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Updated: 1 hour 59 min ago

Kythe: a new approach to making developer tools

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 18:00
Building development tools that support multiple programming languages can be a real grind. Doing it well takes a lot of work, and historically each tool has done it largely from scratch for each language it supports. It would be far easier if that hard work could be done just once in a reusable fashion that any tool can make use of. That’s the idea behind the Kythe project: by using a common structured format to represent source code in varied programming languages, Kythe-enabled tools are able to work with code in any supported language. Support for new languages can be plugged in as needed.

The name Kythe means "to make visible", specifically, making the structure of your code visible. It's early days and we've just opened up our project to the community, but we aim to build up a community of developers around these ideas. We've had a lot of experience building and maintaining similar cross-language tools inside Google and now we want to share the benefits of those tools with software developers beyond Google.

Kythe is open source and currently supports source code written in C++ and Java. (Support for Go is in progress.) It also includes a proof-of-concept source code browser that demonstrates how the pieces fit together. We have documentation available and invite you to join our mailing list for questions and discussions.

There's much more work to do and we look forward to evolving Kythe with the open source community's help.

by James Dennett, Kythe Team
Categories: Open Source

Kicking off 2015 at FOSDEM

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 18:00
2014 was a monumental year for all of us in the Google Open Source Programs Office as we celebrated the 10th instance of Google Summer of Code and the fifth year of Google Code-in. As we start 2015, we are excited to continue spreading the word about open source.
One of the highlights for our team in 2014 was our February trip to FOSDEM where we had a table dedicated to our Google Summer of Code and Google Code-in programs. We are thrilled to be back this year for FOSDEM 2015 held on January 31-February 1 in Brussels at Université libre de Bruxelles. We look forward to chatting again with some of the expected 5,000+ attendees at this energetic, free to the public conference. Having the opportunity to talk face to face with some of the thousands of former students, mentors, and organization administrators about their experiences with the program and seeing the difference the programs make in people’s lives and careers is a true reward for our team. And if that wasn’t fun enough, we also have the opportunity to spread the word about our programs to hundreds of interested students and teachers by chatting with them one on one at our table.
Googlers will be speaking during the conference at the sessions below:
Saturday, January 3113:00   Brad Nelson, X11 on the Web:Using Native Client to run X11 applications in the Browser16:00   Jeremy Allison, Why Samba moved to GPLv3: Why we moved, what we gained, what we lost16:00   Pete Williamson, Emacs and Elisp on the Chromebook
Sunday, February 1On Sunday there will be a Go Developer room from 9:50 - 16:30 with talks including a couple from Googlers.12:15   Brad Fitzpatrick, HTTP/2 for Go: Overview of HTTP/2 and the design of Go’s support for it 13:50   Ben Smith,  Desktop Software on the Web: Bringing FOSS Desktop Software to the Browser15:30   Andrew Gerrand, Go Lightning Talks: The Go community on Go15:50  Brad Nelson, LLVM on the Web: Using Portable Native Client to run Clang/LLVM in the Browser

If you are attending FOSDEM, be sure to stop by our table and say hi!
By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs Office
Categories: Open Source

Google Summer of Code Wrap up: SciRuby

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 18:00
Today’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC) wrap-up comes from John Woods at the SciRuby Project, an open source collection of scientific libraries for Ruby coders.

The SciRuby Project aims to provide Ruby with scientific capabilities similar to what the wonderful NumPy and SciPy libraries bring to Python. Our goal is to provide a complete suite of statistical, numerical, and visualization software tools for scientific computing. This was our second year participating in Google Summer of Code and four students worked with us over the summer.
Rajat Kapoor worked to flesh out Claudio Bustos' numerical Integration and Minimization gems. Integration now includes thirteen different quadrature algorithms (among them Gauss–Kronrod, Simpson's three-eighths method, Milne's method, Boole's quadrature, and open trapezoid). He also implemented a series of unidimensional optimization methods in Minimization (including Newton–Raphson, golden section, Brent, and quad golden), most of which can also make use of Ruby/GSL for faster execution.
Lahiru Lasandun also contributed to the Integration and Minimization gems. He focused on multidimensional optimization/minimization algorithms, implementing Powell's method, Nelder–Mead, and conjugate gradient. Lahiru also experimented with OpenCL framework support for parallel execution of integration tasks. This strategy works particularly well for large computations.
Magdalen Berns created a Ruby wrapper for FFTW3 (a fast Fourier transform library) with a focus on implementing support for transforms on NMatrix objects. This gem was written almost from scratch in the C and Ruby languages.
Naoki Nishida created Nyaplot, a clever interactive plotting client–server library that is compatible with IRuby. He continues to work on Nyaplot, which has already spawned additional open source software components: extensions for map visualization (Mapnya), circular plots (Bionya), 3D visualizations (Nyaplot3D), and a dataframe library (Daru).
SciRuby is immensely grateful for the opportunity to participate in Google Summer of Code for a second year. We thank our students, mentors, and other contributors for working to develop scientific computing infrastructure in the Ruby language, and we thank Google's Open Source Programs Office for its support.
By John Woods, Director of the Ruby Science Foundation (SciRuby)
Categories: Open Source

