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Google Summer of Code 2009: Debian's Shortlist

Hi folks,

We have been pretty busy these past few weeks with the whole Google
Summer of Code 2009 student application process.
I can say that we have this year a very good set of proposals and I'd
like to thank all the students and mentors for this.

I am going to present to you our shortlist of projects that we would
like to be funded and believe we can reasonably manage to get funded. As
always, remember that the number of slots is not final yet at this point
so we can't promise anything. The first preliminary slot count given
today was *10* (same as last year) and we hope to get *2* more (as we
did last year).

This shortlist is alphabetically ordered because we don't want to reveal
the current internal rankings.

I am inviting you to debate what you think is cool, what is useful, what
is important to Debian, maybe give us pointers to resources or people
that could be helpful for the projects. We will try to alter our current
rankings to reflect the zeitgeist in Debian, while taking into account
the personal information that we have about each student involved.

The deadline for any modification is on the 15th, so get everything in
by the 14th. The final selected projects will be announced by Google
April 20th, ~12 noon PDT / 19:00 UTC. We'll have another announcement then.

Three proposals need or may need a mentor, I indicated it.

For more information about the projects or mentoring and how to talk to
us directly, scroll down past the list.

=== "Debian's Shortlist": ===

- Aptitude Package Management History Tracking
- Automatic Debug Packages Creation and Handling
- Debbugs Web UI: Amancay Strikes Back
- Control Files Parsing/Editing Library/Qt4-Debconf Qt4-Perl bindings
- Debian-Installer Support for GNU/kFreeBSD
- KDE/Qt4 Adept 3.0 Package Manager
- Large Scientific Dataset Package Management
- MIPS N32 ABI Port
- MTD Embedded Onboard flash Partitioning and Installation
- On-demand Cloud Computing with Amazon EC2 and Eucalyptus Integration
- Port back update-manager to Debian and all Derivatives
- Debian Autobuilding Infrastructure Rewrite

=== And the details: ===

* Aptitude Package Management History Tracking *
Student: Cristian Mauricio Porras Duarte, Mentor: Daniel Burrows

    Aptitude currently does not track actions that the user has
performed beyond a single session of the program. One of the most
frequent requests from users is to find out when they made a change to a
package, or why a package was changed; we want to store this information
and expose it in the UI in convenient locations. As a side effect, this
might also provide some ability to revert past changes.

* Automatic Debug Packages Creation and Handling *
Student: Emilio Pozuelo Monfort, Mentor: Marc Brockschmidt

This proposal aims at providing debug binary packages for the packages
in the Debian archive in an automatic manner, moving them away from the
official Debian archive to an special one. This has the benefits of
providing thousands of debug packages without any work needed from the
developers, for all the architectures, without bloating
the archive.

* Debbugs Web UI: Amancay Strikes Back *
Student: Diego Escalante Urrelo, Mentor: Margarita Manterola

    The Amancay project aims to be a new read/write web frontend to
Debian's BTS; allowing DDs and contributors to easily interact with bugs
via an intuitive yet powerful interface, enabling new workflows and
creating new contribution opportunities like triaging while upholding
reporting quality.

* Control Files Parsing/Editing Library/Qt4-Debconf Qt4-Perl bindings *
Student: Jonathan Yu, Mentor: (probably) Dominique Dumont *see below*

This project proposes a common library for parsing and manipulating
Debian Control files, including control, copyright and changelog. Main
ideas include validating and parsing of these files, with both Strict
and Quirks modes for the parser. The second idea is a new frontend for
Debconf using Qt4 (for which Perl bindings will be written).

* Debian-Installer Support for GNU/kFreeBSD *
Student: Luca Favatella, Mentor: Aurelien Jarno

    GNU/kFreeBSD is currently using a hacked version of the FreeBSD
installer combined with crosshurd as its own installer. While this works
more or less correctly for standard installations (read: the exact same
installation as in the documentation), it does not allow any changes in
the installation process except the hard disk partitioning. This project
is about porting debian-installer on GNU/kFreeBSD, and to a bigger
extent, make debian-installer less Linux dependant.

* KDE/Qt4 Adept 3.0 Package Manager *
Student: Mateusz Marek, Mentor: *NEEDS MENTOR, see below.*

    Finish Adept 3.0, a fully integrated package manager for Qt4/KDE4.
Adept is currently the only viable path to a Debian native package
manager on KDE that would support modern features such as tags, indexed
search or good conflict resolving. With Aptitude-gtk still in
development and only available for GTK+ and (K)PackageKit having
fundamental problems, Debian needs this project to stay in control of
its package management on KDE after much neglect in the recent years.

