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.