Jessica's Google Summer of Code

Blog post by jessicah on Sun, 2014-11-02 00:04

This year was my first participation in the Google Summer of Code. And despite having to fail my student very early, I still managed to have some fun working with Akshay on USB3 issues.

With UEFI making no progress during GSoC, it was time to seek out the support of some of my long-time kernel hacker friends. And with a couple days to go before leaving for the GSoC Reunion, one of them came through with phenomenal results. He had gotten the MMU and ELF loading issues mostly sorted out, and we were finally able to load and start the kernel!

With fervent excitement, I was able to join in with the debugging of our UEFI loader, and within 2-3 days, and many of my own very dirty and nasty hacks, we had Haiku booting almost to the desktop! Unfortunately, the VESA accelerant would unload itself, causing app_server to crash; and disabling VESA meant that there was no graphics driver for app_server to use, so it would simply exit before drawing a desktop.

However, by this stage, it was time to pack and get ready to leave for sunny California. I quickly tried to copy everything I needed from my development machine to my airbook, so I could try and work on Haiku on the flight from New Zealand. A flight made possible only by the amazing support and generosity of the Haiku community!

Once on the plane, I started up the airbook, and got ready to develop. But alas, I had forgotten some crucial ingredients: the downloaded Haiku packages. Without an Internet connection, I simply couldn't build what I needed. It was quite a let down to not be able to make use of the 12 hour flight for hacking. And at the GSoC Reunion, I couldn't find my mojo for hacking — there was simply too much other stuff going on!

Meeting Urias, Scott, Jérôme and Paweł was a fantastic experience. There's something to be said for putting faces to peoples names. And meeting people from many varied FOSS organisations was amazing. I'd demo Haiku at every opportunity I got, and people were blown away by the progress Haiku had made. There were also the occasional comments of people thinking Haiku had died, with no new releases over the past two years; so it was good to let them know that Haiku is very much alive and kicking.

And as for UEFI support... I believe there's probably 3 blocking issues left at present (unless new issues show up, of course): adding ACPI support so that drivers can initialise correctly; either a separate UEFI graphics driver, or letting VESA work when VBE is unavailable; and cleaning up finding a boot partition.

With any luck, we should have UEFI working before the year is out!

Once again, I really want to thank all of the community who donated to my GSoC Reunion fund. Without you, I'd have not been able to go to the GSoC Reunion. The experience has been truly eye-opening. Seeing so many enthusiastic open source developers of many ages all excited about the work that they do has been inspiring, and has instilled a passion for mentoring that I didn't have previously. This year, after some nagging, I gave in and volunteered despite feeling inadequate for the task at hand. Now I can't wait for GSoC 2015!!!