Accepted for GSoC 2009

April 27, 2009 in en, google, gsoc, projects

Few weeks ago I mentioned that I applied for GSoC 2009 as a student. Things have cleared up a bit and I can now say that I’ve been accepted (YAY!). Soon I’ll start working to improve quality of my beloved Linux distribution. How best to do that than to scratch my own itch? I am now going to quote Eric S. Raymond:
Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch.

This quote is from one of most interesting books written on Software engineering, specifically with Open-Source in mind. C’mon! I know you know the book! Yes you guessed right, it’s “The Cathedral and the Bazaar“.

Now the obvious question is…what’s my itch? I’ve been using Gentoo happily for over 4 years now and it’s getting better and better. One thing is still missing though. When emerging (that is installing) new application I never know how much space it will occupy once it’s on my hard drive. I only know download size. I say that’s not enough! I want to know at least a ballpark figure on size before I try to install some work of devil. However, this is not exactly focus of my project “Tree-wide collision checking and files database”, but it could easily become byproduct of solution for my GSoC task. I will most probably keep blogging about my work on GSoC project. This will make it easier to sort various thoughts and make it easier to create progress reports in future. Oh..just so that I won’t forget. My mentor is Andrey Kislyuk, apparently a bioinformatics PhD student interested in privacy and security. I better get to know him better, seems like and interesting person :-).

Applying for Gentoo project in GSoC

April 11, 2009 in en, google, gsoc, open source, projects

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Google Summer of Code, but most probably yes. Basic description is
Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects…Through Google Summer of Code, accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor or mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios and the opportunity for employment in areas related to their academic pursuits. In turn, the participating projects are able to more easily identify and bring in new developers. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all.

It sure is a great idea and I was always intrigued to participate. This year I finally decided to try it out. Gentoo, my distribution of choice was chosen as one of projects to mentor students. I read the ideas page and some of them seemed pretty interesting. One of them was “Tree-wide collision checking and files database“. What was the idea? Basically, Gentoo is a source based distribution so noone knows what files will get installed with a certain package. This can be a problem for quality assurance team (QA). Emerge checks for file collisions before installing so you will never screw up your system, but installing some less known packages can give you a headache. Implementing this idea should help fix this situation and most probably be used for other purposes as well. One of them could be approximation of size of package to be installed. This is common in binary distributions, because they know size of package, but Gentoo has a lot of small “gotcha’s” in this department. One of them is USE flags, great way to customize your distribution, but a nightmare for this sort of thing. Good thing emerge is such a great package manager :-). I will not repeat things I’ve said elsewhere so if you want to read more, you can read my application.

If I get accepted (I should know on April the 20th), there is a long way from where I am to making a great project for Gentoo. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up and help out a bit.