Tag Archives: gsoc

A galactic experience in Google Code-in 2017

This is a guest post from Liquid Galaxy, one of the organizations that participated in both Google Summer of Code and Google Code-in 2017.

Liquid Galaxy, an open source project that powers panoramic views spanning multiple computers and displays, has been participating in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) since 2011. However, we never applied to participate in Google Code-in (GCI) because we heard stories from other projects about long hours and interrupted holidays in service of mentoring eager young students.

That changed in 2017! And, while the stories are true, we have to say it’s also an amazing and worthwhile experience.

It was hard for our small project to recruit the number of mentors needed. Thankfully, our GSoC mentors stepped up, as did many former GSoC students. We even had forward thinking students who were interested in participating in GSoC 2018 volunteer to mentor! While it was challenging, our team of mentors helped us have a nearly flawless GCI experience.

The Google Open Source team only had to nudge us once, when a student’s task had been pending review for more than 36 hours. We’re pretty happy with that considering we had nearly 500 tasks completed over the 50 days of the contest.

More important than our experience, though, is the student experience. We learned a lot, seeing how they chose tasks, the attention to detail some of them put into their work, and the level of interaction between the students and the mentors. Considering these were young students, ranging in age from 13 to 17, they far exceeded our expectations.

There was one piece of advice the Google Open Source team gave us that we didn’t understand as GCI newbies: have a large number of tasks ready from day one, and leave some unpublished until the halfway point. That ended up being key, it ensured we had enough tasks for the initial flood of students and some in reserve for the second flood around the holidays. Our team of mentors worked hard from the moment we were accepted into GCI to the moment we began to create over 150 tasks in five different categories. Students seemed to think we did a good job and told us they enjoyed the variety of tasks and level of difficulty.

We’re glad we finally participated in Google Code-in and we’ll definitely be applying next time! You can learn more about the project and the students who worked with us on our blog.

By Andreu Ibáñez, Liquid Galaxy org admin

Celebrating open source mentorship with Joomla

Let’s marvel for a moment: as Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2018 begins, 46 of the participating open source organizations are celebrating a decade or more with the program. There are 586 collective years of mentorship between them, and that’s just through GSoC.

Free and open source software projects have been doing outreach and community building since the beginning. The free software movement has been around for 35 years, and open source has been around for 20.

Bringing new people into open source is necessary for project health and sustainability, but it’s not easy. It takes time and effort to prepare onboarding materials and mentor people. It takes personal dedication, a welcoming culture, and a commitment to institutional knowledge. Sustained volunteerism at this scale is worthy of celebration!

Joomla is one open source project that exemplifies this and Puneet Kala is one such person. Joomla, a web content management system (CMS) that was first released in 2005, is now on their 11th year of GSoC. More than 80 students have participated over the years. Most students are still actively contributing, and many have gone on to become mentors.

Puneet, now Joomla’s GSoC team lead, began with the project as a student five years ago. He sent along this article celebrating their 10th anniversary, which includes links to interviews with other students who have become mentors, and this panel discussion from Joomla World Conference.

It’s always great to hear from the people who have participated in Google Summer of Code. The stories are inspiring and educational. They know a thing or two about building open source communities, so we share what they have to say: you can find guest posts here.

We’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the 608 open source organizations and 12,000 organization administrators and mentors who have been a part of GSoC so far. We’d also like to applaud the 46 organizations that have 10+ years under their belts!

Your tireless investment in the future of people and open source is a testament to generosity.

By Josh Simmons, Google Open Source

Coding your way into cinemas

This is a guest post from apertus° and TimVideos.us, open source organizations that participated in Google Summer of Code last year and are back for 2018!

The apertus° AXIOM project is bringing the world’s first open hardware/free software digital motion picture production camera to life. The project has a rich history, exercises a steadfast adherence to the open source ethos, and all aspects of development have always revolved around supporting and utilising free technologies. The challenge of building a sophisticated digital cinema camera was perfect for Google Summer of Code 2017. But let’s start at the beginning: why did the team behind the project embark on their journey?

Modern Cinematography

For over a century film was dominated by analog cameras and celluloid, but in the late 2000’s things changed radically with the adoption of digital projection in cinemas. It was a natural next step, then, for filmmakers to shoot and produce films digitally. Certain applications in science, large format photography and fine arts still hold onto 35mm film processing, but the reduction in costs and improved workflows associated with digital image capture have revolutionised how we create and consume visual content.

The DSLR revolution

Photo by Matthew Pearce
licensed CC SA 2.0.
Filmmaking has long been considered an expensive discipline accessible only to a select few. This all changed with the adoption of movie recording capabilities in digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras. For multinational corporations this “new” feature was a relatively straightforward addition to existing models as most compact digital photo cameras could already record video clips. This was the first time that a large diameter image sensor, a vital component for creating the typical shallow depth of field we consider cinematic, appeared in consumer cameras. In recent times, user groups have stepped up to contribute to the DSLR revolution first-hand, including groups like the Magic Lantern community.

