The 2008 Google SoC: 21 Projects I'm Excited About

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The annual Google Summer of Code is upon us again. For the uninformed, that’s when Google pays hundreds of students and hundreds of mentors to work on free software projects, ranging from AbiSource to Zumastor. This is where great projects like the GDebiKDE installer were created. And this year looks even better than before, with 175 organizations and 1125 students. So today, I’m going to do a short rundown of some of my favorites. I can’t fit them all in (let’s save some trees!), but these are just some that stood out for me.

OS

One thing that I’ve always wished Debian-based distros to have was a GUI for Aptitude. There are plenty for Apt (Synaptic, Adept, and KPackage are just a few), but the more powerful Aptitude only has its own terminal interface. Because of this, Obey Arthur Liu has begun work on a GTK+ GUI for Aptitude. If Obey completes it, I’m definitely using it.

Cross-platform is now officially the hottest thing for desktop environments. First, KDE announced that KDE 4 was being ported to Windows and OS X. Now, the lesser known Enlightenment project is doing the same thing. Student Dzmitry Mazouka is now porting the Ewl and Etk libraries to the Win32 platform.

The Grand Unified Bootloader (GRUB) is the bootloader that I personally use and what most modern GNU/Linux distributions use. However, it has a slight tendency to scare the average user, because of its black and white terminal interface. Colin David Bennett is going to add a GUI to the upcoming GRUB 2. The GUI will even get fancy with animated menus and such.

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