Busy Bee

10 Jun 2006

Hmm, I had expected the Summer to be quite interesting, but I am overwhelmed with the amount of excitement and work that it brought along. I haven’t had time to post on this blog for quite some time now, so this post is one mega-chunk that covers everything I’ve been doing in the past few weeks.

Well, my first aircraft flight was quite enjoyable. Despite what I had thought, my ears didn’t ring and I didn’t feel very uncomfortable during take-off or landing. A great experience overall, and I’m happy that I am now officially one of those people who have been in an international flight. The Singapore Changi Airport was a pleasant change from the still-under-construction-makeshift-so-called-airport of Bangalore! I spent some time soaking in the ambiance and excellent atmosphere over there. They were also offering free internet for the passengers at the airport, which I resisted against temptation.

The first thing on my mind after reaching Singapore was to find out what the results of the Summer of Code were. Fortunately (for me!) Google had postponed the results by a few hours, and I didn’t miss the party. An hour after hanging around in #summer-discuss, however, I received an email from Gentoo informing me that I had been selected. I was damn excited but a little cautious, Google still had the final say as to who was in and who was not. A little while later, the kind mentors from Ubuntu and Subversion also let me know that I was in. Joy O Joy. Now I was sure, that I was in, through some organisation or the other. These two acceptances were quite surprising too, considering the fact that I had spent only an hour making each of those proposals. More on that later though. I always had a soft spot for my Gentoo proposal, because I had put the most effort in preparing it, so I let Google know my ‘preference’.

As if that were not enough, a representative from Google (again, nickname withheld), let me know that was selected by 4 organisations! Indeed, one of the moments that I will remember for life. The news was definitely beyond my expectations, just hours earlier I was as nervous as hell as to whether I would get even a single slot in the SoC. Minutes later, I was informed that I was allotted the Gentoo project as per my request. All in all, a great experience but I did miss all the excitement and suspense that the others would have experienced when the results were actually announced.

The result announcement was quite eventful too, Google sent out around 1600 “Congratulatory” emails to those who actually weren’t selected, causing a heap of confusion. After apologies, everyone calmed down and the authoritative result was posted on everyone’s “Student Home” webapp.

The Summer-Accepted group was thrown open to all the selected students, and then began the worst landslide of posts I have ever seen. 600 Posts were made to the group in a matter of 10 hours. For the next few days, I was always greeted by atleast 200 messages in the morning. The situation is much calmer now, thankfully. Google has rounded up everyone’s tax forms and is soliciting transcripts now. Apparently they’ve sent out the $500 cheques, so everyone’s waiting for that along with a “surprise” that Google had promised. Some people received Fedex notifications, and there are rumours that the package weighs half-a-kilogram (around 1lb). I wonder what’s in it…

Meanwhile, I also made some progress on other fronts, like the roadmap for the Banyan Tree project, which was inpired by the Summer of Code. It is intended to be a platform like SoC, to connect developers with projects sans the $5000. Sounds hilarious, I know, but the project is in it’s infancy, and we’re working out the basic details. Join us on #banyantree (Freenode) if you’re interested, the IRC channel was kindly created by nman64 from the Fedora project.

Then, I released 0.0.3 of Media_wav2mp3 on Gnope.org, something that I’ve been supposed to do for quite some time now. It’s a GUI frontend to LAME for converting wav files to mp3, made in PHP-GTK 2. Speaking of PHP-GTK 2, we’re extremely close to an alpha release; the Win32 crash issue has been fixed, the PHP 5.2 compatibility issue is out of the way, and a considerable amount of patches are in. GtkSourceview and GtkMozembed have also been tested in Win32. Someone reported a UTF8 issue in GtkScintilla and kindly provided a patch, I made a some changes and committed it to CVS. I thinking we’re more or less, all set for the release. I’m actually waiting for the release, so that I can start on the PHP bindings for GNOME. Hmm, which brings me to the fact that I was later told that the 4th organisation to accept me was PHP, quite a blot from the blue, because the comments from both PHP and GNOME on that proposal were extremely negative and dismissive. If I had known that this proposal was the 4th one to be selected, I probably would have chosen this over Gentoo, considering the fact that I had already completed much of the groundwork involved here, but ah well, the Gentoo devs are just too wonderful to work with!

I do feel kind of bad that Ubuntu and Subversion had to miss one slot each because of me. So I offered them to do the project for them anyway, a little later though. My work in Singapore (which involves a lot of Java, I’m working on building a Struts application that uses RDF data as the model, deployed on Tomcat… truly interesting) concludes on 8th July, and I will be able to dedicate some time to both those projects then.

BTW, I setup another blog to track my SoC progress, and updated KiX to reflect the re-ordering of projects. I also hope to write some more about my whole SoC experience and give some good pointers to next years’ SoC aspirants as this years’ program concludes. We’ll see.

Well I guess that’s about it, quite a lot of work ahead of me. Should be fun!

This must be the longest post I’ve ever written. So I guess this means I won’t be posting for quite a while now ;)