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GSoC Bird of Feather Session at OpenSourceBridge


The first day of OpenSourceBridge was amazing and we finished it off by having a Bird of Feather session for people involved and/or interested in Google Summer of Code.

gsoc_bof_osbridge1.jpgI know that it was very helpful to hear and talk about how the current GSoC is going with my fellow organization admins, mentors and students. Cat Allman, Ellen Ko and Leslie Hawthorn contributed a lot of knowledge and experience about how to deal with things when they go pear-shaped, and I even met an organization and mentor that are my neighbors! Some of the great ideas that came out of this were that first-year organizations would be greatly helped by having a "buddy" organization that has been involved in GSoC before, so that a brand-new organization admin can have a friendly ear to bend when they need help. I mentioned this because I usually bend Bart Massey's ear when I need some GSoC guidance, and I thought that other first-year admins could also greatly benefit from something like this.

I was a mentor for the The Perl Foundation last year, with the Math::GSL project and this year I find myself the organization admin as well as a mentor for the Math::Primality project, which implements advanced prime-checking algorithms for Perl 5. It is definitely a big step to go from mentor to admin and meeting up with people in the same situation really helps!

I will definitely be going to OpenSourceBridge next year and hope that we have a GSoC meetup there again.

Google Summer of Code Updates

If all the dates and timelines of Google Summer of Code have you confused, this nice color-coded visualization of each part of the summer may help make it more sense.

Next week is the super-cool-with-extra-awesomesauce conference Open Source Bridge, which is all about being an "open source citizen." ( I recently had to explain to someone that it was not an "Open Sores Conference". Much hilarity ensued) . There will be many open source folk from around to globe, including many GSoC mentors, students and the program manager, Leslie Hawthorn. This prompted me to create a Bird of Feather session for GSoC people. This is for anybody that has every been part of GSoC or is interested in participating in the future. Come on by and hang out!

As always, you can find us in #soc-help on if you want to get involved.

The Perl Foundation GSoC2009 Roundup

So much has been going on this summer of code! As a recap, TPF got nine student slots this year, which means we have nine mentors and nine students working on various things this summer. Here is a sample of what has been going on recently.

Pascal Gaudette describes his love for debugging tricky HTTP/1.1 issues in Mojo
and has even added a "featurette."  Devin Austin has been talking about
eviscerating Catalyst::Helper and Daniel Arbelo Arrocha has thoughtfully
detailed the difference between bonding and bondage. My student, Robert Kuo,
has been busy reading the mathematical paper and example C implementation  of
the Strong Lucas Pseudoprime primality test for Math::Primality . While installing Math::GMPz, which we use to access the GNU Multiprecision Library (GMP), he found a small issue which caused some test failures and submitted a bug report.

Math::Primality also very recently gained a working is_prime() method, which
works for arbitrary sized integers, due mostly to Robert Kuo's implementation
of is_strong_lucas_psuedoprime() being finished. Now you can test for prime numbers in Perl without installing Math::Pari! More about this in a separate post!

Ryan Jendoubi is working on a Perl interface for wxWebkit and Hinrik Örn Sigurðsson
is working on the command line utility to read Perl 6 documentation called grok.
Justin Hunter has been hacking on his blogging software so that he can blog about
his work on SQL::Translator. Sometimes it's a vicious cycle...

Back to hacking on some code!

Perl Mongers, Where Are Your GSoC students?

Are you a Perl Monger group that hasn't yet found a student to apply for Google Summer of Code? Now is the time, the deadline is this Friday, 3 April 17:00 UTC/12 Noon PDT! Adding your trials and tribulations to the TPF wiki is still valuable, even if you did not end up finding a student. It is valuable to know which PM groups are trying to do outreach in the community and how other PM groups can help.

Students, The Application Deadline for GSoC is Close!

  • Why Google Summer of Code Should Matter To You
If you are a student, many of the great opportunities that GSoC opens up are described in this video, Code Conversations #3 with Leslie Hawthorn. She goes into many success stories of previous students and talks about how there is room for all skill levels, not just experts. There is also a Youtube video made by Joshua McAdams about The Perl Foundation and Google Summer of Code.

  • Deadline
The deadline is this Friday 3 April 2009, 17:00 UTC/12 Noon PDT, so now is the time to submit your application! There is the project ideas page for you to see what there is to hack on and the application template to hammer your ideas into a plan. We have a  google group for students to ask questions and there are always some helpful people in #soc-help on to ask. For up-to-the minutes status updates, follow me on twitter and/or search for the "#gsoc" tag on your favorite aggregator.

