Posts from May 2014

Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Every year after Google Summer of Code (GSoC) has come to an end, we invite two mentors from each of that year’s participating organizations to visit Google’s Mountain View, CA headquarters and take part in the GSoC Mentor Summit—a three day unconference. There, they commingle with over 300 of their fellow mentors and organization administrators to talk shop and have some fun.  During the 2013 GSoC Mentor Summit last October, we asked attendees from a variety of projects if they would take a few minutes out of their weekend to tell us more about their organization’s experience with Google Summer of Code.

Topics discussed in the videos include:
  • a description of their organization and what they do
  • the organization’s experience and history with GSoC
  • some of the projects students worked on during the 2013 program
  • types of projects they want students to work on in future GSoC programs
  • how the org has benefited from participating in GSoC
  • progressing from GSoC student to GSoC mentor
Below you can find a playlist with the mentor and organization administrator videos:

We recently announced the over 1300 students accepted into the GSoC 2014 program. We hope these videos will help mentors, students and future GSoC participants learn more about the program and the type of projects available to work on.  In addition, all of these organizations would be thrilled to have new contributors outside of GSoC so please check them out to see if there is a project that interests you.

A huge thank you to Brian Grady for filming and editing these videos for us.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

Google Summer of Code coding has begun!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Monday, May 19th was the first day of coding for our 10th year of the Google Summer of Code program. This year, more than 1,300 students will spend the next 12 weeks writing code for 190 different open source organizations.

We are excited to see the contributions this year’s students will make to the open source community.

For more information on important dates for the program please visit our timeline. Stay tuned as we will highlight some of the new mentoring organizations over the next few months.

Have a great summer!

By Carol Smith, Open Source Programs

My Google Code-in experience

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Today’s post comes from Sushain K. Cherivirala, one of the 20 uber-talented grand prize winners of Google Code-in, an open source coding competition for 13-17 year old students. The Open Source Programs Office recently hosted all 20 winners, their parents, and mentors at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. Read more about Sushain’s experience in GCI below.
If I had to pick the single most educational experience of my life, it would be Google Code-in (GCI). I've completed MOOCs on topics from Philosophy to Functional Programming, finished my high school's computer science curriculum, taken  a computer science internship and participated in countless programming contests. But I can claim with confidence that Google's initiative to put high school students into real-world open source development environments is unparalleled in its influence on me. 

Google Code-in has helped me not only advance my technological expertise but also, more importantly, exposed me to an environment that few students my age have the opportunity to benefit from.

Throughout the course of the six week contest, I worked with Apertium, a free and open source platform for developing rule-based machine translation systems, not because I'm particularly adept at computational linguistics, but rather because of the exceptional atmosphere Apertium provided. I can recall the first time I ever connected to an IRC channel during GCI 2012; it was both my interest in the GCI task and my attraction to the positive, friendly environment on #apertium that convinced me to continue working with Apertium for the remainder of GCI 2012 and pick up with them at the start of GCI 2013. The positive development environment the mentors (Fran and Jonathan) established was conducive to learning, and more notably, learning from one's mistakes

Apertium's mentors were not just mentors in the sense that they reviewed my code and approved my tasks. Talking with the mentors exposed me to the world of academia, both its pleasures and pains. For instance, now I know the pitfalls of getting a PhD but also about extremely affordable European college tuitions that make me seriously consider applying to one next year, something that would never have crossed my mind without Fran's encouragement. Apertium, an organization by which its very nature encompasses developers of myriad cultures, languages, and social standards, has helped me grow a genuine appreciation for the world's diversity. I often find myself displaying a newfound interest in the stories and lives of my friends at school with foreign backgrounds, eager to learn more about their experiences and expand my narrow view of the world.

Working through IRC with people halfway across the world is not a particularly pleasant or efficient workflow; however, it did improve my communication skills as I learned to effectively communicate across time-zone differences, disparities in experience, and barriers like those I will inevitably encounter in my future workplace. For me, the greatest takeaway from working with these mentors has been their steadfast dedication to their projects and helping interested students. Google couldn't have chosen a more apt title for these mentors.

There's a certain indescribable pleasure associated with developing open source applications that help others, a feeling I had throughout GCI this year. My first task was writing documentation on developing web scrapers to build corpora used by Apertium for quality assurance and development. This helped me get back into the flow of GCI as I documented code I had worked extensively with last year. For the remainder of GCI, I concentrated heavily on coding with an emphasis on developing web applications. For example, I built a web concordancer with a Python backend and worked on APY, an HTTP API in Python using Tornado, designed to replace ScaleMT, a Java based Apertium webservice. I wrote a few modules for our IRC bot, begiak, and created a new statistics bot for the Apertium Wiki. While completing some other documentation tasks, I ended up writing a few scripts to perform the majority of the work such as creating huge data tables from SVN data and language vulnerability tables.