Format code the easy way with the codefmt plugins for Vim

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 23:45

There are several wars in the world of programming that never die. Emacs vs Vim. Cuddled vs Non-Cuddled Braces. Tabs vs Spaces. Today we settle all of them… if you’re a Vim user. Google is pleased to release codefmt, a set of open-source plugins for automatically indenting your code in Vim. The default plugin provides support for C++, JavaScript, and Protocol Buffers via clang-format and for Go via gofmt. Additional languages are trivial to add by using codefmtlib to register them. Try it out and enjoy the freedom of never having to manually reflow your argument lists again.
by Matt Kulukundis, Search Infrastructure Team
Categories: Open Source

Google Code-in 2014: all wrapped up

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 18:40
GCI-2014-b-square.pngGoogle Code-in 2014 (GCI) is in the books! This has been an exciting year for GCI: we celebrated the fifth anniversary of the contest and experienced our largest student participation to date.
Congratulations to all of the students who had their first experience with open source software development during GCI 2014. Over the last seven weeks, 667* students from 54 countries completed 3,260* tasks in the contest.
We had 12 open source organizations dedicated to teaching teens about open source and their communities participate this year. These organizations created almost 4,000 tasks for students to choose from in the following categories: coding, user interface, documentation, training, research, outreach, and quality assurance. Some of the tasks students completed in the contest include: writing small pieces of code, creating tutorials, redesigning landing pages, optimizing social media accounts, creating new plugins, finding and fixing bugs, creating webcasts on accessibility testing, and building test cases.
GCI gives students the opportunity to put the skills they have been learning in the classroom to use on real software projects while also learning how to communicate effectively with people from all around the world by participating in these open source communities. The collaboration aspect of GCI is the key to the success of the program and the real benefit to the students. During the course of the contest, they learn that open source software projects are a true team effort and there are many ways that you can contribute to a community.
Stay tuned: we will announce the 24 Grand Prize Winners for the GCI 2014 contest here on February 2nd. Currently the mentors are busy reviewing the final work submitted by students, and then each of the 12 organizations will decide on their five finalists (who will all receive a special finalist sweatshirt). Of those five finalists, two students will be named the Grand Prize winners for each organization. Each Grand Prize winner and a parent will receive a 4 day trip to Google’s California headquarters this June where they will meet Google engineers, take part in an awards ceremony, and enjoy a fun-filled day of adventure in San Francisco.
GCI would not be possible without the heart of the program: the GCI mentors and organization administrators. These mentors and org admins spend countless hours creating and reviewing hundreds of tasks while also teaching students about all facets of open source development: community standards, new and exciting technologies, code reviews, version control systems, IRC, and everything in between. They are volunteers who are passionate about introducing teens to their open source communities and their reward is seeing the light go on in a student when they become excited about open source software development. A HUGE thank you to all of these mentors and org admins who make this program a success!
In the coming weeks we will share some statistics from this year’s program as well as posts about some of the extraordinary work students completed during Google Code-in 2014.
Congratulations Students, Mentors, and Organization Administrators on a job well done!
* The final evaluations are currently being graded; these numbers could increase in the next few days.
By Stephanie Taylor, Google Code-in Program Manager
Categories: Open Source

Google Summer of Code Wrap up: Sigmah

Fri, 01/16/2015 - 18:00
Today’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC) wrap-up comes from Olivier Sarrat at Sigmah, an open source project producing a web app to help humanitarian aid organizations manage their projects.
sigmah.png

Sigmah is an initiative led by 12 NGOs to develop open source project management software for the international aid sector. It is a Java web application developed with GWT. This summer, three GSoC students from Brazil, India, and Romania implemented high-priority features which will soon be available in our Sigmah 2.0 release.

Renato Almeida worked on making Sigmah more flexible. In version 1.2, project model parameters couldn’t be changed if the model had already been used to create a project, but thanks to Renato’s work, this will soon be possible. For example, an organization could begin requiring its teams to attach the Terms of Reference to the initial assessment field visit, and this could be applied to all ongoing projects that have not yet completed the initial assessment phase. This allows organizations to react faster to feedback from team members and amend software parameters accordingly.

S.P. Mohanty, who has been working with Sigmah via GSoC since 2012, has improved Sigmah’s file transfer mechanism so that interrupted uploads can be resumed at a later time. This means it will no longer be necessary to wait and retry several times when sending a large file over an unreliable network connection. Mohanty’s work has also been re-used in the development of the offline mode.

Finally, Lucia Madalina Cojocaru’s work focused on a specific aspect of collecting indicators used to determine if a humanitarian project’s goals are being met: the management of data collection sites and project location. She also added the ability to use OpenStreetMap (OSM) in addition to the existing support for Google Maps. For humanitarian organizations, OSM collaborative maps can sometimes be more up-to-date and precise in the immediate aftermath of a crisis. Lucia also established the technical foundations so that in the future it will be possible to export data in Humanitarian eXchange Language (HXL), a standard from the OCHA (UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) which aims to improve coordination within the sector.