* Large Scientific Dataset Package Management *
Student: Roy Flemming Hvaara, Mentor: Charles Plessy

Large public datasets, like databases for bioinformatics are typically
too big and too volatile to fit the traditional source/binary packaging
scheme of Debian. There are some programs that are distributed in
Debian, like blast and emboss, that can index specialised databases, but
Debian lacks a tool to install or update the datasets they need and keep
their indexing in sync.

* MIPS N32 ABI Port *
Student: Sha Liu, Mentor: Anthony Fok

    This project first focuses on creating a new MIPS N32 ABI port for
Debian. Different from O32 and N64, N32 is an address model which has
most 64-bit capabilities but using 32-bit data structures to save space
and process time. A second focus will be given on making such a
“mipsn32el” arch fully optimized for the Loongson 2F CPU which gains
more and more popularity in subnotebooks/netbooks in many countries.

* MTD Embedded Onboard flash Partitioning and Installation *
Student: Per Andersson, Mentor: Wookey

    Many embedded devices have MTD onboard flash as persistent storage
like the Kurobox Pro NAS, the Neo Freerunner, the Sheeva Plug or the
OLPC. With MTD flash being so popular and with increases in capacity,
support for MTD partition/installation would make Debian even more
interesting to a wide range of of devices, making it one step closer to
being universal.

* On-demand Cloud Computing with Amazon EC2 and Eucalyptus Integration *
Student: David Wendt Jr, Mentor: (probably) Steffen Moeller *see below*

    In many academic fields, as well as commercial industries, people
use clusters to distribute tasks among multiple machines. Many times
this is done by packaging a whole operating system disk image, uploading
it onto the cluster, and having the cluster run it in a VM. This project
intends to make it easier for Debian to distribute prepared disk images
templates like they distribute CD images now, for the users to recreate
or customise these templates with Debian packages and for administrators
to host such clusters with Debian.

* Port back update-manager to Debian and all Derivatives *
Student: Stephan Peijnik, Mentor: Michael Vogt

The project would involve taking the distribution-(Ubuntu-)specific
update-manager code, analyzing it, and creating a package with just its
core functionality, decoupling the distribution-specific parts and thus
making the core code extensible by distribution-specific add-ons. This
in turn would remove the need of porting update-manager to Debian with
every upstream release. An additional optional goal would be replacing
the synaptics-backend with a python-apt based one.

* Debian Autobuilding Infrastructure Rewrite *
Student: Philipp Kern, Mentor: Luk Claes

    Rewrite the software that currently runs the Debian autobuilding
infrastructure in a way that makes it more maintainable and robust. It
will use Python as its programming language and PostgreSQL for the
database backend. By harmonizing buildds, many build failures can be
prevented and wasteful workload on buildd volunteers can be reduced.

=== On mentoring: ===

* KDE/Qt4 Adept 3.0 Package Manager:
Petr Rockai, the original developer of Adept has offered help to anyone
willing to adopt Adept. Sune Vuorela has offered help for any Qt4 and
KDE related issues. *We really need a mentor here*. The student is quite
competent but Google dictates that we provide a mentor to handle student

* Control Files Parsing/Editing Library/Qt4-Debconf Qt4-Perl bindings:
Dominique Dumont, although not DD, has signaled interest in mentoring
this, although it hasn't been confirmed yet. Sune Vuorela has offered to
help co-mentor for the Qt4-Debconf and Qt4-Perl bindings part.

* On-demand Cloud Computing with Amazon EC2 and Eucalyptus Integration:
Steffen Moeller has signaled interest in mentoring this, although it
hasn't been formally confirmed yet. Charles Plessy of the Debian Med
team will provide help for use cases related issues. Eric Hammond,
developer of the original vmbuilder image creation tool and maintainer
of a set of Debian and Ubuntu images will provide help for Amazon EC2
and image creation issues. Chris Grzegorczyk from the Eucalyptus team
will provide help for Eucalyptus and Eucalyptus/Debian integration issues.

=== Contacting us: ===

Considering the tight schedule, most stuff happens live on IRC:
#debian-soc on irc.debian.org

You can also consult our wiki page for some additional information:

We have a mailing-list at:

Keep this discussion on debian-devel@lists.debian.org while cc-ing
soc-coordination@lists.alioth.debian.org. This thread is for
debian-devel primarily.



Obey Arthur Liu

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