However, my crowning achievement during this Google Code-in was the development of Apertium-html-tools, a web application providing a fully localizable interface for translation, morphological analysis, and generation powered by Apertium APY. Apertium-html-tools was recently deployed on, serving several thousand users and translating the equivalent of a few King James Bibles' worth of text each day. My work with Apertium after GCI has consisted primarily of improving Html-tools with search engine optimization, performance improvements, new features and more. I'm honored to have had the opportunity to contribute to Apertium for the past two years and am looking forward to continuing my involvement in the future.
Visiting Google HQ in Mountain View as a grand prize winner was an awesome experience, one that I'll cherish for the remainder of my life. From the Segway tour of San Francisco to the tour of Google HQ, I made memories that will stand out as some of the most enjoyable moments of my life. I particularly enjoyed being able to talk with Fran whom I had been working with for the past few months. The food choices were only trumped by the excellent talks from Google engineers on everything from self-driving cars to Melange (the software on which GCI is run). Talking with like-minded students my age only helped make the experience more entertaining. To be honest, my only regret is having to board the plane back home; Google's Open Source Programs Office truly spares no expense in giving the winners the experience of their lifetime.

Out of all the programming contests I've participated in, Google Code-in has offered the most authentic experience; there are no synthetic problems designed to test your coding ability, every line of code goes towards improving an open source organization's software. Working with Apertium during GCI has afforded me a new perspective on software development, made me a strong proponent of open source software, helped me gain valuable experience that will undoubtedly help me in the future and convinced me to remain a lifetime contributor to open source.

By Sushain K. Cherivirala, GCI Grand Prize Winner with Apertium, 2013

Google Summer of Code 2014 by the numbers: Part one

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Every year around this time — just after students are accepted into Google Summer of Code (GSoC) — we at the Open Source Programs Office get a ton of questions like, “How many students from my country were accepted?”, “Am I the only undergraduate?”, “How many women are participating in GSoC this year?” and so on. Once we have a chance to crunch the numbers, we can use the statistics to answer at least some of these questions for you. 

For this first post, we’ll start with “What countries are the accepted students from?” and “How many students were accepted from “X” country?”  In years past we’ve listed the 10+ countries with the largest number of accepted students, but this year we’re going to share the whole list.

Here we go! In alphabetical order:

Czech Republic8
Hong Kong2
New Zealand2
Russian Federation51
Saudi Arabia3
Slovak Republic4
South Korea5
Sri Lanka54
United Kingdom29
United States161
TOTAL 1307

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, five countries are highlighted in blue. This is the first year that students from Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda have been accepted.  We are very pleased to welcome them to the GSoC family! 

We will be doing additional posts about the statistics for GSoC 2014 in the next few weeks. If you have questions, please drop us a comment and we’ll do what we can to answer in an upcoming post.

By Cat Allman, Open Source Programs

The Interactive Spaces project continues to grow!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Interactive Spaces was first announced on the Google Open Source blog back in July 2012 and since then we’ve been working hard on several new releases. Interactive Spaces is an API and runtime which allows developers to merge the physical and virtual worlds by building interactive applications for physical spaces. With this platform you can build immersive physical spaces, home automation, physical-based computer gaming, and museum and interactive art installations.

Interactive Spaces has many new additions since it’s initial release, including:

 • OpenCV support for image processing, including face detection
Depth camera support using OpenNI and the Leap Motion
XBee sensor meshes
Examples using Arduinos to interface with sensors and control systems
Speech synthesis
Music playback
XMPP and Twitter can be used to interact with your space
Standard control protocols such as Open Sound Control and soon DMX
Controller support for Android devices
And much more…
Interactive Spaces powers 6 locations in Google offices (an example is the Mountain View Partner Plex) around the world with plans for many more. End Point has recently re-architected the Open Source Liquid Galaxy as an Interactive Spaces application, showing the power of the platform for building a very responsive, flexible system.

For more details please visit the website, and take a look at the source code.

