GSOC - it begins...

My Fedora proposal got accepted to this year’s Google Summer of Code Program. You can look at a short abstract here . Now I’m going to try to explain what this project is about and what I did to prepare for being accepted, hopefully without going mad about how happy I am about it.

I started work on the Fedora Project almost a year ago. One day I popped on the mailing list and then on the irc channel of the infrastructure team and asked for something to do. Luckily, Toshio Kuratomi was on the watch and after giving me a short tour of the various projects he could help me get familiar with, I picked the package database. Most of the work I’ve done so far is in the pkgdb (the search capability is the most obvious thing I worked on). The overview on the front page describes it quite well; it’s got package information and it’s aimed at package developers. It’s not a very famous part of the fedora project websites, certainly not as famous as something like packages.ubuntu.com is for ubuntu. But that’s not what it was intended for, even if that’s what attracted me to the project at first. I liked the exposure of such a website, but also the fact that, at the time, it was easier for me to understand what it did and how it worked :).

The idea of making the package database more user-friendly as opposed to developer-centric wasn’t a new one. Toshio, the main developer had been thinking about it for a long time, but I guess it never really became a priority. The idea had also been proposed for last year’s GSOC, but it hadn’t been accepted (this scared me a bit when I found out). I picked this idea on a whim when I told Toshio I wanted to participate in this year’s GSOC on pkgdb and he asked me what exactly I wanted to do. I wasn’t expecting the question, so I answered with the first thing that came to mind. Looking back, I think it was a good choice.

All my involvement with the Fedora Project owes a lot to the best possible person who could have become my mentor for GSOC. The Infrastructure Team is a great one to work with, and the Fedora contributor community is made up of a lot of smart, fun and selfless people. I say this after having spent a lot of time lurking the IRC channels, the various mailing lists, the planet etc. and to a somewhat lesser extent interacting with other contributors. However, I wouldn’t have continued contributing if it weren’t for the continuous support and guidance of Toshio. I probably wouldn’t have been able to participate in the GSOC without the many discussions (starting in February) with Toshio about the proposal and the support when explaining the idea to other community members. Having said that, I think that being familiar with the pkgdb also helped a lot with writing the proposal. I didn’t have to waste time on getting to know the code, the community, the devs as I would have if I had written a proposal for a different project. I also had a fair idea of what would constitute a good proposal and a rough idea about how it could be implemented. I think this helped with my credibility in the eyes of the mentors who ranked my proposal.

I was never convinced I would get a spot on Fedora & JBoss’s accepted proposal’s list , but it was is a great thing to dream of. The butterflies in my stomach were killing me at the end of the waiting period, especially since it had lasted for more than 2 months. I now have a summer to work full time on my hobby :).

At the end of the summer, the fedora community will hopefully have a package database with package versions, size, dependencies, rss feeds, tagging, package reviews etc. There’s even a detailed schedule from my proposal you can drool on if you’re so inclined.

And hello, fedora planet! Sorry for being late.


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