Google Code-in stories – part 4

KDE mentored a lot of students during Google Code-in and I asked some of them to write about their experience.

Subhashish writes:

Well my first KDE task was “Research: Understanding KDE Users (Individuals)” with mentor Carl Symons (kallecarl). This was my fifth task in the Google Code-In Contest 2011. To be honest, this task (of the three KDE tasks that I’ve completed as of now) was one of my favorite tasks as it was a research tasks in which I tried my best not to leave out any little detail.

It was late night (12:00 AM, Monday, December 5) when I requested a claim for this task. Feeling tired after a nice Sunday, I went to sleep to wake up to a cool Monday morning to see task assigned to me, but I could proceed no more with the task courtesy, the power cuts we are facing here these days. The rest of the day was uneventful for I had to study for my forthcoming exams.

The next day I was able to get kallecarl’s contact details and contact him on #kde-promo. I had a long chat with him about my task asking him what KDE Promo team does, about the Akademy events and many more questions. The best part was that he was patient and was ready to answer my every query. He seemed to be an informative and helpful person (as I observed him) as the other mentors that I’ve worked with.

The above paragraph depicts my normal procedure of starting things with every task that I’ve done. Get the mentor’s email address and most importantly the IRC nick if he/she uses IRC. Then chat with them about the task, its background, scope where things can be improved etc. Then start working on the task.

Research tasks are my favorite because one can get to see how a project functions, which I did get to see but partially, to be honest, little but to a considerable extent. After all how much can one expect to observe within some countable days while working with one part of a project? But as the open source projects are (I mean transparent), one can get to understand it (the project) if one sticks with it and observe for some months which I’d gladly do but that’s another thing.

Understanding what the KDE Promo team needed for the task, I hopped onto the task, put my thinking cap on as I needed to put forward some proposals for conducting the research. I categorized my task’s objectives, looked into what methods may be needed to do the research, borrowed some ideas, drafted a sample document and mailed it to my mentor who politely suggested me some changes and said he was looking forward for more in his reply. From there on, I got excited enough to help me focus more on the task. Funny isn’t it how humans get more dedicated to a task they do if they are encouraged a little?

With that enthusiasm I completed that task and I’ve been completing all of my claimed tasks by doing everything I could to do the tasks justice and which every student participating in this contest would be doing too. Coming to us (the participants), we must realize how great an achievement it is for us to complete at least one task in this contest because we are contributing our efforts to the organizations who need them the most because they serve the humanity by crafting certain free technologies that are class apart and which help the common people. Most of the contributors of these organizations put their heart into these valuable creations in their spare time. These open source organizations, the developers, the contributors and all those who help such projects to improve are the real heroes. Working with them to contribute to their (and ultimately our) cause is a great achievement in itself. It is how I feel and how every participant of this contest must feel.

To be honest, the prizes set for each student who does at least something in this contest are a draw for students like us but it also creates an awareness in us to understand the importance of the term ‘open source’ for those who can see it. I got an opportunity to interact with real heroes who are also nice people. I also understood that there are more ways to contribute other than ‘coding’ and I am really glad that I am doing it. Thank you KDE for giving me a chance voice my opinions! Thank you Google for giving us a rewarding opportunity to work with such amazing organizations!

Google Code-in stories – part 3

KDE mentored a lot of students during Google Code-in and I asked some of them to write about their experience.

Areke writes:

When I first heard about the Google Code In, I was riled up with anticipation. I waited anxiously until midnight of November 21 so I could get started on a task, as this was my first year participating. When the time came, I quickly became disappointed because Melange had quite a few bugs and it was impossible to actually start a task. Well, that might not have been the case for everyone, but it was for me. After about an hour of frustration, I went to sleep hoping to find a task first thing in the morning.

Many days went by and I started completing some tasks. After about five tasks, I started one for KDE. The task was to create a donations landing page to increase the amount of donations they get. After claiming the task, I immediately went on IRC to ask my mentor how to get started. I was given editing access to a blank page and began to code away.