By Keith Hughes, Tech Lead, Experience Engineering Team, Google Engineering

Around the world in 126 days celebrating Google Summer of Code

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

To celebrate our 10th Google Summer of Code (GSoC), members of the Google Open Source Programs Office have been traveling the world attending conferences, hosting events at local Google offices and holding meetups at universities where we have had high student participation over the last nine years of the program.
Smiles in Singapore
Students from 97 countries have participated in the program so far and we wanted to try to visit some of the countries to recognize the students, mentors and universities that have helped to make this program a success over the last decade.
University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
The team visited 10 countries starting in late October beginning with the United Kingdom, then on to Canada, Romania, Poland, Australia, Sri Lanka, Belgium, India, Singapore and concluding with the FOSSASIA conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in early March.
GSoC Reception at the University of Toronto
This travel has been eye opening and an opportunity of a lifetime for all of us.  We met friendly and enthusiastic students, teachers, mentors and open source enthusiasts from so many backgrounds and cultures — all with a love of open source.
Politechnic University of Bucharest, Romania
There have been over 7000 student participants and 7500 mentors since the program’s inception. These are incredible statistics, but actually meeting the people behind these numbers was rewarding in ways that we didn’t expect.  Hearing stories time and time again from students about how they found their confidence and built their skill set during the summer they spent coding in GSoC was heartwarming. And almost all talked about the invaluable guidance they received from their mentors. To have a program where mentors from every time zone imaginable take up to 20 hours a week out of their busy lives to help guide a new open source contributor in their community is tremendous. We also spoke with many former students who are now active contributors to the open source communities they worked with during GSoC and quite a few have also become mentors for GSoC and/or Google Code-in (GCI).

Cambodia - FOSSASIA
Picture by Hong Phuc Dang
Cat Allman and I traveled to Norton University in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in late February to talk about the open source programs we run, GSoC and GCI, and spend time with past GSoCers, and GSoC hopefuls. FOSSASIA helped organize travel for 10 former Google Summer of Code students to come from China, India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Vietnam to talk about their experiences with the program and take part in the conference.

Cat gave an inspiring keynote, “GSoC: Past, Present, and Future”, which touched on opportunities the program offers both organizations and individuals to improve not only the state of open source software, but also their lives and the world.

Friday afternoon continued with four tracks of talks throughout the day ending with a panel discussion of Women in IT. The panel included Cat, three former GSoC students from 2013—Sindhu Sundar (GNOME), Sneha Priscilla Makini (GNU Mailman), Richa Jain (MediaWiki), and many other inspiring women.

Saturday morning I gave a talk on GCI, our contest introducing 13-17 year olds to open source software development. Most of the audience wasn’t familiar with GCI but I was quite pleased with the many questions posed by attendees including interested teachers that want to get their classes involved in our next contest.

Next up were GSoC lightning talks by all ten of the students that FOSSASIA organized travel for to attend the conference. Students talked about their experiences in GSoC and a few also gave very helpful tips about writing proposals and how to approach the GSoC application process. With eight tracks of talks on Saturday alone there really was a session for everyone.
GSoC Lunch in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The enthusiasm we found in Cambodia and throughout our travels during this “world tour” celebrating GSoC was remarkable. We are all excited to start this tenth year of GSoC coding next month and to see what this year’s 1300+ students can accomplish during their 3 months of coding.  Currently the students and mentors are engaged in their community bonding period where students learn more about their org’s code base, become involved in the communities and start their prep work for their coding which begins May 19.

Last but not least, the Google Open Programs Office would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to all of the volunteers who graciously hosted our team, spent countless hours organizing events, and toured us around your beautiful countries. It was an experience of a lifetime and one we won’t soon forget.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

My road to Google Summer of Code

Monday, May 5, 2014

As part of our celebration of the 10th instance of Google Summer of Code, we are highlighting some of our student participants on the Open Source blog. Today’s story comes from Hesham AL-Matary, a GSoC student for RTEMS for the past three years. Student participants have already been announced for GSoC 2014, but Hesham provides some great tips for those who may be interested in participating in the future.

In 2012, I learned about a program called Google Summer of Code (GSoC) that Google organizes for students to work on open source software projects. Like most Computer Engineering students, I knew GSoC was a great opportunity — if only I could have the chance to participate!  My expectations of being accepted were very low. But I figured, why not give it a try? What could I lose? I decided to take the first step.

