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Updated: 2 hours 27 min ago

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.

privly.png
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.
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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.
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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

Get the scoop on the Mentoring Organizations for Google Code-in 2014

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 18:44
We are excited to announce the 12 open source projects that will be acting as mentoring organizations for the Google Code-in 2014 contest that starts December 1st. The contest is designed to introduce 13-17 year old pre-university students to open source software development, giving them the opportunity to take the skills they have been learning in the classroom (or on their own) and apply them to a real software project. These open source projects have experienced mentors available —  all have participated in Google Summer of Code in the past with many also participating in previous years of Google Code-in.
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Before the contest begins, students should read up on the different mentoring organizations participating this year by clicking on the links below.Apertium - a platform for making rule-based machine translation systems BRL-CAD - a computer aided solid modeling system Copyleft Games Group - promotes players’ rights to create, play, modify, and share games Drupal - a content management platformFOSSASIA - a non-profit organization supporting developers and makers of the Free and Open Source community in AsiaHaiku - an operating system, fast and simple, inspired by BeOS KDE -  a powerful graphical desktop environment for Unix-like workstationsMifos - a non-profit org that brings technology-enabled financial services to the poorOpenMRS - a medical records system platform for developing countriesSahana Software Foundation - humanitarian open source disaster management software Sugar Labs - a learning platform that reinvents how computers are used for primary educationWikimedia Foundation - MediaWiki and extensions, powering Wikipedia and thousands of collaborative websites
Organizations will provide a list of tasks for students to work on during the contest in the following categories: coding, documentation, user interface, quality assurance, outreach, research, and training. Each task has at least one mentor assigned to it to help students should they have questions.  
The mentoring organizations are all busy working on identifying hundreds of tasks for students to chose from when the contest starts on December 1st. This year there are also beginner tasks available for students which are a great way for students to start working with the organizations and get a more complete understanding of the projects right away.
Starting on Monday, December 1st at 17:00 UTC, students that meet the eligibility requirements can register on the Google Code-in contest site and start claiming tasks and earning prizes.
For important contest information please check out the contest site for Contest Rules, Frequently Asked Questions and Important Dates.  We have a screencast about the contest available to view on our program site where you can also find flyers and other helpful information including the new Getting Started Guide. You can also join our announcement and discussion lists to talk with other students, mentors and organization administrators about the contest.
Students, join in the fun – Google Code-in starts Monday, December 1st!
By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs
Categories: Open Source

GSoC Reunion Recap with Cyrille Artho

Tue, 11/11/2014 - 19:00
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 Cyrille Artho, a five-year GSoC mentor from the Java PathFinder and LyX projects.
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Having been a mentor for Google Summer of Code for five years, I had always wondered what the annual mentor summit was about. However, because October is usually a very busy time of the year, my schedule had never made it possible for me to join... until this year’s special reunion where both students and mentors from all years of the program were invited.

This year's event was the biggest one ever with a crowd so large that finding someone was not easy. I had never met anyone from the summit in person so it was nice to see Stefano, my fellow LyX project mentor, in the hotel lobby. From there we could proceed straight to registration and the reception, and finally discuss our experiences with GSoC face to face. Up to that point, thousands of kilometers and usually 7 or 8 time zones had always separated me from fellow developers and mentors, as I am located in Japan.
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The next day, I chose to stay in the event meeting rooms instead of going to the theme park so I could get some work done while also having a chance to see what other people are working on. It is interesting that Google does not restrict GSoC to “infrastructure-critical" projects, but also includes games. However, games are not necessarily simple software; some games require complex algorithms to keep information from many clients consistent, so some of the software can be just as complex as part of an OS kernel.

The second day ended with a big reception featuring guest speakers at the San Jose Tech Museum where it was interesting to see what can make a project successful in Linus Torvalds' opinion. The code has to fulfill certain quality standards --"good taste", as he called it -- but persistence is just as important as that. Nowadays, with so many projects being available as open source, something that is just released and then updated for a few weeks after that is just a blip on the radar that will no longer be noticed by the community.