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By Olivier Sarrat, Sigmah Organization Administrator
Categories: Open Source

Google Summer of Code Wrap up: OWASP

Fri, 01/09/2015 - 18:00
This week’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC) wrap up comes from Fabio Cerullo at The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), a charitable organization improving software security across the web.

At OWASP, we were thrilled to be part of GSoC for our third consecutive year. Our interaction with students and universities across the world has skyrocketed since we began participating in the program. In 2014, we received more than 90 proposals. We were able to accept 16 students who worked on a diverse range of application security projects. Below, we highlight a few of these.
Seraphimdroid: Before GSoC, SeraphimDroid was a research project aimed at educating end users about risks and threats coming from other Android applications and we had not given much thought to its interface. Furquan Ahmed implemented a modern user interface which is nicely integrated with existing features. Also, Furquan proposed and implemented several new features like alarming, an application locker, and geo-fencing. His work is now part of the latest release.

OWTF: The OWASP OWTF (Offensive Web Testing Framework) project began by applying chess-playing techniques to penetration testing (“pentesting”). We hoped this would help address the problem of pentesters rarely having adequate time to test systems. Several GSoC students this summer wrote code for new features included in our 1.0 Lionheart release. Tao Sauvage implemented Automated Rankings which helps users identify more serious vulnerabilities. Anirudh Anand developed a passive online scanner with flexible mapping and a templating engine. Deep Shah integrated OWTF with Mozilla Zest support and OWASP ZAP. Marios Kourtesis developed a Web Application Firewall (WAF) bypasser. Finally, Viyat Bhalodia improved the stateful browsing and session management of the tool.There’s more information (including videos) about all the new features on the official release page.
Hackademics: The OWASP Hackademic Challenges project allows users to learn more about pentesting through simulated attacks in a safe and controllable environment.  One of the students, Bhanudev Chaluvadi, wrote 20 new challenges covering a range of topics such as buffer overflows, injection attacks, regex bypasses, brute forcing, and some cryptography breaking. He also improved almost all the existing challenges. Another student, Paul Chaignon, wrote 17 new challenges covering the OWASP Top Ten vulnerabilities and created a score calculator. Last but not least, Subhayan RoyMoulick created 9 intermediate-level cryptography challenges which include common attacks on RSA implementation vulnerabilities, frequency analysis, man in the middle, and one time pad attacks. All the students were actively participating in the community proposing solutions to known problems or finding bugs we missed (and often fixing them).
CSRF Protector: This year, GSoC allowed OWASP to create a new project to address Cross-Site Request Forgery attacks: CSRF Protector. Minhaz A V proposed the project and implemented it as a PHP library and an Apache HTTPD module. CSRF Protector complements OWASP’s preexisting CSRFGuard for Java web applications and greatly expands the types of projects OWASP can help protect from CSRF vulnerabilities.
GSoC is a great program that benefits students, open source projects, and mentors. It also helps the industry by giving students the opportunity to work on real world problems with highly experienced professionals. For many students, this will be the starting point for successful careers in the computer industry. I would like to invite all students interested in open source and application security to get involved with OWASP projects and subscribe to our OWASP GSOC mailing list.
By Fabio Cerullo, OWASP Organization Administrator
Categories: Open Source

In the thick of things with Google Code-in

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 18:00
Over the past three and a half weeks, teenagers from over 50 countries have been busy completing tasks in the Google Code-in 2014 (GCI) contest.  511 students have already successfully completed 1,985 tasks with the 12 open source organizations mentoring students this year!

Some of the tasks students have completed include: automating and optimizing social media accounts, writing test suites, improving mobile UI, designing website landing pages, creating training slides, working on internationalization efforts and fixing and finding bugs in the organizations’ software.

2,391 students from 86 countries have already registered for the contest. A big welcome to the students from the 21 countries participating for the first time in GCI: American Samoa, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Burma, Chile, Ethiopia, Gambia, Georgia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Suriname, and Taiwan! We look forward to seeing many of these students completing tasks over the next few weeks.

The countries with the most students completing tasks so far are:
United States - 141
India - 113
Bulgaria - 44
Singapore - 19
United Kingdom - 19

Students, there is still plenty of time to get involved with Google Code-in to earn certificates of completion and a Google Code-in 2014 t-shirt. New tasks are being added daily to the contest site so if you don’t see something that grabs your interest today, check back again every couple of days. Currently over 1,500 tasks are open for students to choose from.

The last day to register for the contest and claim a task is Sunday, January 18, 2015 with all work being due on Monday, January 19, 2015 at 9:00 am PT.

Thank you to all of the mentors and organization administrators who have volunteered to help students during the seven week contest. We couldn’t do this without all of their hard work and dedication to teaching students about open source software development.