Magic Lantern

Photo by Dave Dugdale licensed CC BY-SA 2.0.
Magic Lantern is a free and open source software add-on that runs from a camera’s SD/CF card. It adds a host of new features to Canon’s DSLRs that weren't included from the factory, such as allowing users to record high-dynamic range (HDR) video or 14-bit uncompressed RAW video. It’s a community project and many filmmakers simply wouldn’t have bought a Canon camera if it weren’t for the features that Magic Lantern pioneered. Because installing Magic Lantern doesn’t replace the stock Canon firmware or modify the read-only memory (ROM) but runs alongside it, it is both easy to remove and carries little risk. Originally developed for filmmaking, Magic Lantern’s feature base has expanded to include tools useful for still photography as well.

Starting the revolution for real 

Of course, Magic Lantern has been held back by the underlying proprietary hardware routines on existing camera models. So, in 2014 a team of developers and filmmakers around the apertus° project joined forces with the Magic Lantern team to lay the foundation for a totally independent, open hardware, free software, digital cinema camera. They ran a successful crowdfunding campaign for initial development, and they completed hardware development of the first developer kits in 2016. Unlike traditional cameras, the AXIOM is designed to be completely modular, and so continuously evolve, thereby preventing it from ever becoming obsolete. How the camera evolves is determined by its user community, with its design files and source code freely available and users encouraged to duplicate, modify and redistribute anything and everything related to the camera.

While the camera is primarily for use in motion picture production, there are many suitable applications where AXIOM can be useful. Individuals in science, astronomy, medicine, aerial mapping, industrial automation, and those who record events or talks at conferences have expressed interest in the camera. A modular and open source device for digital imaging allows users to build a system that meets their unique requirements. One such company for instance, Mavrx Inc, who use aerial imagery to provide actionable insight for the agriculture industry, used the camera because it enabled them to not only process the data more efficiently than comparable camera equivalents, but also to re-configure its form factor so that it could be installed alongside existing equipment configurations.

Google Summer of Code 2017

Continuing their journey, apertus° participated in Google Summer of Code for the first time in 2017. They received about 30 applications from interested students, from which they needed to select three. Projects ranged from field programmable gate array (FPGA) centered video applications to creating Linux kernel drivers for specific camera hardware. Similarly TimVideos.us, an open hardware project for live event streaming and conference recording, is working on FPGA projects around video interfaces and processing.

After some preliminary work, the students came to grips with the camera’s operating processes and all three dove in enthusiastically. One student failed the first evaluation and another failed the second, but one student successfully completed their work.

That student, Vlad Niculescu, worked on defining control loops for a voltage controller using VHSIC Hardware Description Language (VHDL) for a potential future AXIOM Beta Power Board, an FPGA-driven smart switching regulator for increasing the power efficiency and improving flexibility around voltage regulation.
Left: The printed circuit board (PCB) (printed circuit board) for testing the switching regulator FPGA logic. Right: After final improvements the fluctuation ripple in the voltages was reduced to around 30mV at 2V target voltage.
Vlad had this to say about his experience:

“The knowledge I acquired during my work with this project and apertus° was very satisfying. Besides the electrical skills gained I also managed to obtain other, important universal skills. One of the things I learned was that the key to solving complex problems can often be found by dividing them into small blocks so that the greater whole can be easily observed by others. Writing better code and managing the stages of building a complex project have become lessons that will no doubt become valuable in the future. I will always be grateful to my mentor as he had the patience to explain everything carefully and teach me new things step by step, and also to apertus° and Google’s Summer of Code program, without which I may not have gained the experience of working on a project like this one.”

We are grateful for Vlad’s work and congratulate him for successfully completing the program. If you find open hardware and video production interesting, we encourage you to reach out and join the community–both apertus° and TimVideos.us are back for Google Summer of Code 2018.

By Sebastian Pichelhofer, apertus°, and Tim 'mithro' Ansell, TimVideos.us

Student applications open for Google Summer of Code 2018

Originally posted by Josh Simmons from the Google Open Source Team on the Google Open Source Blog.

Ready, set, go! Today we begin accepting applications from university students who want to participate in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2018. Are you a university student? Want to use your software development skills for good? Read on.

Now entering its 14th year, GSoC gives students from around the globe an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of open source software development while working from home. Students receive a stipend for successful contribution to allow them to focus on their project for the duration of the program. A passionate community of mentors help students navigate technical challenges and monitor their progress along the way.

Past participants say the real-world experience that GSoC provides sharpened their technical skills, boosted their confidence, expanded their professional network and enhanced their resume.

