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Haiku Google Summer of Code Interview with Bryce Groff

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Posted by:scottmc on Wednesday, 13 May, 2009 @ 10:04 PM

Here’s another one of our interviews with the Haiku Google Summer of Code students, this time with Bryce Groff, who was one of the six who were selected for this years GSoC for Haiku.

Tell us about yourself
Sure. My name is Bryce Groff. I am finishing my undergraduate at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Computer Science and minoring in Geography. I have had an interest in computers from an early age, and first started programming in basic. In high school I learned VB.Net and started to learn C. I really started to get into programming once I started college and have been working on learning new things since.

How did you hear of GSoC?
I have been following Haiku for a long time now and have seen the GSoC program through the Haiku web site. For the last two years I thought it would be an interesting program to be a part of and I felt confident that this year I was up to the task. So I submitted my application and the rest is history.

What convinced you that Haiku is a project worth working on?
I remember waiting for BeOS r5 when I was in eighth grade. When I finally got to download BeOS I was blown away by how simple and easy to use the operating system was and how well it ran on my computer at the time (I think it was a celeron). When Be went under I was sad that the operating system was going away. After a while I started to find bits of information about a new operating system called OpenBeOS and started to follow the project and have been watching it ever since. Its great to see Haiku in the state that it is, and it can only get better.

How’d you first hear about Haiku?
Like I said I have been watching Haiku for a long time now. I think I found it through OSNews or possibly freeos.com.

Do you have any experience with BeOS or Zeta?
I used BeOS for a while back around 99-2000 and it was my operating system about half time.

Tell us about your selected project
My project is to finish the implementation of the disk_device system. Basically this means that at the end of the summer we should have a good interface for partition schemes and the Intel system in particular. This means that we should have a good partition tool that can create a new partition map on the disk.

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 think that the organization did a good job of laying out what was expected. The community always seems to welcome people who want to help out with the project.

Was anything overly complicated or discouraging?

Do you have any suggestions or constructive criticism for the people involved with Haiku’s participation in GSoC?
No, I think that everyone who has been involved has communicated well and has given updates promptly.

Besides Haiku, did you apply to any of the other orgs involved with GSoC? If so which ones?
Haiku was the only project that I submitted an application to. I was interested in finishing the Cairo backend but they did not apply to the program this year.

Would you be interested in a possible Haiku Code Drive?
I think the more the merrier. It seems like everyone would like for the Code Drive to happen.

What influenced your decision to become a programmer?
Finding solutions to problems has always been fun for me. I have worked in construction and I draw a lot of parallels between programming and construction. In both fields you are given the basic tools and materials needed to finish the project. So when I decided to go to get a degree I thought that Computer Science would be a good field to get into. Not to mention that I have spent a large amount of time tinkering with computers.

What is/are your language(s) of choice?
I enjoy working with C++ and C# at the moment. The University of Hawaii uses Java as its intro language and that was interesting for a couple of semesters as well. Most of my own projects use C or C++ though.

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?

I worked on adding a line number display to StyledEdit. You can take a look at ticket #2623 and see the patch. I did not have enough time to really make it as nice as it could have been and unfortunately was taken out of the tree :( . The code was nice to work with. The Haiku team really stresses code style, which has forced me to think about style a lot more in my own code. At the moment there are not open tickets I am working on, however I still would like to help with the Cairo backend.


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