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GSoC Application: PyHurd

From: Arne Babenhauserheide
Subject: GSoC Application: PyHurd
Date: Thu, 07 Apr 2011 01:31:17 +0200
User-agent: Wanderlust/2.14.1 (Bad Medicine-pre) SEMI/1.14.6 (Maruoka) FLIM/1.14.9 (Gojō) APEL/10.8 Emacs/23.3 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu) MULE/6.0 (HANACHIRUSATO)


I wrote a first version of my application for this years GSoC and would love to 
get feedback from you. 

Note: I also intend to apply for fixing Python testsuite failures, but I can’t 
finish that tonight.

Python Bindings for the Hurd (PyHurd)

## Contact information

- Name: Arne Babenhauserheide
- E-Mail Address: arne_bab@web.de
- IRC-nick: ArneBab @ freenode
- Jabber-ID: arne@jabber.fsfe.org
- Phone-number: XXXXXXXXX
- GnuPG key: http://draketo.de/inhalt/ich/pubkey.txt

## Who I am

I am a physics student from Heidelberg, Germany, a passionate free software 
user and roleplayer, and I started contributing to the Hurd in minor ways about 
5 years ago. Now my coding skills are good enough (and I have enough time) that 
I feel ready to tackle a GSoC project - and I want to take the chance GSoC 
offers and do a focussed effort for contributing to free software before I am 
no longer a student. I married 4 years ago and now have a 5½ month old son 
whoose happy laughing can make you forget everything around you - or at least 
it does that to me, but what else could you expect to hear from his father 
about him ;)

## Project

For this years GSoC I want to turn the currently rudimentary Python Bindings of 
the Hurd into a complete Python-library for low-level Hurd and Mach hacking 
with high level functionality to allow for easy creation of complex 
applications. Particularly it should make it possible to utilize the whole 
Python standard library for translators.

## Preliminary Schedule

*still  very rough*

1. getting current pyhurd working (updating for newer cython) 
2. Discuss the API. Do some parts need to be changed?
2.1 trying out examples to test the API; 
2.2. design and realize an updated API; 
3. complete the bindings?
4. Re-implement some hurd specific utils in pyhurd such as settrans

## Initial Fix


## Detailed answers

### What I have to learn, and what I already know

I need to dive into the detailed interfaces of the Hurd to get a better 
understanding of the exact requirements for a well usable Python interface, 
especially for higher level functionality, and read up more on working with 

I already know Python and I did design my share of interfaces for my own hobby 
projects ([TextRPG][], [Fungus][],  [evolve-keyboard-layout][] and others).

[TextRPG]: https://bitbucket.org/ArneBab/textrpg/
[Fungus]: https://bitbucket.org/ArneBab/fungus
[evolve-keyboard-layout]: https://bitbucket.org/ArneBab/evolve-keyboard-layout

Also I know the functionality and design of the Hurd from a user perspective 
and can code in C and C++.

### Why did you choose this project idea? What do you consider most appealing 
about it?

FIrstoff: It is about making it possible for me to hack on the Hurd using my 
favorite programming language. 

Also I can learn more about accessing low-level interfaces directly (as opposed 
to just using higher level abstractions) and grok the ins and outs of creating 
Python extensions - into which I wanted to dive for a long time now.

And I helped getting the project running and am intrigued by how far it can be 

### Have you been involved in any free software ("Open Source") projects yet? 
Which projects, how long, and in what way have you been involved? Have you been 
active in the Hurd project/Hurd community before?

I worked on documentation and news for the Hurd, wrote two plugins and the 
usage guide for Mercurial and created a bunch of personal Python projects. Also 
I generally try to nudge other Hurd developers into the direction of actually 
getting the system useful for people (and communicating its strengths) - and do 
the same for the freenet project.

In my opinion, my major contribution to the Hurd is the Month of the Hurd, a 
try at fixing the Hurds reputation for never being finished. To achieve that 
goal, the Month of the Hurd only lists actually testable successes for which I 
can easily describe how they get the Hurd closer to its vision, ideally those 
which are already committed. 

### Please briefly describe the Hurd, including the goals, architecture etc. 
Also, what makes you interested in the Hurd? Why do you want to work on it? 
What is your vision of it's future development?

The Hurd offers much greater freedom for users compared to Linux, because every 
user can change his/her environment to a much greater extent. 

Also it allows for easier low-level tinkering, making it possible for 
hobby-hackers to work on stuff which in linux requires dabbling with 
kernel-sources. Also it makes it much easier to test these low-level work, so a 
community can spawn which informally shares low-level hacks, giving a much 
bigger momentum for low-level work. 

And it allows for containment of potentially dangerous applications using 
subhurds. As a very simple example, I can open a webbrowser without giving it 
access to the internet and just add that capability later, when I really want 
to go online (as opposed to just showing local files).

But mainly: 

    settrans -a ftp\: /hurd/hostmux /hurd/ftpfs /
    dpkg -i ftp://ftp.gnu.org/…/*.deb

And that’s only the beginning.
### Are you subscribed to the bug-hurd@gnu.org mailing list? (See 
http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/bug-hurd )

Yes :)

### Do you have a permanent internet connection, especially during the time of 
the summer session? Are you able and willing to hang out on the Hurd IRC 
channel regularly? (As in: Running the IRC client more or less permanently and 
checking for activity now and then.) If it turns out that your mentor lives in 
a different time zone, could you shift your day/night rhythm to better match 
that of your mentor and other Hurd developers?

Yes, a permanent internet connection as well as a permanently running computer. 
Since I’m used to also work later in the evening (on hobby projects), the time 
zone should not be a major issue.

### When does your university term end, when are your exams, and when does the 
next term begin?

I have a clean timetable for the summer: No exams anymore.

### How much time do you intend to spend on your GSoC project per day/week 
during the summer months?

I plan to spend at least 40 hours per week on the PyHurd. 

### What other major activities will you engage in during the summer? (Moving 
apartments, longer vacations, other obligations, etc.) If any, how do you 
intend to make sure you will be able to dedicate sufficient time to your 
project nevertheless?

Finding a job for after the GSoC. This should not take too much time, all in 
all, but mean short out-times now and then.

### How do you intend to make sure that your code will keep on being maintained 
and supported properly after the end of the GSoC program?

My main plan to keep it maintained is to comment it cleanly, and naturally to 
keep using the Hurd and PyHurd itself, so any breakage will bother me 

Also i want to get it merged into the main git repositories, so it is directly 
accessible for later developers.

### Anything else you want to add to your application?

Alterrnately I would also like to work on [[fixing Python testsuite 
breakages|community/gsoc/project_ideas/perl_python]]. Both tasks together 
(PyHurd and Testsuite) work towards having Python as first-class citizen on the 
Hurd, adding all of the Python standard library to the options for using the 
Hurd. The third component needed for this is [[moving the Hurd libs from 
cthreads to pthreads|community/gsoc/project_ideas/pthreads]], but since that is 
not as closely connected to Python, I prefer PyHurd and fixing the testsuite 
over the pthread migration.

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