Good luck to all of the students participating this year!

By Stephanie Taylor, Google Code-in Program Manager

Categories: Open Source

Google Summer of Code Wrap up: Priv.ly

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 18:00
Today’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC) wrap up comes from Sean McGregor at the Privly Foundation, an organization dedicated to enabling private social communication for technical and non-technical users alike.

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The Privly Foundation develops the Priv.ly Project: a web privacy stack for social media. The privacy stack enables users to share content through social media while maintaining the confidentiality of their communications. In 2014, the Foundation mentored five students through Google Summer of Code (GSoC). Two highlights were the projects’ work on user experience (UX) and mobile applications.

Andrei-Vlad Fulgeanu: Privacy UX

One goal of the Privly Foundation is to enable non-technical users to benefit from privacy software. Since Open Source development naturally fosters systems preferred by developers, UX for the non-technical user is often an afterthought. Addressing the UX problem was Vlad's project and passion. He began his Priv.ly work with mentor and UX researcher, Jen Davidson, by performing a "cognitive walkthrough" that would drive his implementation plan. Informed by the UX methods, he contributed a set of improvements including a re-designed anti-spoofing glyph, a new in-context posting button, a redesign and renaming of the "History" application, and several bug fixes. Vlad has continued working on Priv.ly after the close of GSoC and has even won a Romanian Open Source coding competition through his contributions.

Ivan Metla and Gitanshu Sardana: Mobile Capabilities

We had two students working on the Android version of the Priv.ly Project. Ivan Metla worked on developing an internal API which enables developers to easily drop in more content sources such as email providers, social networks, and timeline-based sources into the application. This required changes to the way content is displayed to provide a UX consistent with the context that content is scraped from. The application now supports a thread based structure for Facebook messages and a timeline based structure for Twitter content. Ivan also
worked on porting the UI of the Priv.ly JavaScript applications for the mobile platform thereby displaying controls specific to the mobile users.

Gitanshu Sardana worked on a major overhaul of the application UI. The old "Activity"-based structure was replaced with a "Fragments"-based layout which enabled better UI transitions.  
Screenshot_2014-12-11-10-35-03.pngScreenshot_2014-12-11-10-34-55.png
He then helped add an action bar for access to application settings and improved session management, along with a navigation drawer providing the users with easier access to reading and generating new content. He also worked on adding experimental support for reading protected content from Gmail that resulted in a new threaded view for email content. Finally, he added the Index application (now called "History") to the mobile application's navigation drawer.

Lessons Learned

GSoC organizations with user-facing functionality should note the power of UX methods like cognitive walkthroughs and think alouds as a means of placing prospective students in the "I can make this better" mindset. A quick think-aloud in addition to coding tasks can establish the prospective student's ability to communicate effectively and think critically about the project they are proposing.
It was a pleasure working with the GSoC students in 2014 and we are very grateful for the opportunity to bring together a larger community developing privacy on the web!
By Sean McGregor, Privly Foundation Mentor
Categories: Open Source

Google Summer of Code Meetup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 20:00
Earlier this year, Hu Yuhuang participated as a student in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2014. He recently hosted a meetup at University of Malaya to share his experiences and encourage other students to participate in GSoC 2015. (Student applications will open on March 16th, 2015.) Below, he discusses the local community meetup.
GSoCmeetup2.jpg
About two weeks after I officially finished my GSoC 2014 journey, I received an email announcing Google Summer of Code in 2015. I immediately forwarded this email to two friends of mine, Dr. Chee Sun Liew and fellow student Chin Poh Leong, and told them I would like to host a meetup for spreading this news. After a discussion, we decided the date (November the 28th, the last Friday of the month) and got support from our school.
We started to promote this meetup about three weeks before the event date. We used a Google Form for taking registration. By the eve of the meetup, we had received 140 online registrations among 9 local universities. The students’ enthusiasm exceeded our expectations.
On November 28th, 2014, Puzzles (a programming community that my friends and I founded) hosted the meetup at University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We ultimately had 76 attendees from 4 local universities. We were pleasantly surprised that UTM, a local university, sent over 30 students to join this meetup. They travelled 6 hours from Johor, the very south end of Malaysia.
The meetup kicked off with Dr. Liew’s greeting speech. Afterward, I followed up with a briefing about GSoC 2015. I shared my previous experience of writing an application, getting in touch with organizations, and many details from my work over the previous summer. They asked me many practical questions about how and why they should join this program. The meetup was wrapped up with a lot of smiling and photos. Many students left us their contact information so they can stay tuned for further news and ask more questions in the future.
GSoCmeetup1.jpg
I’d like to thank everyone who helped me with this meetup; I couldn’t have done it without their help. Google Summer of Code is one of the best things to happen during my undergraduate life and I hope to see many talented Malaysian students participate in GSoC 2015.

