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About Google SoC and Gentoo/FreeBSD

Gentoo/FreeBSD logo by Marius Morawski

I should have spent some words on this already. As you might have already read (as it’s also on this week’s gwn), Gentoo takes part on the Google’s Summer of Code program, that, for who doesn’t know, aims to provide students with budget and mentoring to work on Open Source projects (about 90 projects are signed up to this year’s edition).

As you can see from the Gentoo SoC page, there are also a few projects that involves Gentoo/*BSD, and those are the ones I’d like to expose a bit more for the interested ones.

There is of course having sandbox working correctly on Gentoo/FreeBSD (as it seems to work already on NetBSD at least). To do this is importand to know how sandbox works and the dynamic linker’s work of loading and symbol binding. The code itself is not much difficult, the problem is in trying to achieve the result with the less changes to the code possible.

Then there’s adding support in catalyst for FreeBSD, so that stages and LiveCD can be built with that. This is really important as we seen that FreeSBIE development is a bit unsteady, and the torrent tracker gone down for quite a while, leaving us without LiveCD support at all. I’m not sure of what this involves actually, it’s more for releng people to say 🙂

Porting of GNOME patches to portage and sending them upstream is not a complex thing after you read Best Practices for portable patches but it’s long and tedious, and it requires more coordination between Gentoo/*BSD team, Gentoo GNOME team and FreeBSD GNOME team, as the patches might have to be reworked. It would be neat if the people involved in these would also join GNOME upstream to continue the porting “in the while”.

But something that I thought initially just as a filler is something I’d like to put a bigger spot on. ALSA support for FreeBSD. Actually, ALSA plugin for FreeBSD. The ALSA project developed not only acceptable Linux kernel drivers for sound cards, but also a good userspace to use them with, using the alsa-lib library and the related utilities. A lot of software is currently able to use ALSA output and thus make use of the plugins that it provides, like Jack output and a52 conversion. Since version 1.0.11 also an OSS output plugin is present.
FreeBSD uses OSS for audio access, but as the time passes OSS is being more and more ignored when more complex behaviour is needed. Having alsa-lib working on FreeBSD using the OSS from FreeBSD (that’s more complex than Linux’s) would allow all the applications using ALSA to work on FreeBSD with no change needed to support the extra features provided by FreeBSD.

The latter is probably the most complex project but it’s also something new that might be useful to lots of people. I’d really like if somebody would work on that.

On a little sad note, having signed up as a mentor, I can’t even think of signing up as a student, although it might have come interesting. Well not like I miss stuff to do but, well, I would have liked the money, for one time 😉
Not much to do, I’ll continue my glory work, it’s more important 🙂

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