The weekend was dedicated to the heart of the event, the "unconference" sessions, which were for me the highlight of the reunion. I was actually surprised that a few free slots were available early on (as I consider the early slots to be the most valuable ones), so I jumped in and proposed a session on testing. It was interesting for me to see that everybody who attended is using some sort of automated testing at some level, but almost nobody is happy with the tools that exist today. Although people see the benefit of testing, creating and maintaining test cases is still a burden and we need higher-level tools that help us with that. Unfortunately, if we move towards test case generation, it is impossible to create a single tool that caters to everyone, so we need tools that can interoperate. Open source is good at that, but the process can still take years or even decades, as we need to solve open research problems and then come up with some standards so we can (in the hopefully not-so-far future) combine partial solutions into a big ensemble.

Other sessions were dedicated to both technical and non-technical topics (for example, how to make our GSoC projects successful), and also included tutorial-like presentations. This helped me understand what some projects (such as crash reporting tools) or groups were about in a way that I would probably not have found when looking for information in the virtual world. I also liked that people could come up with suggestions on session topics in real time, although this sometimes meant that a session that I would have liked to join was canceled just as it was about to begin, or some sessions ended up drawing only a few people while others had more attendees than seats were available in the room.

All in all it was a very intense and enjoyable weekend, and I will try to keep that late October weekend free from now on to increase my chances of attending future summits!
By Cyrille Artho
Categories: Open Source

Utilities for C/C++ Android Developers: fplutil 1.0

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 18:30

(cross-posted with the Android Developers Blog)
Today we're announcing the 1.0 release of fplutil, a set of small libraries and tools by Fun Propulsion Labs at Google* (the FPL in fplutil) that is useful when developing C/C++ applications for Android.
fplutil introduces the following:
  • build_all_android.py, an all-in-one build script that allows you to build (with the Android NDK), install and run native (C/C++) Android apps from the command line. This is ideal for build automation, but is also useful in a developer’s compile/run loop.
  • buildutil performs the configuration, build and archive steps of Android and Linux C/C++ applications using a suite of Python modules. This suite of modules can automate builds in a continuous integration environment. This framework uses legacy tools in the Android Development Toolkit.
  • libfplutil enables C/C++ developers to write traditional applications (like Hello World) using "main()" and "printf()" on Android.
  • android_ndk_perf.py is a desktop tool that enables native (C/C++) developers to measure the CPU utilization of their applications on Android, guiding their optimization efforts.  An example report is shown below:

android_ndk_perf.py example HTML report

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

Google Summer of Code wrap up: Ceph

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 19:00
We continue our Google Summer of Code 2014 wrap up series with Ceph, a distributed object store and file system. Patrick McGarry joins us for a review of two summer projects.



With our first year participating in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) in the rearview mirror, we are already looking forward to GSoC 2015. Over the summer, we learned useful lessons on how to engage with a broader audience and gained valuable code and developer insights. We had two GSoC students that were guided by three mentors, but we certainly hope to grow these numbers in the future. Read on for summaries of our developer projects.


Ceph Wireshark DissectorStudent: Kevin CoxMentor: Sage Weil

Wireshark, originally known as Ethereal, is a cross-platform, free and open source packet analyzer used for network troubleshooting, protocol development and general analysis. Although past efforts had been made to integrate Ceph protocols into Wireshark, these efforts were outdated and would no longer compile on a modern version of Wireshark.

This summer Kevin Cox was tasked with creating a new dissector that could be maintained easily and extended as both Ceph and Wireshark changed over time. The main points of the proposal were:
  • Create a strong framework from which the dissector can be built so that new message types can be added in the future
  • Develop code that allows the dissector to be accepted into upstream Wireshark
  • Work with the Wireshark team to get the dissector into Wireshark natively
  • Implement as many message types as possible


The code has been included in Wireshark, but it won't land until our next major release. Until then, users should follow the instructions on building and installing from the latest source. For more details, see Kevin’s student report.

