Ibanez, Liquid Galaxy LAB