{20} HelenOS and ESA Summer of Code in Space 2013 (1 match)

ESA Summer of Code in Space 2013 (SOCIS 2013) is a program run by the European Space Agency. It aims at offering student developers stipends to write code for various space-related open source software projects. Through SOCIS, accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor or mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios. In turn, the participating projects are able to more easily identify and bring in new developers.

[ ... from ESA Summer of Code in Space 2013 site. ]


HelenOS is a microkernel-based multiserver operating system designed from scratch. It decomposes key operating system functionality into isolated but intensively communicating server tasks that reside entirely in user space. HelenOS thus provides a computing environment that has several virtues, such as flexibility, increased robustness, well defined explicit interfaces and reduced complexity of individual components as compared to other operating systems.

HelenOS does not aim to be another clone of Unix or some other legacy system and is not POSIX-compliant (even though it may seem POSIX-similar at times). Instead, we try to design it according to our sense for what is the most elegant and right thing to do. What makes HelenOS unique among the other multiserver operating systems is its multiplatform and multiprocessor microkernel. HelenOS runs on seven different processor architectures, ranging from a 32-bit uniprocessor little-endian ARMv4 and commodity PC (x86 and x86-64) to a 64-bit multicore big-endian UltraSPARC T1.

A Bit of History

HelenOS has traditionally been a project with significant student participation. Its first lines were written by a student in 2001. In 2004, the project turned into a collective academic effort and ever since then, new students have been joining every year to work on HelenOS-related theses and assignments.

Who Are We Looking For?

We are looking for students with real interest in operating systems and HelenOS. We are looking for people who will play nicely with our community and by our coding style. We are looking for those who are willing to give their project the necessary time and care. If a student only wants to pass with the minimum effort, HelenOS is not a good match for him or her. We are looking for already experienced C coders as all our projects start at the medium difficulty level and the code itself is not trivial. The successful candidate should be a good communicator, too.

We would like to invite prospective students to demonstrate their abilities and determination to work on a HelenOS project during the ESA Summer of Code in Space 2013 by completing a simple HelenOS task before the student application deadline on August 4. The student should check out the latest mainline sources from our repository, build the system, then either pick up an existing bug or enhancement or think of their own one, implement it, test it and submit the patch / public bzr branch / merge directive to us. Interested students will also need to fill out the application form and attach it in their application.

If a student is accepted, they will be asked to participate in the community mailing list and IRC channel from day one. We will also want them to periodically document their progress via mailing list write-ups and/or blog entries. The mentor will act as a buddy in our team who will monitor their development and provide them with guidance when necessary. However, participating in our community will allow them to receive feedback also from other developers besides their mentor.

Ideas List

The project ideas for the ESA Summer of Code in Space 2013 can be characterized as things that will improve the usability of HelenOS (especially for future use as space on-board software) while building on the core functionality already delivered by us in the past. The individual projects are not excessively difficult and none of them poses an open-questions topic in the academic sense. Instead, each item on the list is rather implementation-oriented and achievable in one trimester. Each idea is accompanied by a short explanation of why we think somebody should work on it.

The Ideas List is just a small subset of all open tickets for HelenOS. If you do not see an appealing topic on this list, you might want to consider looking at the broader list or suggest a completely new topic or a variation on an already existing topic. Remember that the ideas are not set in stone and, after all, it is the student who is going to suggest the idea to us. In any case, talk to us so that we can see whether the new topic would work for HelenOS during the ESA Summer of Code in Space. If not, the idea may still seem interesting to us even outside of the ESA Summer of Code in Space program.

Ticket Summary
#541 Hard real-time features
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