By Hu Yuhuang, with photos by Yap Yee King
Categories: Open Source

Google Summer of Code Wrap up: OpenKeychain

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 18:00
Today’s Google Summer of Code wrap up comes from Dominik Schürmann at OpenKeychain, a project helping Android users communicate securely.ic_launcher.pngOpenKeychain helps you communicate more privately and securely. It uses high-quality modern encryption to ensure that your messages can be read only by the people you send them to, others can send you messages that only you can read, and these messages can be digitally signed so the people getting them are sure who sent them. OpenKeychain is based on the well established OpenPGP standard making encryption compatible across your devices and operating systems.

This was OpenKeychain’s first year participating in the Google Summer of Code program. We received two student slots, which we gratefully assigned to the best applicants. Their work was released as part of OpenKeychain 2.8.
Vincent Breitmoser worked on the cryptographic backend of OpenKeychain which is based on the low-level library Bouncy Castle. He rewrote almost all methods related to key operations and changed the way results are handled to allow a user-readable log of what actually has been processed. He also made the methods testable by dividing the backend into methods requiring Android and Java-only methods. Java-only crypto operations are now tested automatically using Travis CI.

mar-v-in worked on better integration of OpenKeychain into the Android OS, including better support for file encryption/decryption using Android 4.4 features. Now encrypting multiple files is possible using the Storage Access Framework. He also worked on an integration with Android's contact application by connecting contacts to keys in OpenKeychain by using email addresses as identifiers.

By Dominik Schürmann, Organization Administrator, OpenKeychain
Categories: Open Source

Google Summer of Code Wrap up: 52°North

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 18:00
Today’s Google Summer of Code wrap up comes to us from Daniel Nüst at 52°North, an international network of partners fostering innovation in Geoinformatics R&D.52north.pngThe open source software initiative 52°North completed its third year in a row as a Google Summer of Code (GSoC) mentoring organization. We were pleased to work with four students this summer. 52°North’s overall goals for the projects were to extend software with strategically promising features and to improve usability of the software.

Dushyant Sabharwal implemented a graphical user interface and permissions editor - the Time Series Protector – for administrators in his project “Access Control UI For SOS Servers“. This permissions editor regulates permission to access data via a Sensor Observation Service (SOS). An administrator can now define permissions for particular user roles which control how (operation granularity) the user can access which data (parameter granularity). The 52°North Security API handles access enforcement.

In his “ILWIS mobile app“, Bouke Pieter Ottow extended the ILWIS framework for geodata capture with a mobile application. The Gatherer app enables users to collect spatial data, store it on a remote server (while in the field or using a local template and cache) and access and visualize spatial background data, such as base maps, historic measurements or administrative maps.

Rahul Raja’s project “enviroCar UX Design“ extended the existing open source enviroCar Android application. The result is a more user-friendly app. He polished up the appearance, added various parameters and localization features, and enhanced the profile page to include track information, stats and graphs.

Simona Badoiu tackled the integration of Rasdaman as a data storage backend to the 52°North Sensor Observation Service (SOS) implementation. The “Sensor Data Access for Rasdaman“ is a complex and very challenging project, which required a good understanding of three different projects: Rasdaman, ASQLDB, and HSQLDB. Simona was able to provide a first prototype of the integration of array data and the Sensor Web data retrieval service SOS.

By Daniel Nüst, 52°North Organization Administrator and Mentor
Categories: Open Source

3, 2, 1 Code-in: Inviting teens to contribute to open source

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 21:15

Code-in 2014 logo

We believe that the key to getting students excited about computer science is to give them opportunities at ever younger ages to explore their creativity with computer science. That’s why we’re running the Google Code-in contest again this year, and today’s the day students can go to the contest site, register and start looking for tasks that interest them.

Ignacio Rodriguez was just 10 years old when he became curious about Sugar, the open source learning platform introduced nationally to students in Uruguay when he was in elementary school. With the encouragement of his teacher, Ignacio started asking questions of the developers writing and maintaining the code and he started playing around with things, a great way to learn to code. When he turned 14 he entered the Google Code-in contest completing tasks that included writing two new web services for Sugar and he created four new Sugar activities. He even continued to mentor other students throughout the contest period.  His enthusiasm for coding and making the software even better for future users earned him a spot as a 2013 Grand Prize Winner.

Ignacio is one of the 1,575 students from 78 countries that have participated in Google Code-in since 2010. We are encouraging 13-17 year old students to explore the many varied ways they can contribute to open source software development through the Google Code-in contest. Because open source is a collaborative effort, the contest is designed as a streamlined entry point for students into software development by having mentors assigned to each task that a student works on during the contest. Students don’t have to be coders to participate; as with any software project, there are many ways to contribute to the project.  Students will be able to choose from documentation, outreach, research, training, user interface and quality assurance tasks in addition to coding tasks.

This year, students can choose tasks created by 12 open source organizations working ondisaster relief, content management, desktop environments, gaming, medical record systems for developing countries, 3D solid modeling computer-aided design and operating systems to name a few.  

For more information on the contest, please visit the contest site where you can find the timeline, Frequently Asked Questions and information on each of the open source projects students can work with during the seven week contest.

