wlan slovenija Application
wlan slovenija application for Google Summer of Code as an organization.
wlan slovenija is a country-wide initiative from Slovenija which works mainly on building open and free community wireless networks in a bottom-up approach, encouraging people to build their common network with use of their own common computer network infrastructure, mostly using consumer products. Formerly it has been known as the wlan ljubljana project (being active just in the major city of Slovenija – Ljubljana), which has now grown into this larger project.
The main goal of the project is to encourage people to participate in building a common, open and free country-wide computer network for all. To be able to reach this goal we are actively educating and helping people participating, but to be really successful we have started developing versatile open source applications which help with different aspects of deploying, running and maintaining such a network. Our flagship application is called nodewatcher and it is an open source system for easier planning, deployment and maintenance of the network. It is a centralized web user interface which enables easier coordination and planning of a network with monitoring at the same time. Furthermore it is also a web based image generator that generates a customized image for a given network node, so no node configuration after flashing is necessary.
So what we are interested in as an open source project is to develop even more applications which would help growing similar networks around the world and ease people participation in different aspects of such network: operating it is just one, content production and social and political aspects are then for example others. Our interests range from hardware modifications to mesh networking, routing protocols, client applications, content creation and so on and on, mostly everything connected with networking and people's participation. We contribute to many existing open source projects, and where we see a lack of good quality open source solution we develop it and offer it to the communities around the world. We hope to develop a bundle of applications which working together will enable everybody to grow similar open network also in their part of the globe. And to do that in the interoperable way.
You can read more about us on Wikipedia:
Organization home page url
Main organization license
Affero General Public License
If you chose "veteran" in the dropdown above, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation. Please also list your pass/fail rate for each year.
If you chose "new" in the dropdown above, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)?
We already participated for three years (2010, 2011, 2013) under umbrella organization Freifunk where for two years we had one student working one project, and last year we had even four students inside the umbrella organization participating. All students until now were successful. We are now confident in the GSoC program and so this year we have decided to try to apply independently to gain more recognition locally as we discovered that it is easier to attract students this way.
From experience working under Freifunk umbrella we have gained a lot of insight into how the program itself works, how to choose students, what are some common things mentor should work on, what to be careful about, how to work with a student and how to help him, how to make a good environment for a student to work in, and how the community as a whole should help with the entire process. We have learned some of these things the hard way of course, by making some mistakes first, but luckily our umbrella organization has helped us.
So this year we are confident that we are able to participate as standalone organization, knowing that we will still work closely with Freifunk. We believe that we can handle 2-3 students this year.
Why is your organization applying to participate in Google Summer of Code 2013? What do you hope to gain by participating?
While working on our network we have soon discovered that things we are developing could be very useful in other networks as well and also for deploying new networks in countries all around the world. We have been already working together with other similar projects and networks from other countries, using similar or even same technologies (like OpenWrt Linux distribution), but some things we have developed, like nodewatcher, showed us very much interest from other communities to deploy in their networks and that for some things there simply were no existing alternative open source solutions.
Because of this we have started working more actively on cooperation with others, so that our applications could be used in other networks too and vice-versa. This is why we have started a global interoperability project in which many networks around the world are participating:
This year we would like to make our applications customizable and pluggable so that other networks would be easily able to deploy them in their networks. Along the way we will make them even easier to use and deploy in new networks.
We should not forget that our applications encapsulate a lot of knowledge and experience but on the other hand they are made so, that even people without much technical experience are able to use them. They are very much suited for use in deploying new networks, as for example nodewatcher is meant to guide you through the whole process. We hope to make it a similar application like Trac is for helping open source projects to grow, so nodewatcher will help open networks to grow.
With GSoC we hope to reach a wider and global audience and grow community around our open source applications globally, as this would help spreading the world of such approaches to building open networks. Since we are already collaborating with many other similar networks, we also hope to work more on interoperability with them through this program, maybe exchanging student developers in a similar manner that student exchange systems work for formal education. In this way networks will not only bond and grow, but also enable the understanding of each others code base, applications, specifics and also people.