Interested students can submit proposals on the program site between now and Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 16:00 UTC.

While many students began preparing in February when we announced the 212 participating open source organizations, it's not too late to start! The first step is to browse the list of organizations and look for project ideas that appeal to you. Next, reach out to the organization to introduce yourself and determine if your skills and interests are a good fit. Since spots are limited, we recommend writing a strong proposal and submitting a draft early so you can get feedback from the organization and increase the odds of being selected.

You can learn more about how to prepare in the video below and in the Student Guide.

You can find more information on our website, including a full timeline of important dates. We also highly recommend perusing the FAQ and Program Rules, as well as joining the discussion mailing list.

Remember to submit your proposals early as you only have until Tuesday, March 27 at 16:00 UTC. Good luck to all who apply!

Student applications open for Google Summer of Code 2018

Ready, set, go! Today we begin accepting applications from university students who want to participate in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2018. Are you a university student? Want to use your software development skills for good? Read on.

Now entering its 14th year, GSoC gives students from around the globe an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of open source software development while working from home. Students receive a stipend for successful contribution to allow them to focus on their project for the duration of the program. A passionate community of mentors help students navigate technical challenges and monitor their progress along the way.

Past participants say the real-world experience that GSoC provides sharpened their technical skills, boosted their confidence, expanded their professional network and enhanced their resume.

Interested students can submit proposals on the program site between now and Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 16:00 UTC.

While many students began preparing in February when we announced the 212 participating open source organizations, it’s not too late to start! The first step is to browse the list of organizations and look for project ideas that appeal to you. Next, reach out to the organization to introduce yourself and determine if your skills and interests are a good fit. Since spots are limited, we recommend writing a strong proposal and submitting a draft early so you can get feedback from the organization and increase the odds of being selected.

You can learn more about how to prepare in the video below and in the Student Guide.


You can find more information on our website, including a full timeline of important dates. We also highly recommend perusing the FAQ and Program Rules, as well as joining the discussion mailing list.

Remember to submit your proposals early as you only have until Tuesday, March 27 at 16:00 UTC. Good luck to all who apply!

By Josh Simmons, Google Open Source

A year full of new open source at Catrobat

This is a guest post from Catrobat, an open source organization that participated in both Google Summer of Code and Google Code-in last year.


Catrobat was selected to participate in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) for the sixth time and Google Code-in (GCI) for the first time in 2017, which helped us reach new students and keep our mentors busy.

We tried something new in 2017 by steering GSoC students toward refactoring and performance, rather than developing new features. Implementing a crash tracking and analysis system, modularizing existing code, and rewriting our tests resulted in more lines of code being deleted than added – and we’re really happy about that!

This improved the quality and stability of oursoftware and both students and mentors could see progress immediately. The immediacy of the results kept students engaged - some weeks it almost seemed as if they had been working 24/7 (they weren’t :)! And we’re happy to say that most are still motivated to contribute after GSoC, and now they’re adding code more often than they are deleting it.

Although new features are exciting, we found that working on existing code offers a smooth entry for GSoC students. This approach helped students assimilate into the community and project more quickly, as well as receive rapid rewards for their work.

The quality improvements made by GSoC students also made things smoother for the younger, often less experienced GCI students. Several dozen students completed hundreds of tasks, spreading the love of open source and coding in their communities. It was our first time working with so many young contributors and it was fun!

We faced challenges in the beginning – such as language barriers and students’ uncertainty in their work – and quickly learned how to adapt our processes to meet the needs (and extraordinary motivation) of these new young contributors. We introduced them to open source through our project’s app Pocket Code, allowing them to program games and apps with a visual mobile coding framework and then share them under an open license. Students had a lot of fun starting this way and mentors enjoyed reviewing so many colorful and exciting games.

Students even asked how they could improve on quality work that we had already accepted, if they could do more work on it, and if they could share their projects with their friends. This was a great first experience of GCI for our organization and, as one of our mentors mentioned in the final evaluation phase, we would totally be up for doing it again!

By Matthias Mueller, Catrobat Org Admin

Introducing the mentor organizations for Google Summer of Code 2018

We are pleased to announce the open source projects and organizations that were accepted for Google Summer of Code 2018! As usual, we received more applications this year than we did last year, and nearly twice as many as we are able to accept into the program.

After careful review, we have chosen 212 applicants to be mentor organizations this year, 19% of which are new to the program. Please see the program website for a complete list of the accepted organizations.

Are you a student interested in participating? We begin accepting student applications on Monday, March 12, 2018 at 16:00 UTC and the deadline to apply is Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 16:00 UTC.

The most successful applications come from students who start preparing now. You can start by watching the video below, checking out the Student Guide, and reviewing the list of accepted organizations.


You can find more information on our website, including a full timeline of important dates. We also highly recommend perusing the FAQ and Program Rules.