Good luck students!
By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs
Categories: Open Source

Getting ready for Code-in: notes from BRL-CAD

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 18:00
The Google Code-in contest starts on December 1st for students. To prepare and inspire students, Christopher Sean Morrison, a dedicated mentor and organization administrator from BRL-CAD, talks a bit below about his experience with GCI over the last few years.
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BRL-CAD has participated in Google Code-in (GCI) for two years now, and it’s been amazing to see the frenzy of creativity and aptitude. Our community alone has had the pleasure of introducing more than a hundred students to the world of open source software. The students’ contributions get used all around the world even though many of these students had never heard of open source or computer-aided design (CAD) before they started on GCI. With GCI, they get to explore at their own pace, learn while they are completing real world tasks, and make genuinely useful contributions to open source projects.
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One great outcome of GCI is that students work as a team, often unknowingly, to achieve a complicated objective that has been broken down into piecemeal tasks. One example involved creating a scene like you might see at the beginning of a movie or a game: a half-dozen students modeled individual letters, others organized them into a scene, and a final rendering was made.  Another involved several students that unknowingly made BRL-CAD run much faster on Windows: they implemented various routines independently of each other, created test cases to demonstrate that functions worked correctly, and documented their improvements while others worked to tie it all together. Both examples might have taken even an experienced contributor weeks or months by themselves. GCI students earn recognition for these accomplishments and their work gets used by others.

For our BRL-CAD community, these young eager individuals have tackled and completed more than four hundred tasks related to computer graphics, 3D modeling, design, science, and mathematics. Some of these tasks helped our open source community grow while challenging right-brain creativity: students have designed new t-shirts, created YouTube tutorials, written blog posts, and modeled our logo for marketing materials (including the one shown above). Other tasks improved BRL-CAD by employing left-brain analytical thinking: students wrote code to fix bugs, improved websites, wrote technical documentation, and calculated 3D volumes, surface areas, and centroids.
There’s really something for everybody and every skillset. We’re excited to see what GCI 2014 will bring!
By Christopher Sean Morrison, BRL-CAD Organization Administrator and Mentor
Categories: Open Source

Google Summer of Code Wrap up: ns-3

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 20:00
Today’s Google Summer of Code wrap up comes to us from Tom Henderson at ns-3, a discrete-event network simulator developed for research and educational use.

The ns-3 network simulation project creates and maintains open source software for conducting performance evaluation of computer communications networks. Widely used in networking research and development activities, ns-3 is aimed towards the academic community involved in publishing original research, as well as towards educational use in undergraduate and graduate courses on computer networking. In 2014, the project mentored four students through Google Summer of Code (GSoC).

Piotr Gawłowicz: LTE Fractional Frequency Reuse algorithms
Piotr worked on algorithms for LTE Fractional Frequency Reuse. Mobile phone systems need to use radio spectrum very efficiently, particularly in managing interference. The ns-3 project has extensive LTE modeling capability which was initiated by a GSoC 2010 project. This year, Piotr extended the ns-3 LTE module to support a relatively new strategy for balancing interference mitigation and spectral efficiency known as Fractional Frequency Reuse (FFR). In addition to the FFR model code, Piotr delivered extensive corresponding test code, documentation and examples. He even fixed some LTE module bugs, developed several additional features (such as downlink and uplink power control and per-Resource Block Radio Environment Maps), refined the model for channel quality indicators, and refactored the power and interference calculation code. Piotr's code was merged to the mainline development tree in time for the September 2014 ns-3.21 release.
Rubén Martínez: Licklider Transport Protocol
Computer networks built for operation in outer space differ significantly from those found here on Earth. The propagation and networking delays for signals sent beyond the Earth may be as long as minutes or hours, confounding traditional systems accustomed to millisecond response times. Delay-Tolerant Networking (DTN) can be applied to these types of networks, and a specific protocol known as the Licklider Transmission Protocol (LTP), similar in purpose to the popular Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) used on the Internet, is designed to reliably deliver data across these types of links.
In his GSoC project, Rubén authored a model of LTP from scratch for inclusion in our future DTN module. This model includes about 5000 lines of new code and is being tested for interoperability against other implementations of LTP by using the ns-3 emulation mode which allows the simulator to exchange data with real protocol implementations. Rubén's model will soon help open up the use of ns-3 for space data networking research.
Truc Anh Nguyen: Understanding bufferbloat through simulations in ns-3
Bufferbloat refers to a phenomenon where network performance (latency, packet jitter, throughput) is diminished due to packet buffers at the ingress of a congested link becoming too deep. New "active queue management (AQM)" approaches help minimize packet transit times in congested queues. Anh’s project focused on addressing the known problems and testing the then-unreleased ns-3 CoDel queue model originally proposed by Andrew McGregor and Dave Taht. The revised CoDel model, test scripts, and example programs were included in the recent ns-3.21 release, and variations that build on this model are planned for future releases.
Krishna Teja: Multicast IPv6 traffic support
In his GSoC project, Krishna developed the Multicast Listener Discovery Version 2 (MLDv2) functionality for IPv6 in ns-3’s Internet module. The code is completely new, closely matches Internet RFC 3810, and (when merged) will be automatically enabled for any IPv6 node. Thanks to MLDv2, each router is made aware of the multicast groups that each attached host is interested in and can dynamically reconfigure its routing table. The protocol is part of an ongoing effort to enhance the multicast routing support in ns-3 for IPv6.