We really like the idea of encouraging students to work on open source and promote open source values. All this goes along the ideas of the network itself. The project itself is already mostly based on student volunteers so it would be great to be able to attract even more student members to our community, and further exchange knowledge and experiences and nurture new generations in wide range of computer and computer-related sciences.
We hope Google will recognize the importance of applications and projects which help people build their own networks and we would like to thank you in advance for this opportunity, if you decide favorably and accept us into the program.
What is the URL for your ideas page?
What is the main development mailing list for your organization?
What is the main IRC channel for your organization?
We have a public chat where we hang around:
What criteria did you use to select the individuals who will act as mentors for your organization? Please be as specific as possible.
The selection of our mentors is straightforward and guarantees their technical competence, as they are individuals who have proven their programming and leadership skills throughout the development of wlan slovenija mesh network and are a part of the active community. Furthermore, they are without an exception a part of research teams in recognized research institutions, some also having previous mentoring experience.
At the moment, we have several mentors selected on voluntary basis, that will be allocated to students according to their areas of interest and matching personalities to ensure maximum efficiency.
What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?
In the case of a student disappearance, the mentor will contact him/her several times by e-mail, chat and finally by phone, if possible. If the mentor does not get any response, the admin of the project will try to contact the student. If the student does not respond after a maximum of two weeks we will contact Google and cancel the student project.
But to prevent that from even happening, we will keep contact with the student at all times, requiring regular updates and commits from him/her so his/her activities will be visible and transparent all the time and a possible lack of them noticed fast.
What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?
Our mentors are highly involved in the project, being responsible for a significant part of the hardware layer of the network and are a part of the projects backbone. Such personal involvement is a clear marker of their responsibility.
In the case of an unlikely event of a mentor disappearing, there are several community members that can jump in and perform his role until the end of the program.
What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before and during the program?
Since a major point of our initiative is devoted to development and deployment of open mesh network, every student is encouraged to set up a node of our network, explore the technology, and spread the spirit of open mesh regardless of their location (our network is built in such a way that it automatically connects geographically diverse location through VPN, so everybody anywhere with access to the Internet can directly participate in the network).
Students involved will by this action have the system deployed in their own environment, see it evolving and their own work in action. In our experience, students with less technical knowledge will very soon feel the urge to apply their own vision to our mesh network system, making improvements and making the difference.
Developers and users of wlan slovenija network forms a closely knit community, where a simple feature request normally launches a constructive debate that haunts developers, whose work is fueled by community appreciation, results in rapid and ingenious improvements to the system.
Our community can be recognized as a developer incubator, allowing members to freely share their ideas, no matter how unrealistic they are, evolving them with help of developers to a breakthrough solution that has not only been discussed among a range of individuals with different backgrounds but was also tested while in development.
We are pleased to welcome any student to our community, take him among ourselves for an ambitious, fun and high spirited trek to a better mesh network, serving the people that supported it.
As we have good connections and already existing collaborations with other similar networks around the world, we will also work on passing information about the program to them and invite them to encourage students working in their communities to apply. In this way we hope on exchanging student developers in a similar manner that student exchange systems work for formal education. In this way networks will not only bond and grow, but also enable the understanding of each others code base, applications, specifics and also people.
What will you do to encourage that your accepted students stick with the project after Google Summer of Code concludes?
We will involve the students during the Google Summer of Code period not just into our open source projects, but also our network and community themselves. Based on our experience until now under umbrella organization, this really helps getting students be involved with the network also later, as they maintain their network equipment and then hack and play with it, contributing along the way to open source projects we are using for running the network.
Are you a new organization who has a Googler or other organization to vouch for you? If so, please list their name(s) here.
For last three years we have been participating under the Freifunk umbrella organization and we are cooperating with Ninux project as well.
Are you an established or larger organization who would like to vouch for a new organization applying this year? If so, please list their name(s) here.