I had gotten the basic layout down and now it was time to fix some issues. I needed to clean the page up a bit because there were a few parts that didn’t look so good. I started to have problems. Every time I tried to fix something, another problem came up. More and more frustration started building inside of me so I decided to take a break.

When I came back to it, I found that I was able to resolve the issues very quickly and was appalled by how simple the solution was. I submitted the URL to my work and waited for a response. I was bummed out when I was told to fix some things, but it was no problem. They were easy fixes and I was soon on my way to my seventh task.

Working with KDE hasn’t just widened my knowledge of programming, it also taught me some important values. Working with KDE has taught me how important it is to have patience, but if I ever feel discouraged or frustrated, I should take a break and come back to what I was doing later. This is something that I feel is very important in life, and now I am very glad that I worked with KDE.

Radoslav writes:


My name is Radoslav, I am from Bulgaria and it is my first apperance in Google Code-in. It all started when my teacher, who is also my cousin, gave us homework to make at least two tasks. A completed my first task which was to check if old KMail bug reports are still valid, which was easy and I finished it for no time. Afer that I had to make a Team Presentation of the Amarok developers team. Now I know who is behind it. And then I completed two more tasks form KDE. One was to make a research and to give some ideas which KDE apps could be ported to work on Plasma Active which once more made me think that KDE developers are doing some crazy stuff 🙂 The other task was to make a research how to understand the KDE users and my mentor was Carl Symons and he helped me a lot with the task.It was more like a team work: I write and he gives he second opinion on the problem. My task was to make five different research methods for understanding the KDE users, I had to search and say for every method what are the pros and what are the cons. It was a hard task and some kind of important for everybody. The task was completed and when the actual research I hope I will be a part of it too :). I met some other very interesting people and I see that KDE is not a community but a family and I want someday to be part of a family like that. 🙂

Google Code-in stories – part 2

KDE mentored a lot of students during Google Code-in and I asked some of them to write about their experience.

Arushi writes:

At such a young age working for KDE was like a dream come true. KDE gave me the kind of exposure I have always wanted. It allowed to communicate with different people across the globe and thus enhanced my communication skills. Not only this, I also got to know what opinion other people had about KDE. Surprisingly, all the tasks that I have done are for KDE.
Join The Game, a great program working for a great cause really helped me kick start my work. The very first task that I did was for this organization where in I was required to collect quotes from prominent community members. This task not only encouraged me to converse with people across the globe but also gave me awareness about a magnificent community which encourages free software. Yes, its true :- KDE has awesome technology developed by an incredible community. So, don’t be late Join the Game 😀
My second task that was a survey based task improved my research skills and by all means increased my knowledge and awareness about different non- profit organizations. I was also able to get an inside on what these organizations do for their donating members. Exploring the official websites of the organizations such as FSFE, Mozilla etc. was challenging yet amusing, I really learned lots of new things.
But, the most fun task was to help organize a release party. It was fun and an awesome experience as I got to create different pages and also the opportunity to advertise such a great event. KDE made me realize how much effort and hard work everyone is putting in. I even got the chance of being an amateur blogist 😛 as I wrote two articles for the parties to be organized.
KDE has helped me grow in ways which I can’t even explain. I think I owe a lot to KDE 😉

ravst writes:

The whole idea of the contest is to show to young people what taking part in open source projects fells like. Every contestant gets to choose a task form a HUDGE tasks list, where lot of different organizations put jobs that should be done to improve they projects.
I signed up for the event mainly to earn some money and of course also to learn something and gain valuable experience, but when I started working on my first task, everything changed. I felt something I’ve never felt before; I was happy because I knew that what I was doing wasn’t just another school project, which would be marked and forgotten. It was something that could help people. To be honest, it wasn’t anything spectacular, but even though it felt great to be helpful. My first task was to write subtitles for a You Tube video about a pearl environment. It was very satisfying to see those subtitles being uploaded seconds after I’ve sent them to my mentor. Another task I relay enjoyed doing was dividing a big audio file into smaller ones, containing step by step instructions that would be used in a GPS application for a mobile phone. Thanks to the GCI contest I realized what it is like to take part in an open-source project. Believe me, it’s great.

