GSoC students progress

I've been lucky enough to be involved in a team mentoring two students contributing to Debian under the Google Summer of Code program this year. Both students have demonstrated a lot of enthusiasm and talent and have just passed their mid-term evaluations.

Students often provide a fresh insight to projects. Their potential is not to be underestimated: one diligent student, Thomas Herndon from UMass Amherst recently came to fame exposing fundamental spreadsheet errors in calculations used to back the IMF case for austerity. Herndon was lucky to receive a copy of the spreadsheet (the source was not published openly as in free software): that is one problem that GSoC students don't have to wrestle with.

Both of our GSoC students have exposed previously unknown issues in the code they are working on: Fabian discovered API differences in GnuTLS caused problems for dynalogin, while Catalin helped discover that some headers from reSIProcate are susceptible to ABI-breaking behavior dependending on the combination of CPPFLAGS.

DebConf this month

Both students are going to discuss some of their work on 17 August at DebConf - they are particularly keen to meet with other members of the Debian community throughout the week and find out how their work can best be leveraged by the community and Debian's wider userbase (and derivatives).

Fabian Grünbichler : one time passwords

Fabian's project has been working on oath-toolkit and dynalogin. These are excellent projects, helping us realise new opportunities to use tokens for various types of authentication exchanges, such as login. Part of his project involves implementing the recently formalized IETF RFC 6287 for OCRA in a practical way that developers can use.

Catalin Usurelu : real-time communications

Catalin's project involves working with a variety of open source communications applications to make them work well together on a Debian system. One piece of work he is just completing provides a turn-key SIP conferencing solution that could replace Mumble (which attracted quite some controversy in the previous Debian release cycle)

Community development

These are all community projects and any feedback from users and other developers is always very welcome. For example, if you have time to test or provide suggestions, please feel free to jump in on the mailing lists we use for these projects.