  • Project Ideas
Some really good ideas that don't have application yet are:

  • Work on the Perl 6 Test suite, (really important!)
    • Object system (multi method dispatch, object creation, role mixin), introspection
    • Regexes/grammars: inheritance, action methods for grammars, structure of Match objects; built-in rules; modifiers.
    • built-in types, especially container types (like KeySet, see S02)
    • Exceptions, control exceptions, catch-blocks
  • Advanced primality testing for Perl, necessary for testing native cryptography
  • YAML parser as a PGE grammar wrapped by Perl 6 module
  • Port Crypt::Random to Rakudo
  • Work on IO subsystem in Rakudo
  • Add Callgrind output to Parrot
  • GSL bindings to Parrot via NCI
  • November, a Perl 6 wiki engine
  • POE (Perl Object Environment)
Students, submit your application now and get feedback from the community on the GSoC webapp, Melange! Now is the best time to get involved in the open source project that you have always dreamed of working on and get paid to do it

GSoC Info-Session Roundup

Eric Wilhelm and I attended a Google Summer of Code info-session at UWashingtion on Friday, which was attended by a few dozen students that had very diverse backgrounds and interests. We answered many basic questions about how mentoring works, especially when mentors and students are spread across time zones and language barriers.
Trista Taylor (a university liaison for Google) had slides and gave an overview of what GSoC is about, then Eric did a general overview of the state of Perl. I followed up with some specific about what TPF did last year and some hints for prospective students on these slides. Then Craig Dowell from the ns-3 Network Simulator Project talked about their organization's involvement and experiences in GSoC. All around it was a good experience and many students that had never heard of GSoC before got a taste for what it's all about.

I would definitely recommend doing this to other mentoring organizations and I am definitely interested in further activities strengthening the ties between Perl and academia.

GSoC 2009 Mentor Signup Form Go!

I have created a Google doc web-form/spreadsheet to keep track of mentor interest and to have handy when I fill out the GSoC mentor organization application. If you have emailed me expressing interest in being a mentor, please fill out this spiffy web-form so that logistic nightmares can be averted.

Upcoming GSoC dates

  • March 9-13  Mentor organization application period
  • March 18  Mentor organizations announced by Google
  • March 23 - April 3 Student application period
Yes, that is right, all student applications must be done in a month, so start writing and hacking and Jolly good day!

Applying to Google Summer Of Code 2009 with The Perl Foundation

Are you an eligble student that wants to participate in the Google Summer of Code 2009? Do you want to work on the exciting Rakudo or Parrot projects, or a CPAN module, or your favorite Perl application, or hack on Perl 5 internals? Then you want to apply to The Perl Foundation. Right now this means contacting me directly at jaleto at gmail dot com. Keeping in contact with Twitter is also good, the #gsoc tag is very useful.  You may also want to get some ideas from the 2008 projects.

Applying involves coming up with a well-written document that describes exactly what features you will add or create, along with a timeline with "milestones" of what will be accomplished each week of the summer. Of course this changes with circumstances, but having a good plan always helps. The community members of the project that you apply to should help you with this, as well as give you advice about what is possible in the allotted time and give advice as to what is possible with the current infrastructure of the code. The best ways to do this is to get on developer mailing lists, introduce yourself, perhaps fix a small bug, add a test or some documentation and most probably you will be given some kind of commit access.

If you want to hack on Perl 6 on Parrot aka Rakudo, then all you need is a free GitHub account and you can contribute patches directly. You do this by pressing the  "Fork" button. You should be presented with a page that says there is some "hardcore forking action" going on and then be redirected to your brand-new fresh personal fork of Rakudo. More on this in future posts.

One of the nice features of GitHub is the network-view of a project. For instance, here is the network view of rakudo.git with a base of my fork.  It allows you to visualize which branches have which features pretty quickly, which tells you which branches you should merge with. This has turned out to be immensely useful in all of the GitHub repos that I hack on.

I am interested in being a mentor for TPF this year as well, and some of the random projects that I would be interested in mentoring are:

Other projects that students may want to check out are:

  • November - A wiki engine written in Perl 6
  • Moose - A modern Perl 5 object system
  • Catalyst - A very popular Perl web framework
  • Mojo - A "next generation" web framework for the Perl programming language.
There are tons of other projects, if you are one of them, please let me know!

Students, start getting to know the developer community of the projects now, deadlines are fast approaching!
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