Google Code-in stories – part 1

KDE mentored a lot of students during Google Code-in and I asked some of them to write about their experience. I’ll be publishing them here over the next 5 days.

Valery writes:

Google has given school students from all over the world a great opportunity to work with open-source projects, and not only help community, but also earn some money and get a great branded T-shirt. The opportunity is Google Code-In.

It’s the second time I take part in this contest, and the second time I contribute to KDE.

When I claimed my first task in Google Code-In 2010, I felt a little anxious. That task was about improving a sky map application — KStars. I’d already had some experience with C++ and Qt but I had never worked with such a big project before. But when I got in touch with the mentors — Victor Carbune and Akarsh Simha — I understood that there was nothing to worry about! If I had any questions I always got answers to them.

This year I took part in the development of a similar (in some aspect) application — Marble Virtual Globe. This time I had more experience and was better prepared for the tasks. Mentors — Dennis Nienhüser and Torsten Rahn — were really supportive. With their help I’ve managed to improve some of the Marble plugins: Open Desktop social network plugin, Weather plugin, Measure plugin. Also I’ve recorded a new Russian voice set for the navigation speaker. Now everyone can hear my voice while using Marble Navigator!

Also I’ve prepared some Russian translations for KDE applications.

Unfortunately, that’s the last time I take part in Google Code-In. Next year I will be a university student. I am really happy that I was given such a great chance to work with the KDE community. I’d really like to contribute to KDE in future, maybe as part of Google Summer of Code, too.

Thank you very much!

Joan writes:

GCI, Google Code-in, is a project by Google in which FLOSS organizations create tasks for students to complete. KDE is among them, and I completed one task for this organization.

While I did already know about KDE, and have been using it for long, I had never heard of OwnCloud, the subproject for which I completed tasks. My first thought was “how weird, a KDE project without a K!”. However, it turned out to be an amazing project: a cloud computing server, with an HTML interface, which was free and open.

I liked the idea and started working with it. The task consisted in embedding a PDF viewer inside the interface; the viewer to be used was the amazing PDF.js by Andreas Gal, among others. I had heard of it, and thought it would be great to actually work with it, and learning about its internal API.

I completed the task, mentored by Bartek Przybylski. It turned out to be much fun, and I also learned a lot from it. To begin with, interaction with another FLOSS community. I had already worked with other FLOSS organizations, but I found the environment different (new things!). On the other hand, it was really great because I learned a lot about git, the revision control system. Used to SVN, this was a huge step forward. Furthermore, I also had to use it in other tasks, so it was great.

Overall, a great experience. I learned a lot, from it, and was really worth the effort. The initial thoughts about prizes faded away as I began working on this task.

We have some Code-in tasks left over for you!

Over the last weeks we’ve had the pleasure to introduce a lot of young people to Free Software through the Google Code-in contest. As in the previous edition the results were awesome. I’ll write about that later though. For now I wanted to do two things:

  1. Thank you mentors, admins, Google and of course participants! It wouldn’t be possible without you.
  2. We closed nearly 400 tasks (did I say amazing already?). There are another 50 tasks that were not closed within the time of the contest. However I am sure their mentors would still love to get them done. So if you are looking for a nice way to get started contributing to KDE here is your chance. Pick a task and contact the mentor. If you have questions you can join us on IRC in the channel #kde-soc on freenode or you can send an email to the mailing list kde-soc at

KDE’s 4.8 release party in Karlsruhe

If you live near Karlsruhe, Germany you’re invited to join us on January 28th at 19:00 at Cafe Stövchen for a release party. KDE contributors and users are welcome as are people from other Free Software projects. Please add your name to the wiki so I can plan better. It’ll be a fun evening.

You don’t live near Karlsruhe? Check if there is a party near you on the wiki page and sign up for that. No party near you yet? Organize one! It’s really not hard and a lot of fun.