Tuesday 8 April 2008


Google summer of code(GSOC) 2008 is on. The program is alive with hundreds of projects for students under different mentoring organizations. We heard about the program last year, when two of our seniors got GSOC projects. Zope and SMC were their mentoring organizations. They successfully completed it and they got a reward of 5000$ and more over they got the FOSS India awards 2008. Here are the HEROS.

This year unfortunately the last date for submission of proposals was march 31st. We were busy with our third semester university exams, though we managed to prepare the abstract for three projects under three different organisations-Winlibre, Zope, and Rockbox. It was in between the DCS exam we prepared the abstracts with the help of Pramode Sir and Mobin Chettan. The abstract for Z
ope was prepared with the help of Nikhil Chettan and submitted under Renjith's name. Pramode Sir gave me new idea to propose under WINLIBRE and it is WINLIBRE-EMBEDDED, an open source tool for programming micro controllers with an IDE and a compiler. And the third one, Rockbox was submitted under Deepak's name. It is a project to add real media support to APPLE i-Pod.

As a next step we got into IRC to communicate with our mentors. We were really thrilled by their quick response. I was a little worried to talk to a mentor as the subject is more technical rather than a friendly chat that we usually do in chat rooms. But as we expressed our ideas they became more interested.

And about Winlibre, it is an open source package which contains multimedia, browsing, editing and some educational tools. It works on both windows and mac-os platforms. Our idea is to create a new tool for embedded system programming, particularly for programming the ATMEL AVR atmega8 microcontrollers. We are planning to make a tool similar to PARALLAX which is a proprietary tool basically meant for programming stamp family microcontrollers. It is famous as an educational tool. Our aim is to give an open source tool to replace parallax. The project details are as follows.

Our tool contains a user friendly IDE instead of the difficult command line.‭ ‬The only open source tool available now is the GNU C compiler.‭ ‬But programming a microcontroller‭ (‬for beginners‭) ‬is a tedious task with command line GCC.‭ ‬Our project has mainly three parts:-

1‭)‬Utility library-‭ ‬which contains functions for controlling hardware units of the micro controller (an AVR Atmega8).

2‭)‬BASIC compiler-‭ ‬which generates the corresponding assembly code for the micro controller.

3‭)‬IDE-‭ ‬in which user can code in simple BASIC language, get it
compiled and transferred to the microcontroller (using a program
like avrdude or uisp).

We hope the mentors are convinced and will approve our projects. And we plan to spend the summer vacations on the project if we get one.

Thanking Pramode Sir, Mobin Chettan and Nikhil chettan.