Google Summer of Code 2013 - Application

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Organization ID freifunk

Organization Name freifunk

Organization Description Freifunk is an initiative of open networks advocates and builders. The Freifunk community uses and develops numerous software tools for the open source cloud and deploys networks in cities and villages in hundreds of projects all over the world. In the Google Summer of Code program the Freifunk organization functions as an umbrella organization for a number of software projects including

  • customized router firmwares and modules for local communities based on OpenWrt Linux using ad-hoc WLAN communication layer 2 and 3 routing
  • Open Source routing protocols
  • smartphone applications to access local mesh networks
  • maps and database solutions to visualize network infrastructures
  • and network analysing tools.

Steady feedback and continuous software development of enthusiasts over years resulted in big improvements of Open Source mesh network technologies. Today the first Android and iOS apps with Open Source routing protocols enable direct phone calls in a network of smartphones. Such tools can be vital in disasters and help rescue workers to save lives. Other projects developed with links to the community include low cost wifi telephone devices which are being deployed in South Africa or distributed local cloud search engines. And, there are many more exciting opportunities for developers and designers to join the community.

Around the world open mesh networks enable villages, cities and companies to share Internet connections, ADSL, telephone or satellite uplinks. There are many community networks all over Germany with the oldest ones already running since 2003. Very active wifi communities exist throughout Europe and the US. Large networks are running in Spain (with 16,000 devices!), Italy, and Greece. The OLPC project in Afghanistan uses our tools for its mesh deployments to distribute digital books, news and educational media in schools. In Ghana Freifunk is used to bridge the digital divide in villages. In Vietnam a customized Freifunk firmware is used to offer Internet connections at Open Source events.

If you are interested to read more about free wireless networks around the world, please visit the global Freifunk newswire at http://global.freifunk.net and join the mailing list at http://freifunk.net/mailman/listinfo/wlanware

What next:

  • Check out previous GSoC projects [URL]
  • Visit the Idea Page for 2013 [URL]
  • Read about local communities in Spain [URl], Slowenia [URL], Greece [URL], France [URL], Germany [freifunk.net]
  • Browse interesting projects: Freifunk Blog [URL], OpenWrt [URL], Serval [URL], BATMAN [URL], OLSR [URL], Android apps [URL], Battlemesh [URL]


Organization Home Page URL http://freifunk.net


Main Organization License GNU General Public License (GPL)


What is the URL for your Ideas page? http://wiki.freifunk.net/Ideas


What is the main IRC channel for your organization? irc.freenode.net, channel #openwrt


What is the main development mailing list for your organization? http://freifunk.net/mailman/listinfo/wlanware


Why is your organization applying to participate in Google Summer of Code 2012? 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 tools, plugins and services on top of the Freifunk OpenWrt Firmware and other tools for mesh networks, joining development of routing protocols and network tools. By participating in the GSoC we hope to push Freifunk and our goals for full featured consumer routers and local mesh networks. Some ideas, where we are looking for developers to join the community: - we are looking to attract more long-term developers - we want to bring the more non-Western developers into the project - we would like to see more plugins/modules developed thus offering new features - we would like to support more devices including Android devices - we want to see improvements of our tools on the web frontend


Did your organization participate in past Google Summer of Codes? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation. Freifunk participated successfully in GSoC 2009 - 2012. The participation supported the internationalization efforts of the freifunk community. Students came from Cambodia, 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 has not previously participated in Google Summer of Code, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)? We participated 2009-2012.


Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now. Thank you for your interest in the Freifunk GSoC. We are interested in your answers to get an idea, how you would be able to contribute to projects in the open network community.

1. Please tell us your name and your country of origin or local background.

2. Please list contributions to the open network or wireless related projects or any other freely licensed Open Source project below.

3. Please tell us about your proposed project and the relevance to a wireless community. You can also provide a link where you offer more details here.

4. What is your expertise and ability to conduct the project you propose? How do you plan to achieve the goals of the proposed project?

5. How would you describe your knowledge of development regarding the languages and the development tools you will need to work on your project ?

6. How do you think you will participate in the community to maintain the code developed after the Google Summer of Code?

7. What would you like us to do to ensure that you stick with the project after the program concludes?

8. How do you plan to keep in touch with the community and your mentor during the summer of code? E-mail, IM, Jabber...

9. Is your university or institution interested and open to freely licensed Open Source software?

10. Please tell us a few infos for our communication with you.

  • What is your email ?
  • What is the URL of your blog?
  • Please, provide us with your Messenger contact (e.g. XMPP, Jabber, Gtalk, Skype etc.).
  • Please, tell us your mobile and landline phone number.
  • Please tell us, your address.
  • Thank you very much for answering our questions. We will get in touch with you as soon as possible.


What criteria did you use to select your mentors for this year's program? Please be as specific as possible. We selected our mentors based on the following criteria:

  • Contributions to the communities projects 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
  • Reputation in terms of reliability
  • Social skills (patience, understanding, empathy, clarity and so on).

Moreover, we know all the mentors personally.


What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students? We will seek to actively involve students, to ensure that they feel themselves part of our projects and understand that, beyond the stipend, this is an opportunity to make experience, improve their reputation by collaborating in the open source community and make new friends. In case a students ultimately disappears, the mentor will contact them several times by email, chat and finally by phone. We would most probably try to talk to him face to face if needed, asking him to provide reasons for which he is not showing interest and explaining to him that his reputation and future career could be influenced by such a negative move. 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? Before the program we will (and we are already doing it) promote GSoC in our meetings, mailing list, blog social networks and through other channels of our broader hacking and social community (Hacklabs, Hackmeeting, Linux User Groups and Universities). We will ask them to participate in the initial brainstorming and discussion.

During the program we will encourage them to meet us weekly and give us news about their work. Those who will not be able to meet us in person will be encouraged to meet us virtually in chat or conference. After the program we will try to involve them in our community. In the past all the students have loved participating in GSoC, many of them learned new useful things, got excited about our activities and keep collaborating with us.


See Also