Tuesday, 24 April 2007
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Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series: Andrew Morton

On Tuesday, May 1st, the Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series will be pleased to host Andrew Morton, who will be presenting "The State of the Linux Kernel." Andrew, lead maintainer for the Linux public production kernel, will review trends in recent changes to the kernel. He will also examine the motivations of various contributors and discuss areas of the kernel which could use a bit more love.

As with all sessions of the Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series, Andrew's presentation will be open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 PM at our Mountain View campus; guests should plan to sign in at Building 43 reception upon arrival. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. Andrew's presentation will also be taped and published along with all of the public Google Tech Talks on Google Video.

And for those of you who were unable to attend the last session, you can watch the video of Alex Martelli's recent presentation on Python for Programmers.

Open Source Awards nominations - final call

In the past two years, the Google-O'Reilly Open Source Awards have been presented to some very worthy candidates. The selection process for 2007 started this year when we opened up the the awards nominations to anyone in the open source community.

You may have seen the announcement a few weeks back via Nat's blog post on O'Reilly Radar, and thought you still had plenty of time. If you haven't already sent in your submission, we'd like to remind you that all entries must be received by end of day PST, April 30th 2007.

Your nominee can be an individual you work with closely or one you have observed who stands out as a leader in open source. This may be someone who has contributed significantly to the code, the health and well-being of the community or made a difference in a way that should be recognized by the open source community at large.

Please be sure to include the person's name, email address, the project(s) impacted and more importantly the reason why you are selecting the individual to receive the coveted Google-O'Reilly Open Source Award for 2007. Nominations are to be sent to osawards at oreilly dot com. Google and O'Reilly employee are not eligible for nomination.

The five winners will be announced at OSCON 2007, Portland, Oregon, July 24, 2007.

And finally, we'd like to thank everyone who has already participated by sending in nominations; the members of the award committee have their work cut out for them this year!

Any feedback on the Hall of Fame page is also welcome!

Monday, 23 April 2007
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Google releases patches that enhance the manageability and reliability of MySQL

Though you may think of us as simply a company with a big search index, Google uses MySQL, the open source relational database, in some of the applications that we build that are not search related.

We think MySQL is a fantastic data storage solution, and as our projects push the requirements for the database in certain areas, we've made changes to enhance MySQL itself, mainly in the areas of high availability and manageability.

We would love for the some of these changes to be merged with the official MySQL release, but until then we felt strongly that anyone should have access to them, thus we have released the changes with a GPL license for the MySQL community to use and review.

What have we added and enhanced?

The high availability features include support for semi-synchronous replication, mirroring the binlog from a master to a slave, quickly promoting a slave to a master during failover, and keeping InnoDB and replication state on a slave consistent during crash recovery.

The manageability features include new SQL statements for monitoring resource usage by table and account. This includes the ability to count the number of rows fetched or changed per account or per table. It also includes the number of seconds of database time an account uses to execute SQL commands.

More details:

The current patches are for version 4 of MySQL, with version 5 support coming shortly.

We look forward to hearing from the large MySQL community.

Friday, 20 April 2007
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Recapping the Atom Publishing Protocol interoperability meetup

Google had the privilege and pleasure of hosting the first-ever Atom Publishing Protocol interoperability meetup earlier this week in Mountain View, CA.

The Atom Publishing Protocol is a specification that helps define the interactions between clients and servers that wish to read and write collections of documents via the web. Building upon the popular Atom Syndication Format, the Atom Publishing Protocol formalizes many of the mechanisms required for the exchange of rich and meaningful content via a process known as Representational State Transfer, known familiarly as REST. Nearing completion as an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard, the protocol is already seeing wide adoption, and the working group felt it was time to bring people together to see how the various existing implementations interacted with each other.

Over 20 representatives from organizations and companies far and wide (some hailing from all the way across the Pacific) made the trip to Mountain View for two days of interoperability testing. The meetup was open to anyone who has built client or server software that uses the protocol, and it was extensively blogged about and "simulcast" over the Atom IRC channel for those who could not attend in person. Striking was the diversity of both the organizations in attendance (AOL, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, O'Reilly, Six Apart, to name just a few) and the wide variety in types of applications being built. And a special thanks to Tim Bray, co-chair of the Atom Publishing Protocol working group, for his tireless devotion to the standards process and for leading the group in making the most of our time together.

And for the curious: how did Google's many implementations of the protocol do at interoperability? Well, authentication was a hurdle for most clients (the specification itself considers authentication to be an orthogonal concern), but beyond that our servers are relatively compliant and some of our client code is well along the way to full support for the protocol. Perhaps more importantly, Google is committed to continued support of the working group, and we intend to keep pace with the draft specifications as they are finalized.

Overall we felt the meetup was a great success and we are honored to be a part of a community that is building something that is likely to be an important piece of the fabric of the Internet.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007
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Introducing the Google AJAX Feed API

Posted by DeWitt Clinton, Google Developer Programs

The AJAX Search team launched a new API this morning that introduces a subtle, yet powerful new way to integrate syndicated content into your web applications.

The Google AJAX Feed API provides functionality that allows webpages to retrieve any public RSS or Atom feed via a simple JavaScript method call. The data can be retrieved in either JSON or XML format, enabling web applications to easily mash up and consume the contents of public feeds. Some of the best content on the web is being syndicated over RSS and Atom channels; this API should help web developers quickly integrate rich external data sources into their web applications, while leveraging Google to do the the heavy lifting of crawling, caching, and content normalization.