Add Erasure Code to the Reliability ModelStudent: Veronica Estrada GaliñanesMentors: Kyle Bader, Loïc Dachary

One of the compelling features behind Ceph is the built-in data reliability. The default scheme to ensure that your data will still be around in the event of hardware failures is replication.  Ceph takes data, splits it into chunks, and replicates those chunks (3x by default) across physical servers. There are many things that could affect the reliability of your data (writes, disk failures, network interruptions, etc) and Ceph's reliability model was based around the concept of this 3x replication.

Erasure Coding” has recently been introduced as an alternative approach to data durability for Ceph. Unlike the default replication scheme, data can be stored in several chunks all on different physical servers with error correction information added. When one of those chunks becomes unavailable due to hardware failure, it can be reconstructed. The error correction information is much more efficient to store than literal copies of data; Ceph can often store data with erasure coding using only 1.4x the size of the data instead of 3x as with plain replication.

Veronica Estrada Galiñanes’ GSoC project was to model the impact that different replication schemes have on data durability in distributed systems. Veronica provided a thorough analysis starting with the existing system reliability. She then modeled several different approaches, including erasure coding and locally repairable codes. Although the analysis was focused on Ceph, it could be applied to any other object-based storage system.

This work provided a great methodology to analyze and confirm the redundancy and overall reliability of data within a Ceph system across a wide array of replication schemes. For the full student report, read Veronica's final report.

As we worked with the students, mentors, and other organization admins within the Google Summer of Code, we realized that students often have a different perspective of the world. This fresh perspective can offer insights and renewed enthusiasm that would otherwise be difficult to achieve. We found our experience with the program to be rewarding both in a tangible sense (code/developers) and, perhaps more importantly, in the intangible of new ideas and experience that will help broaden our ecosystem in the future. We hope to participate again next year!

By Patrick McGarry, Ceph Organization Administrator
Categories: Open Source

GSoC Reunion Recap with Abhishek Das

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 22:00
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 Abhishek Das, a student participant in GSoC 2013 and 2014.



In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Google's prestigious Summer of Code program, they organized a reunion for mentors and students from the past 10 iterations of Summer of Code in San Jose, California from October 23-26. I attended the event as a student and a representative of the OWASP foundation.

I traveled from New Delhi, India and arrived in San Jose early morning on the 23rd and checked in at my hotel. I knew I'd be staying in the heart of Silicon Valley but was nonetheless pleasantly surprised to see the Adobe headquarters from my room! The evening was spent registering for the event and socializing with other developers who had flown in from all over the world. It was a delightful experience to randomly bump into developers and get to know about their organizations and open source projects.

The next day was a fun outing to the Great America theme park. Google had bought out the park for the whole day just for the summit attendees! That evening, a GSoC celebration event was held at the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation. It was a wonderful (semi-)formal get together, full of geek speak and inspiring talks. Among the speakers were Chris DiBona, Alfred Spector, Peter Norvig, Dirk Hohndel and Linus Torvalds! Mr. DiBona talked about how he came up with the idea of Summer of Code and the immense impact it has had over the past 10 years as it continues to grow. Mr. Norvig's short inspiring talk mentioned how a bad craftsman blames his tools and how a good one wouldn't differentiate between the two. Hohndel emphasized the need and importance of valuing criticism. And Torvalds implored budding developers to develop good taste and to know what to keep and more importantly, what to throw away. Selfies with the guests followed alongside lavish drinks and buffet. 

The unconference sessions started Saturday morning. I loved the idea of having spontaneous sessions with lots of free interaction rather than the rigidity that is usually associated with conferences. Some sessions were run by Googlers but most were run by attendees. The first one I attended was by Grant Grundler (Googler) on Chrome OS. He talked about the future of Chrome OS and Android, the development cycle of a hardware-based product such as a Chromebook, the support model of Chrome OS and ended with a Q&A.
Next up was one on data visualization libraries. People talked about the libraries they were using and the applications they'd built using them. Others asked questions and lots of new ideas came up.
Among other sessions I attended were ones on Processing, bioinformatics (scope, ongoing work and future), artificial intelligence (again a brainstorming and ideation meetup), big data, robotics and Google Cardboard! There were also several lightning talks going on at the same time in the Ballroom where organization representatives introduced their projects in under 3 minutes. It’s always fun to listen to these quick talks and get familiar with their work.
Sunday morning began with the much awaited trip to the Googleplex.