By Tom Henderson, ns-3 Organization Administrator
Categories: Open Source

Coding Android TV games is easy as pie

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 19:24
(cross-posted with the Android Developers Blog)

We’re pleased to announce Pie Noon, a simple game created to demonstrate multi-player support on the Nexus Player, an Android TV device. Pie Noon is an open source, cross-platform game written in C++ which supports

  • up to 4 players using Bluetooth controllers.
  • touch controls.
  • Google Play Games Services sign-in and leaderboards.
  • other Android devices (you can play on your phone or tablet in single-player mode, or against human adversaries using Bluetooth controllers).


Pie Noon serves as a demonstration of how to use the SDL library in Android games as well as Google technologies like Flatbuffers, Mathfu, fplutil, and WebP.






You can download the game in the Play Store and the latest open source release from our GitHub page. We invite you to learn from the code to see how you can implement these libraries and utilities in your own Android games. Take advantage of our discussion list if you have any questions, and don’t forget to throw a few pies while you’re at it!

By Alex Ames, Fun Propulsion Labs at Google*


* Fun Propulsion Labs is a team within Google that's dedicated to advancing gaming on Android and other platforms.

Categories: Open Source

GSoC Reunion Recap with Magdalen Berns

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 21:30
To celebrate the tenth year of Google Summer of Code (GSoC), we recently welcomed over 500 people who’ve participated over the years to a special Reunion event. We’d like to share a few recaps of the event from the perspectives of students and mentors who joined us from 50 different countries. Today’s summary comes from Magdalen Berns, a student participant in GSoC 2013 and 2014.

The GSoC Reunion was a really great experience for me. I traveled from Edinburgh for the event. It was wonderful chatting with so many different FLOSS enthusiasts all in one place and I made lots of new buddies who I’ll definitely keep in touch with.
On the first day, Google rented out a theme park for a few hours, letting us go wild. We successfully fought the urge to be sick on the rides as they spun us around. Afterward, we were invited to the San Jose Tech Museum where we got to listen to Linus Torvalds speak about the qualities of good code. The museum’s exhibitions were very interactive and I especially liked the one which demonstrated how ice hockey protective equipment is designed for goalies. I hadn't realised how sophisticated it is!
An "unconference" was held across Saturday and Sunday, and I really enjoyed the sessions I attended. For those who have never been to an unconference, it’s much more interactive than a typical conference talk. People ask questions and make comments throughout, making it a discussion. It’s definitely a format I can get on with!
One conversation which had begun around ending misogynistic trolling on internet dating sites got really interesting because it quickly developed into two groups who were each keen to address sexism from different angles. One group focused on online sexism and the other on sexism at conferences and other events. The latter group went on to discuss establishing a universal code of conduct available for FLOSS projects to adopt if they choose, while the former group considered developing software to deal with abuse on IRC. Everyone got so engaged that we chatted until the notetaker's wrists were sore from 2 or 3 hours of typing. It was incredibly heartening to see so many men who are interested discussing these issues in one place. I have never seen anything like that before in my life! It takes quite a lot of objectivity and emotional intelligence to be able to stand up for the rights of a group you aren’t part of.
Another session was led by a Googler and we discussed the potential pitfalls of publishing work in the public domain. Laws vary widely around the world, and there are places where the work may unintentionally remain under copyright protection. That is a compelling reason to use free or open source licenses. There have been few landmark court cases since FLOSS licensing came along, so it’s difficult to be certain what things will mean in practical terms. That session made me quite interested in learning more about copyright law.
On Sunday, there was a talk on The GNOME Foundation’s Outreach Program for Women (OPW) which was well attended. I learned that projects have to demonstrate their commitment by finding funding for a student before they can take part. I think that is a good idea, but it is a shame that there are not more sponsors available so smaller projects can get involved. Hopefully as OPW continues successfully helping women get started in open source development, more companies will step forward as sponsors.
I am always keen to talk about accessible software, so I initiated an unconference discussion on the topic in one of the rooms. Although that session was not well attended, those who were there had a lot to say and were very engaged with the idea of establishing a common interest group for accessibility developers. Get in touch if that sounds interesting to you too.
Finally, we got to visit the Google Headquarters on the final day of the reunion. We didn’t get to tour inside the offices, but I at least got a peek at the famous indoor slide… Maybe next time I’ll get a chance to go up to the top.

