Google Summer of Code 2010 - Application

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Freifunk is an initiative to develop tools for free mesh networks and support communities deploying networks. Freifunk offers a specialized firmware. With this firmware, it is relatively easy to bring up new wireless mesh networks using ad-hoc WLAN communication layer 2 and layer 3 routing with OLSR, BATMAN and other protocols. Other tools developed in and with the freifunk community include low cost wifi telephone networks, wlan meter tools and designs for Open Hardware.

Originated in Germany, Freifunk has been deployed successfully in many countries. The OLPC project in Afghanistan uses freifunk for its mesh deployments to distribute digital books, news and educational media. In Ghana freifunk is used to bridge the digital divide in villages. In Vietnam freifunk is used to offer Internet connections at Free and Open Source events like FOSSASIA. In Europe and the Americas city and village networks lower costs for communities and small and medium sized companies, that share common Internet connections, ADSL, Telephone or Satellite uplinks in remote regions.

-- FREIFUNK/OPENWRT -- The Freifunk OpenWrt Firmware is a specially adapted Linux Version that is developed for routers and mobile devices. The main aim of the firmware is to make it easier and faster to set up wireless mesh networks. Designed as an embedded Linux for low powered devices the system can be adapted for a wide variety of mobile devices. Freifunk/OpenWrt supports ad-hoc WLAN communication and layer 2 and 3 routing with the OLSR protocol and the BATMAN routing protocol. By building the Freifunk embedded firmware together with the OpenWrt team we are developing an easy to use self-configuring, self-fixing and self-tuning mesh network (

-- PLUGINS -- Current test version on SVN ( are enabling developers to create plugins for the firmware. These plugins will enable users to offer locations based services, local search, router CMS, local fm radio distribution via routers, and many more. An example for locations based services is Apple Bonjour that offers users to share their music in local wifi networks, however, in Freifunk mesh networks, there are many more ways to share and communicate as services are build on open standards and open source software.

-- LOCAL SERVICES -- Another project where we are connecting services is the Villagetelco project, where we adapt the firmware to offer telephone services over an adhoc network (

-- ADAPTING THE FIRMWARE -- Going in another direction the community also engages to port applications and desktop environments such as LXDE to OpenWrt for Freifunk clouds to offer faster devices with an X interface and making use of thousands of available applications. The porting of code from Google Android also aims to support the adaptability of the Firmware for special use cases.

-- COMMUNITIES AROUND THE WORLD -- If you interested to read more about free wireless networks around the world, please visit the global Freifunk newswire at

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Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2010? What do you hope to gain by participating?

For the Google Summer of Code we are looking for developers interested in actively joining our community and developing plugins and services on top of the Freifunk OpenWrt Firmware and other tools for mesh networks. By participating in the GSoC we hope to push Freifunk/OpenWrt and our goals for full featured low resource routers and local mesh networks. Some ideas as follows: - we are looking to attract more long-term developers - we want to bring the Asian community more into development - we would like to see more plugins developed thus offering new features The GSoC offers us an opportunity to get students contributing more to Freifunk/OpenWrt. It also showcases the Freifunk project.

What is the main public mailing list for your group?:

Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation.

Freifunk participated successfully in GSoC 2009 with 10 students. Feedback from mentors and students has been very positive. Tools developed during GSoC are already used in community as well as commercial distributions of the firmware. During GSoC the freifunk community got in touch with developers from all over the world and attracted several new contributors. University cooperations and a cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute was initiated in conjunction with GSoC 2009. The participation supported the internationalization efforts of the freifunk community. Students came from Israel, Russia, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, Vietnam and the US.

Challenging for the participation in GSoC is the limited time of mentors as well as the diverging annual university schedule, e.g. US universities start the summer vacation earlier than many European and Asian universities.

If your organization participated in past GSoCs, please let us know the ratio of students passing to students allocated, e.g. 2006: 3/6 for 3 out of 6 students passed in 2006. 2009: 10/10, 10 out of 10 students passed in 2009.

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What is the URL for your ideas page?

What is the main development mailing list for your organization? This question will be shown to students who would like to get more information about applying to your organization for GSoC 2010. If your organization uses more than one list, please make sure to include a description of the list so students know which to use.

General questions and discussion about the Freifunk Firmware, Routing Protocols and Tools

Mailing list for OpenWrt (basis of Freifunk Firmware)

What is the main IRC channel for your organization? #freifunk

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Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now. Please note that it is a very good idea to ask students to provide you with their contact information as part of your template. Their contact details will not be shared with you automatically via the GSoC 2010 site.

--- Template ---- Please let us know your contact details and background

  • Name
  • Email
  • Blog
  • IRC Nick and Network
  • Name of School/University, Grade
  • Project Title
  • Possible Mentor (optional)
  • Benefits to the Free Software Community, who would gain from your project?
  • Deliverables - It is very important to list quantifiable results here e.g.
  o "Improve X modules in ways Y and Z."
  o "Write 3 new man pages for the new interfaces."
  o "Improve test coverage by writing X more unit/regression tests."
  o "Improve performance in FOO by X%." 
  • Project Details - more detailed description.
  • Project Schedule - How long will the project take? When can you begin work?
  • Availability - How many hours per week can you spend working on this? What other obligations do you have this summer?
  • How do you plan to continue with your project and within the freifunk community after GSoC?
  • Bio and Free Software Experiences - Who are you? What makes you the best person to work on this project? What free and/or open source projects have you participated in? Please describe your contributions.

Please contact for more details and join to discuss your proposal!

What criteria did you use to select the individuals who will act as mentors for your organization? Please be as specific as possible:

  • contributions to the Freifunk and OpenWrt project
  • activity and role in the community
  • Good proximity for potential face to face contacts with students
  • technical and development expertise
  • time to allocate to students

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students? In case a students disappear, the mentor will contact them several times by email, chat and finally by phone. If the mentor does not get any response, the admin of the project will contact the student. If the student does not respond after a maximum of three weeks we will contact Google and cancel the student project.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors? All mentors are well known in the community and engage for a long term. In the unlikely case of disappearing mentors the admin will contact the disappearing mentor several times by email, chat and finally by phone. If the admin does not get any response, another mentor will be assigned to the student. All student projects will get at least two mentors assigned in any case.

What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program? Students are continuously invited to join the freifunk project. Freifunk core contributors constantly organize talks, presentations and events with developers and include workshops for new contributors and programmers. In 2009 the freifunk community participated and organized Beijng Linux User Group meet ups about freifunk, GNOME.Asia freifunk workshops, Wireless Community Weekend, Berlin, FOSDEM presentations, network set up Chaos Communication Congress and many more.

What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after GSoC concludes? Besides keeping in touch with accepted students via the Internet, contributors will be invited to freifunk meet ups. We will also put students in touch with communities and commercial projects in their region and partners they are interested in.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the Google Summer of Code program administration team? : We enjoyed the participation at GSoC 2009 and learned a lot about cooperating with students and developers during the program. After what we have learned, we have even more ideas for 2010. For 2010 we also plan improvements to enhance communication and will soon launch a new website offering more languages and more tools for developers and communities.

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