Sessions continued till the afternoon after which we had to bid farewell. Carol Smith conducted the feedback session and delivered the closing address.
It was an absolutely awesome event. The feeling of getting to meet FOSS superstars in person, people who I'd been following on GitHub or Twitter for a while, was inexplicable. The idea of having a sticker exchange as well as a chocolate room was perfect. And most importantly, the organisers got all the basic things spot on: get open source developers from different backgrounds in one place and make it as comfortable as possible for them to interact and have productive discussions with each other (no shuttling between the conference venue and accommodation, free and fast WiFi, awesome food and drinks, a formal celebratory dinner, schwag, and so on). A big shout out to Carol, Chris, Stephanie, and the entire Google Open Source Programs team for an amazing event!

By Abhishek Das

Categories: Open Source

Google Summer of Code wrapup: The Concord Consortium

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 18:00
Today’s Google Summer of Code wrap-up comes from Cynthia McIntyre at the Concord Consortium, a provider of online educational activities.



The Concord Consortium is a non profit R&D organization based in Concord, MA, dedicated to transforming education through technology. Our digital tools and learning activities capture the power of curiosity and create revolutionary new approaches to science, math and engineering education that bring out the inner scientist in everyone.

Our two Google Summer of Code students did a fabulous job this summer.

Mobile-friendly HTML5 Seismic Eruption 
mash-upAbhinav Mukherjee worked on an HTML5 version of the popular Seismic Eruption software. (The original version ran only on Windows.) He has created a client side application that pulls data from the U.S. Geological Survey and displays it both on a 2D map using leaflet and in 3D space using three.js.

The software shows a visual display of the distribution, depth and magnitude/strength of the earthquakes and eruptions, as well as popup information about the type of volcano, date of eruption and information about plate boundaries. A user can cut a cross section into the 2D map, then choose the 3D view, or adjust the time range of the data being displayed in order to focus on certain earthquakes. We look forward to embedding this software in Earth science activities for middle and high school teachers.

Data analytics for user actions in HTML5 web appsFor our educational research, we would like to be able to capture detailed logs of student actions in browser-based activities, then analyze the data in a shared tool. Peeyush Agarwal worked on the Data Analytics Log Manager, a new server-side application that makes it easier for any project to log user events and then view them using CODAP (our Common Online Data Analysis Platform).

Logs from HTML5 applications or other client-side apps (e.g. Java) can be posted to the log manager, which stores them and provides access to registered researchers. The logs can then be filtered and transformed through a variety of methods (adding calculated metadata, adding new "synthetic events" by pattern matching) before being imported into CODAP for visual analysis.

By Cynthia McIntyre, The Concord Consortium Organization Administrator
Categories: Open Source

Google Summer of Code wrapup: OpenMRS

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 18:00
As a long-time Google Summer of Code participant, OpenMRS had twelve Google Summer of Code students in 2014. One of those students, Stephen Po-Chedley, writes more about his experience below as well as other students’ projects.


OpenMRS logo
Waking up to an uneventful landing in September 2013, I found our plane surrounded by dry grass fields. I couldn’t even tell that we were on a runway. I had slept through the approach over small clay houses and family gardens. This small, dusty country of Malawi is where I would spend the next year.

Prior to Autumn 2013, I had been a PhD student studying climate change in Seattle. As part of my research, I was constantly working through random technical and computational challenges. It seemed like every week I was hacking together some code in some unfamiliar language. While the work was challenging and interesting, I wanted to take some time away from my studies to apply some of these technological skills to issues even more acute than climate change.