A hearty congratulations–and thank you–to all of our mentor organizations! We look forward to working with all of you during Google Summer of Code 2018.

By Josh Simmons, Google Open Source

Googlers on the road: FOSDEM 2018

The Google Open Source team is currently enjoying summer weather in Sydney at Linux.conf.au, but soon we return to winter weather and head to Brussels for FOSDEM 2018. FOSDEM is a special event, famous for being non-commercial, volunteer-organized, and free to attend. It’s also huge, attracting more than 5,000 attendees.

FOSDEM logo licensed CC BY 2.0 SE.
This year FOSDEM is particularly special as it falls on top of the 20th anniversary of the open source movement and its steward, the Open Source Initiative. (In case you’re wondering, this September will mark the 35th anniversary of the free software movement.) We’re looking forward to celebrating the occasion!

You’ll find us in the hallways, at satellite events, and at our table in the stands area. You’ll also find some Googlers in the conference schedule, as well as folks sharing their experience of the most recent Google Summer of Code and Google Code-in.

If you’d like to say hello or chat, swing by our table in Building K. The highlight of our trip is meeting hundreds of the thousands of students and mentors who have participated in our programs!

Below are the Googlers who will be giving presentations:

Saturday, February 3rd
12:30pm  Google’s approach to distributed systems observability for Go by JBD (also at 2:30pm)
3:05pm   Testing and Validating distributed systems by Holden Karau

Sunday, February 4th
10:20am  Regular Expression Derivatives in Python by Michael Paddon
11:30am   Advocating For FOSS Inside Companies a panel including Max Sills
3:00pm    Your Build in a Datacenter by Jakob Buchgraber
4:00pm    Accelerating Big Data Outside of the JVM by Holden Karau

Hope to see you there!

By Josh Simmons, Google Open Source

Googlers on the road: Linux.conf.au 2018

It’s summer in Sydney and Linux.conf.au (LCA) 2018 is just a week away. LCA, an annual event that attracts people from all over the globe, including Googlers, runs January 22nd to 26th.

LCA is a cornerstone of the free and open source software (FOSS) community. It’s volunteer-run, administered by Linux Australia, and has been running since 1999. Despite its name, the conference program covers all things FOSS. The event is five days long and includes two days of miniconfs that make the program even more interesting.

The Google Open Source team is escaping “wintery” Northern California and will be hosting a Birds of a Feather (BoF) session and co-hosting an event with GDG Sydney, both focused on our student programs.

A few Googlers ended up with sessions in the program and one is running a miniconf:

Tuesday, January 23rd
All day     Create hardware with FPGAs, Linux and Python Miniconf hosted by Tim Ansell (sold out)
11:40am  Learn by Contributing to Open Source by Josh Simmons
5:15pm    Assembling a balsa-wood Raspberry Pi case by Josh Deprez

Wednesday, January 24th
3:50pm    Securing the Linux boot process by Matthew Garrett

Thursday, January 25th
12:25pm  Google Summer of Code and Google Code-in Birds of a Feather session
6:00pm    Google Summer of Code and Google Code-in Meetup with GDG Sydney

Friday, January 26th
11:40am  The State of Kernel Self-Protection by Kees Cook
1:40pm    QUIC: Replacing TCP for the Web by Jana Iyengar
2:35pm    The Web Is Dead! Long Live The Web! by Sam Thorogood

Not able to make the conference? They’ll be posting session recordings to YouTube afterwards, thanks in part to students who have worked on TimVideos, a suite of open source software and hardware for recording video, as part of Google Summer of Code.

Naturally, you will also find the Google Open Source team at other upcoming events including FOSDEM. We look forward to seeing you in 2018!

By Josh Simmons, Google Open Source

Seeking open source projects for Google Summer of Code 2018

Do you lead or represent a free or open source software organization? Are you seeking new contributors? (Who isn’t?) Do you enjoy the challenge and reward of mentoring new developers? Apply to be a mentor organization for Google Summer of Code 2018!

We are seeking open source projects and organizations to participate in the 14th annual Google Summer of Code (GSoC). GSoC is a global program that gets student developers contributing to open source. Each student spends three months working on a project, with the support of volunteer mentors, for participating open source organizations.

Last year 1,318 students worked with 198 open source organizations. Organizations include individual projects and umbrella organizations that serve as fiscal sponsors, such as Apache Software Foundation or the Python Software Foundation.

You can apply starting today. The deadline to apply is January 23 at 16:00 UTC. Organizations chosen for GSoC 2018 will be posted on February 12.

Please visit the program site for more information on how to apply, a detailed timeline of important deadlines and general program information. We also encourage you to check out the Mentor Guide and join the discussion group.

Best of luck to all of the applicants!

By Josh Simmons, Google Open Source