By Magdalen Berns
Categories: Open Source

Lovefield: a powerful Javascript SQL-like database query engine for the web

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 19:00
Today we are announcing the release of a powerful library to be added to the arsenal of every web developer's toolbox. Since WebSQL standardization efforts ceased in 2010, there has been no cross-browser relational database solution for web clients. Existing persistence solutions such as IndexedDB and LocalStorage fall under the category of object-oriented storage and therefore lack traditional relational database features.

Lovefield is finally closing that gap by providing a feature rich database query engine built using IndexedDB as a backend. It provides an intuitive SQL-like declarative syntax such that developers can pick it up with minimal effort. Its declarative form provides immunity to SQL injection attacks, since there is no query parsing involved. The feature list includes:

  • select, insert, update, delete queries.
  • atomicity with intuitive transaction semantics (unlike IndexedDB’s surprising auto-commit behavior).
  • integrity constraint checks (primary key, unique, nullable/not-nullable).
  • aggregators (count, min, max, sum, avg, stddev, distinct)
  • "group by" for select queries.
  • multi-table join
  • easier schema upgrade mechanism than IndexedDB.
  • cross browser support (Chrome, Firefox, IE10).


On the performance front, Lovefield includes a query optimizer which will evaluate different execution plans and finally pick the most promising. We are confident that current performance will satisfy the majority of use cases (less than 50k rows) and we plan to further improve the performance for larger datasets in the near future.

Lovefield’s vision is captured in this specification document and we are working to provide some more exciting features such as foreign keys, cascaded delete/update, self-table join, observers/data-binding, in the near future.

Lovefield is already successfully powering a few Google services, including Google Play Movies Chrome app. With this open source release we are hoping to enable the development of data-rich applications and to attract interest and feedback from developers which will allow us to better understand how to move forward.

By Demetrios Papadopoulos, Chrome team
Categories: Open Source

Google Summer of Code Wrap up: Point Cloud Library

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 19:00
Today’s Google Summer of Code wrap up comes from Federico Tombari at the Point Cloud Library project, a 2D/3D image and point cloud processing framework.
pointcloudlibrary_horz_large_pos.png
For the third year, the Point Cloud Library (PCL) organization has been a participant in Google Summer of Code. We had the opportunity to mentor 12 students who spent the summer developing projects related to 3D computer vision and robotic perception.
This year, I had the pleasure to mentor two students: Manuel Gesto and Jilliam Diaz Barros. Manuel worked on porting a recent algorithm (proposed last year at the ICRA conference by Karphaty et al.) related to object discovery. The idea is that a robot can wander around a room or a building, reconstruct the surrounding environment through Kinect Fusion techniques and then try to extract interesting parts - possibly objects - out of this 3D representation without an explicit training set. Manuel worked well in implementing on his own a segmentation method that was required for the algorithm. Jilliam worked on stereo matching techniques. She implemented two state-of-the-art algorithms, one focused on efficiency and the other on accuracy, which will enrich the stereo module already present in PCL. Also, she validated her work with a comprehensive experimental evaluation using benchmark datasets.
Alex Ichim from our organization worked with Andrei Militaru, a BSc student in Computer Science from Jacobs University in Germany. We looked into efficient representations for head models in the context of face reconstruction using RGB-D devices such as the Microsoft Kinect. In order to counteract the heavy noise and missing data from this kind of camera, we employed the concept of statistical face models (first introduced by Blanz and Vetter at Siggraph ‘99). To demonstrate this, we built an application that uses live data from the camera, registers and integrates it into a point cloud using the Kinect Fusion implementation in PCL; in parallel, another thread uses the data and fits the statistical model to it, yielding a low resolution face model that updates in realtime as more views of the actor are acquired.
Markus Schoeler was another student working with us this year. His project consisted of two sub projects, namely implementing the Locally Convex Connected Patches (LCCP) algorithm and a shape generator. The LCCP algorithm was published on this year’s CVPR conference and aims at segmenting a scene into objects and parts (by tuning parameters, you can "select" the desired level of detail). The shape generator puts special emphasis on giving users full control of how they assign labels in scenes. This makes it possible to easily create annotated data and decide how coarse the segmentation should be.
Federico Tombari, Organization Co-Administrator, Point Cloud Library
Categories: Open Source

Geometry Math Library for C++ Game Developers: MathFu

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 18:32
(Cross-posted with the Google Developers Blog)
Today we're announcing the 1.0 release of MathFu, a cross-platform geometry math library for C++ game developers.  MathFu is a C++ math library developed primarily for games focused on simplicity and efficiency.

It provides a suite of vector, matrix and quaternion classes to perform basic geometry suitable for game developers.  This functionality can be used to construct geometry for graphics libraries like OpenGL or perform calculations for animation or physics systems.

The library is written in portable C++ with SIMD compiler intrinsics and has been tested on Android, Linux, OS X and Windows.

You can download the latest open source release from our GitHub page.  We invite you to contribute to the project and join our discussion list!

By Stewart Miles, Fun Propulsion Labs at Google*

*Fun Propulsion Labs is a team within Google that's dedicated to advancing gaming on Android and other platforms.

Categories: Open Source