Upon deplaning, I stepped away from supercomputers meant for climate research and found myself in Malawi working with barely functional laptops. As a volunteer with a health NGO in Malawi, I was slotted to help support the OpenMRS based electronic medical records system that was crucial for monitoring and evaluating the remote district’s health progress. OpenMRS is an open source medical records system used on every continent. The system was created to help provide management tools to meet global health challenges, especially in resource poor countries.

I quickly understood why OpenMRS was such an important tool. The system could generate reports to help us track down patients that had missed appointments, we could flag people who needed a change in medication or a new lab test, doctors could get an overview of their clinical practices, and clinical programs could get a snapshot of their patient cohorts.

Of course, any information that we derive is only as good as the data it comes from. With an entire district of health data being fed into the system, it is easy to miss some parts of records or mis-enter information. Any errors have the potential to affect patient care or high-level decisions made about programs. We need not only good data, but to also understand the quality of the data we have. And this is where Google Summer of Code (GSoC) became so important.

Over the last few months, I was able to work with mentors to design and begin to build a module within OpenMRS to help assess data quality. Beginning work on the project was terrifying for me because my programming experience was mostly hacking together code for scientific analysis. Most of my programming education has been through exhaustive Google searches and discussions with fellow geeks, but this was nearly impossible in Malawi working off of an unreliable satellite internet connection with pretty limited bandwidth.

But I could see that the project was important. My mentors were awesome and the OpenMRS community was incredibly supportive, offering invaluable advice to those that are new to the community. Throughout the summer, I learned a ton of new technologies and — together with my mentors — made a lot of progress on our project.


Group photo climbing a mountainMyself (crouching lower left) with my mentor Cosmin Ioan (standing left), and other colleagues climbing Sapitwa Mountain in Malawi.
Being involved with OpenMRS and Google Summer of Code 2014 was incredibly exciting and I feel fortunate that there are opportunities to continue to stay involved with the community. One important lesson was that open source projects have all kinds of ways to help. The OpenMRS tagline for GSoC is “Write code. Save Lives.” From my experience as an implementer and developer of OpenMRS, that motto rings completely true. It has been inspiring to see code pieced together by a diverse community of contributors from all over the planet to create a system that is literally saving lives.
You need look no further than the projects worked on during GSoC 2014 to get an idea of all the important work going on at OpenMRS:

On behalf of all the students involved with OpenMRS and the Google Summer of Code 2014, thank you to OpenMRS and to Google for supporting our work and to our mentors that helped make the summer so successful. It was an incredible opportunity to learn so much from world-class mentors, be involved in important work that makes a huge difference, and to get exposure to the rich communities that support open source projects.
By Stephen Po-Chedley, OpenMRS Student, 2014
Categories: Open Source

Mercurial Makers Meet in Munich

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 18:45
Back in August, the Google Open Source Programs Office sponsored a meetup for contributors to Mercurial, a distributed version control system. Learn more about their two day hackfest below.

On August 29th-31st, the Mercurial project held one of its twice-a-year sprints in the Google Munich office. Mercurial is a distributed version control system, used by Python, OpenJDK, and Firefox among others. We had 24 developers in attendance, some from companies with large Mercurial deployments and some individual contributors who volunteer in their spare time.

One of the problems Mercurial wants to tackle soon is scaling from supporting hundreds of thousands of files to supporting millions of files in a single repository. The community has identified two approaches to scaling: shallow clones and narrow clones. Shallow clones will allow clients to pull down only part of a repository’s history, and narrow clones will make it possible to pull history for only some files.

At the sprint, we talked through some of the initial narrow/shallow clone implementation hurdles, like how to securely and efficiently store large manifests, and made good progress on a plan. We spent time working on changeset evolution, which makes it easier to manage the process of collaborating on a patch before it’s done. A group also discussed how to make bookmarks work better for users of changeset evolution in large systems, including developing a good plan around remote bookmark management.
If you are interested in finding out more about Mercurial (or perhaps you’d like to contribute to make it scale even better!) you can find our mailing list information here.

By Augie Fackler and Lennard de Rijk, Google Engineering

Categories: Open Source