Read more on the AJAX APIs blog, join the discussions in the developer forum, or see an example to get you started.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007
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Google Macintosh group announces Objective-C library for Google data APIs

We are always excited to see new libraries come about that enable developers to easily access our Google data services. Today, the Google Macintosh group has released an Objective-C Google data APIs library that does just that for all Objective-C developers.

Greg Robbins, Software Engineer in the Google Macintosh team, wrote about the release:

I created a framework to use Google data APIs directly in Objective-C programs. We are using the framework for our application development, and today we are making the framework available to all developers. The Google Data APIs Objective-C Library joins MacFUSE and Breakpad as open-source development efforts of Google's Mac software team, hosted at code.google.com.

Google Calendar, Google Base, Google Spreadsheets, and generic Atom feeds like Blogger are supported now in the framework, with access to more services already in development. If you are a Mac developer, I hope you'll join the open-source project and help us make even more Mac applications Google-savvy.

I look forward to seeing slick, beautiful, Apple application UIs that are backed by Google APIs.

Friday, 13 April 2007
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Additional spots added at Google Developer Day

Wow, what a response! We knew a few people would sign up for Google Developer Day, but not all in the first several hours. I'm really excited to see this much interest from around the world, and I personally can't wait to meet the folks coming to Mountain View.

Since there has been so much interest, we've decided to expand a bit and add additional spots for the event. If you haven't signed up yet, please head on over to the registration site and sign up now.

Thursday, 12 April 2007
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Check out the new Google Summer of Code blog

Looking for news on our popular program to encourage students to learn more about open source software development? Check out the newly launched Google Summer of Code Blog! We've got some great news there for all those interested in the program, including a surprise about this year's accepted students.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007
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Announcing Google Developer Day

One of the things I like best about working at Google is that you are encouraged to try new things. So when the idea of holding a Google Developer Day around the world came up, some thought it was ambitious but no one thought it was crazy. In fact, everyone rallied behind the idea. It seemed like a good way to connect with our developer community given that some of the best Google maps mashups, Google Gadgets, and applications are developed by programmers outside the United States.

As I posted over on the Google Blog, we're working out the session details but already have an exciting list of speakers and participants. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to May 31st. In the meantime, visit the Google Developer Day website and reserve your spot today.

Monday, 9 April 2007
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Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series: Alex Martelli

Alex Martelli, author of Python in a Nutshell and one of the editors of the Python Cookbook, will be speaking on "Python for Programmers" tomorrow evening, April 10th. Ideal for programmers who have not had much exposure to Python, the talk will provide a rapid overview of the main characteristics of the language plus a brief synopsis of its main implementations, its standard library and its third-party extension packages.

As with all sessions of the Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series, Alex's presentation will be open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 PM at our Mountain View campus; guests should plan to sign in at Building 42 reception upon arrival. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. Alex's presentation will also be taped and published on Google Video.

For those of you who were unable to attend Jeremy Allison's recent presentation on the "The Current State of Samba," you can check out the video.

Announcing the OCRopus Open Source OCR System

We're happy to announce the OCRopus OCR Project, a Google-sponsored project to develop advanced OCR technologies in the IUPR research group, headed by Prof. Thomas Breuel at the DFKI (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Kaiserslautern, Germany).

The goal of the project is to advance the state of the art in optical character recognition and related technologies, and to deliver a high quality OCR system suitable for document conversions, electronic libraries, vision impaired users, historical document analysis, and general desktop use. In addition, we are structuring the system in such a way that it will be easy to reuse by other researchers in the field.

The OCRopus engine is based on two research projects: a high-performance handwriting recognizer developed in the mid-90's and deployed by the US Census bureau, and novel high-performance layout analysis methods.

The project is expected to run for three years and support three Ph.D. students or postdocs. We are announcing a technology preview release of the software under the Apache license (English-only, combining the Tesseract character recognizer with IUPR layout analysis and language modeling tools), with additional recognizers and functionality in future releases.

The IUPR research group has extensive experience in OCR and related technologies, and will be basing the work on previous research and existing software in the area. Existing software components include high-performance handwriting recognition software that has received top evaluations by NIST and was deployed by the US Census Bureau, the recently open sourced Tesseract OCR system, a separate Google project for probabilistic natural language modeling, and software for layout analysis and character recognition. The IUPR research group gratefully acknowledges funding by the German BMBF, the state of Rhineland Palatinate, and other public and private partners (please see www.iupr.org for more details).

We are hoping for contributions by the open source community in areas such as adapting the system to additional languages, creating a Gnome desktop application, integration with Gnome desktop search, web-based tools for proofing and training, language modeling, additional character recognition engines, and other useful tools and add-ons.

The project web page can be found at ocropus.org.

Monday, 2 April 2007
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Google Grants - Free Advertising for Open Source Non-profits

Generating awareness and driving new users and developers to your project's website can be hard for any organization. It can be even harder for open source projects with limited marketing funds. Programs like Google Summer of Code can really help raise awareness of your project, but you may want to learn about another Google program that may be able to help give your project more visibility.

The Google Grants program, currently in beta release, uses Google AdWords to help nonprofits spread their messages to a wider audience by providing them with free advertising on Google.com. This program supports charitable organizations that have a strong mission to help the world and share our philosophy of community service. Typically these are in areas such as science and technology, education, global public health, the environment, youth advocacy and the arts.

If your organization has nonprofit status, you may qualify for free AdWords advertising through this program. Learn more and consider applying today.