We went to the Google Mentor Summit in California for the week-end, let's talk a bit about it ...
The Google Mentor Summit
Every year, Google organizes the Google Summer of Code. This event is an opportunity for students to work on Open Source projects during the summer and being payed by Google.
At the end of the program, Google invites two person of each organization that has taken part in the Google Summer of Code for a week-end at Google's Campus in California. This event is called the Google Mentor Summit.
We took the flight from Paris to San Francisco airport. In the plane we met some persons working for other open source projects: that helped spending the 11 hours until the end of the flight.
A bus was settled to take us from the airport to the hotel. Then we went to the lunch organized by Google, helped us meeting people from other projects. Then Google had organized a lunch
At 9 am, every mentor went from the hotel to the Google Campus for the welcoming conference. The goal of this conference was to explain the main concept of the Google Mentor Summit: the Unconference.
The principle is really simple: every person who wants to talk about a subject writes down the subject on a paper, then everyone votes for his preferred topics. According to the their popularity, a room is attributed to each subject.
I decided to attend the following topics:
- Static code analysis
- Open Source Multimedia (suggested by jb)
- Chocolate Session
- Google Code In
Static code analysis
The discussion was mainly about the different Static Code Analyzers that can be used to improve the quality of Open Source softwares. We examined the available tools:
- Splint: basic static analyzer that can find classical mistakes
- Cppcheck: I used this one for a long time and it reported valuable errors on VLC source code
- Clang: a more advanced static analyzer based on LLVM that we currently use for VLC
- Coverity: a commercial static analyzer. The company used to scan VLC source code but stopped some years ago. The results are often interesting.
- Coccinelle: this tool is mainly used by the Linux kernel and I found some bugs in VLC using it
Open Source Multimedia
The meeting was recorded and is available on bambuser.
We talked about:
- Hardware acceleration for Embedded Systems: how do we access it from an application point of view? It seems that Android does not allow the use of the hardware decoder nor does iOS. That's really a shame not being able to use the hardware to decode video.
- Relations between Rockbox and FFmpeg: some code from FFmpeg has been optimized for the kind of embedded systems Rockbox runs. Merging back the code in FFmpeg seems a good practice but the goal of both projects makes it difficult.
The discussions continued for a long time after the available time slot outside of the room :)
This is now a tradition (only two years old as far as I understood, but already a tradition :)), Robert Kaye, founder of MusicBrainz brought 9kg of chocolate from different countries and brought everyone together to share chocolate. This was great!
Google Code In
During this conference, Carol Smith announced the new Google project called Google Code in. This new contest is designed to help 13 to 17 year old children getting involved in Open Source projects. The tasks are not only focused on coding but also on improving the documentation, writing examples, tutorials, ... A lot of stuffs that Open Source projects miss.
In a previous article (VideoLAN accepted for GCI) I announced VideoLAN had been selected for the Google Code In. More information are available in the previous article.
The second day, I went to fewer talks but had more time talking with other open source developers.
I attended to the following sessions:
- Advanced Trolling Techniques
- Tour of the Google Campus
Advanced Trolling Techniques
This session was absolutely not serious and really funny: it explained some important things about trolling! (If you don't know what a troll is, have a look at the Wikipedia article about Trolls on internet).
The goal was to teach us how to protect our communities against trolls and obviously how to troll other communities :). The speakers came up with nice graphics to support their theory like this one about the complexity of trolls:
Tour of the Google campus
We had a commented trip through the Google campus and some time to take pictures. We encountered a big Android robot, a T. rex and sculptures:
After the traditional ending session, we took a group shot (you can click on the picture if you want to find us):
The picture comes from the Google Open Source blog).
Last day in San Francisco after only 3 days. I have not seen any part of SF except the Google Campus and the Hotel. That's a shame but I will come back another time to visit SF.
Just before the flight, we added a meeting with a company that provides video content. We discussed of a possible collaboration between VLC and them. This led to the new services discovery script I commited some days ago (Channels.com). You will be able to try this new service in the incoming version: VLC 1.1.5
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