I scanned the GSoC program website and searched for the keywords that matched my interests: embedded systems, operating systems, RTOS, and C. It was great to see that's exactly what RTEMS tags included in their organization profile. I clicked on the link to the RTEMS website, read more about the organization, and searched for open projects. Not surprisingly, there was an open project that appealed to me. I completed some additional research, read more of RTEMS’ documentation, and finally felt ready to submit a proposal. I submitted my proposal early on in the program period and quickly realized this was a smart move; I was able to get lots of valuable and detailed comments and feedback from the folks in the RTEMS community.

Their comments made me believe that what I was proposing was something important and needed by users; a feeling that I never had before.  After a few more weeks of discussions and project modifications, my proposal was ready. Once I submitted my proposal, I was comfortable with what I did and I knew I could not have done any better. A few weeks later, the projects were announced and I had been accepted! Without a doubt, that moment was a turning point in my life.

Participating in GSoC that first year with RTEMS allowed me to learn more about software engineering than I ever would have imagined. Specifically, I now know how important the design phase is, the benefits of feedback and discussions, and of course, why it’s useful to interact with the community via mailing list and IRC on a regular basis. My technical expertise has been enriched in a variety of areas including C programming, RTOS, gdb, gcc, simulators, hardware, embedded systems, git, source control, documentation and so much more. Last but not least, making connections with some great mentors at RTEMS was one of the best aspects of participating in GSoC for me.

You may be surprised to know that I actually enjoyed having deadlines, challenges and troubles. I feel that’s what GSoC is partially about (aside from encouraging students to work with open source software): a real world work experience. People in RTEMS, and any other organization, want you to complete your project successfully. They are thrilled to help you with the challenges you face. Thanks to my mentor at RTEMS I was able to pass both the midterm and final evaluations — I could finally brag that I was a former GSoC participant!
Statement of accomplishment - GSoC 2012
I am now in my third year of participating in Google Summer of Code with RTEMS.  I also was able to participate as a mentor in Google Code-in, an open source contest that targets 13-17 year old students.This summer I’ll be working on my most challenging project yet!

GSoC helped me achieve the following:
  • I learned a ton about open source software.
  • I am hooked on open source and RTEMS.
  • I got hands-on experience with real world software.
  • I made connections with great developers.
  • I completed great projects (and got a nice stipend doing so).

If you are a student and considering applying to GSoC, here is my advice:
  1. Don’t worry about your modest experience, you're bound to learn more as you go along in the program. Basics are enough.
  2. Submit a proposal and get in touch with the organization community via IRC or their mailing list. Do both early!
  3. Ensure your proposal is well structured and detailed. It should explain how you will work on the project and give a clear and reasonable timeline as well as deliverables. Most organizations provide a template for writing proposals.
  4. Choose a project that appeals to the organization and its users while also matching your interests.
By Hesham AL-Matary, Google Summer of Code Student, 2012-2014

GStreamer hackfest in Munich

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Google Open Source Programs Office recently sponsored a hackfest for GStreamer, an open source, multiplatform multimedia framework used in various environments from desktop applications to embedded devices. Stefan Sauer from Google’s Munich office talks more about the event below.
Over the weekend of March 14-16th, the Google office in Munich, Germany hosted 20 developers of the GStreamer project for a hackfest. GStreamer is a library for constructing graphs of media-handling components. The applications it supports range from simple Ogg/Vorbis playback and audio/video streaming to complex audio (mixing) and video (non-linear editing) processing.

During the hackfest, we worked on a variety of topics related to both the framework and applications. The group prepared new releases and discussed plans for version 1.4 and beyond. Last but certainly not least, we discussed how we can improve our documentation.

Some of the progress made on the framework side includes:
  • the integration of the opengl-plugins from a standalone repository into the gst-plugins-bad module.
  • a new torrent based streaming source.
  • improvements in many plugins (mpeg-ts, libva, dvb, dash), port the winks plugin to 1.0 and the design of new elements (v4l2-decoders).
  • a new device probing api that has been worked on for a long time finally got merged - this will allow applications to query hardware inputs and outputs together with their capabilities and select a specific one.
  • at the last GStreamer conference, we discussed the need for a better tracing infrastructure - during the hackfest, a prototype was demoed and next steps were discussed.
On the application side, we fixed some bugs on the Pitivi video editor, the Transmageddon transcoder, and the gnome-sound recorder.The Pitivi developers released the first stable GES/GNL/Gst-python packages in the 1.X version. These are the foundation for the non linear video editing.

Finally, our buzztrax developer got one tricky feature working: editing the pipeline structure (the data processing graph) while the playback is running. This work will lead to new sample code to help other projects and improvements in the documentation. Overall, it was a very productive two days!

Stefan Sauer, Google Engineering