KDE has again taken part in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) as its biggest participating organization. Fifty-nine out of mind-boggling sixty projects have been completed successfully. Lots of new things have been learned, lots of code has been written and there's been plenty of fun. GSoC is over but the code has not gone away and the work is not finished. Over the next months, many of the students will continue to be part of KDE, integrate the code for future releases, improve it, maintain it, become more part of KDE. For now, however, pencils are down and we congratulate the students. It was a great summer and we enjoyed having you around!
Lots of variety
Many different KDE projects have been involved in Google Summer of Code 2012, including core libraries (kdelibs), accessibility, education, games, graphics, multimedia and PIM. Prominent KDE projects that are shipped independently from the KDE combined releases have also taken part, such as Amarok, the music player; Calligra, the office suite; Choqok, the microblogging client; Gluon, the game engine and KDevelop, the IDE.
The projects undertaken by students varied from under-the-hood code tweaking to reimplementing parts of the software using new technologies like QtQuick and QML to improve the user interfaces. Not every success will be noticed by our users immediately. Some of the projects focused on performance optimization; some will only prove fruitful in the future. Of course, to our developers and mentors every project and every effort was dear and precious!
Lessons learned and friends gained
The Google Summer of Code provides many valuable lessons, not only for the students—who get to learn from some of the world's leading free software developers—but also for the mentors who learn useful skills in training the next generation of KDE contributors.
Rishab Arora, who worked on improving KStars, enjoyed "the chance to work with amazing people from all over the world" and learned that "just because you cannot see something, doesn't mean it isn't important - clarity and readability are as important as working code". Samikshan Bairagya also worked on KStars and "got to learn the awesome concept of model-view and learned a lot about programming conventions and UI designing".
For Matěj Laitl, working on Amarok provided the opportunity to "finally work on open-source full-time during the summer without having to take less fun jobs on proprietary software". Fellow Amarok contributor, Phalgun Guduthur, sees the experience as "a platform to start contributing to open source projects that people use", noting that "it's satisfying to be part of something that is used by so many people around the world".
"The fact that you could learn about so many different things so quickly and so easily and get to interact with so many people" was the best thing for Pankaj Bhambhani, working on Facebook integration in Choqok. These thoughts were echoed by Francisco Fernandes, who worked on Krita, "the community interaction and the learning is the most valuable experiences"
There was praise, not only for the quality of mentors, but also the quality of software: " I learned how great Krita actually is," said Shivaraman Aiyer.
Thank you, great working with you. Don't be strangers!
Thank you to Google for this opportunity. Congratulations to our students again for their success; we invite you to stay with us. Keep hacking on KDE, keep learning and consider participating again in Google Summer of Code next year, as students or even as mentors, helping others get as much as possible out of the experience!
Let's help more students like Claudio Desideri to say: "I broke my limits".
2012 Google Summer of Code participants and their projects