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Haiku Google Summer of Code Interview with Henri Vettenranta

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Posted by:scottmc on Thursday, 07 May, 2009 @ 8:21 AM

Tell us about yourself

I’m Henri Vettenranta, a 20-year-old IT student at Tampere University of
Technology. I’ve been fiddling with computers for longer than I’ve even
had one at home, starting on the computers on my mother’s work place
when she had to work on some weekends.

How did you hear of GSoC?

I originally heard of GSoC years ago when it was first introduced, but
couldn’t apply back then because I was too young. This spring I saw the
announcement in the topic of #haiku again and decided to apply.

What convinced you that Haiku is a project worth working on?

I see Haiku as the continuation of BeOS, which is still ahead of other
operating systems in some ways, even though it hasn’t been developed in
nearly a decade. I’d also say Haiku will have the best support for
developing, supporting and running commercial, proprietary software
among the open-source desktop-oriented operating systems.

How’d you first hear about Haiku?

While trying out BeOS I was disappointed with what had happened to it
and Be, so I went looking for options. Haiku was already back then the
only alive project trying to reimplement the Be API, so I was naturally
quite interested in it.

Do you have any experience with BeOS or Zeta?

Yes, although like probably many others, I only tried BeOS first-hand
years after the demise of Be. If I’m not completely mistaken it was
around when Haiku got a working app_server, so that would be early 2005.
I ran BeOS as my primary desktop operating systems for quite a few
months back then, but eventually switched to Ubuntu mostly due to lack
of recent Adobe Flash.

What did you apply to work on, why did that specifically interest you?

I applied to work on an application updater. It interests me because
there currently is nothing quite like that on any operating system: the
updaters in Windows and Mac OS X can only update first-party software,
and Linux package managers and the like aren’t really cut out for a
collection of software from several third-party suppliers, either.

Haiku’s attributes are also a neat way to implement such a system
without having to maintain a separate database of installed
applications: when you install an application, it will automatically be
picked up by the updater when it uses an index to find all the
applications on a system, and when you remove the application file, its
entry will of course be removed from the file system index. Much of the
metadata such as the installed version and the location where to look
for updates can also be neatly kept part of the application executable
as attributes.

If you do not get the chance to work on the project you applied for is there another area that interests you?

The partition table editor sounded pretty interesting, but I see there’s
already someone working on that.

Is there anything Haiku (as an organization, website, community, individuals, any facet of Haiku) could’ve done differently to help you as an applying student?

I can’t think of any improvements. The application template was good, it
quickly got you going with writing the application.

Was anything overly complicated or discouraging?

No, I don’t think so.

Do you have any suggestions or constructive criticism for the people involved with Haiku’s participation in GSoC?

No, no bigger flaws in how Haiku handled GSoC, and if there were smaller
ones, I’ve already forgotten them.

Besides Haiku, did you apply to any of the other orgs involved with GSoC? If so which ones?

No, I only applied for Haiku

Would you be interested in a possible Haiku Code Drive?

Yes it does sound interesting.

What influenced your decision to become a programmer?

I’ve always been fascinated by computers, and it was nice to see my own
code running and doing things on the machine. I’m not sure if I’d call
myself a programmer, though, since I haven’t had time to do many bigger
things unfortunately.

What is/are your language(s) of choice?

As I said I haven’t had much time for programming, but from playing with
it a little, Python does seem nice. As far as I know, Bethon, the Python
bindings for the Be API, isn’t quite up to the task on current versions
of Haiku and Python, so for Haiku software the choice would be C++.

Did you work on any open Haiku tickets, and if so which ones and what was your overall impression on the code you worked on? Any plans to try working on other open items?

Yes I did work on my own patch in #2389 to make an alternative
implementation to rename the title of a tab in the terminal application.
For the most part the code seemed quite easy to understand, even though
it was virtually uncommented. There were also some small style issues
like the header files having inconsistent indentation, but generally the
code seemed pretty good.

It was quite nice to work on that, I may look for other small items in
the future to work on as time permits.

Henri Vettenranta

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