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Exploring Linux Advancements: GSoC 2023 Showcases Promising Projects

This is a summary of the key projects in Google Summer of Code 2023 (GSoC) that will benefit the open-source community.

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is an annual program initiated by Google that encourages students worldwide to contribute to open-source software development. Under the GSoC program, selected students to work on coding projects with open-source organizations (as mentoring org) for three months during their summer break.

Participants receive a stipend and are mentored by experienced members of the participating organizations. GSoC aims to foster collaboration, skill development, and community engagement while enhancing open-source software and supporting the growth of the open-source community.

Google Summer of Code (GSoC 2023)

Google announced the yearly summer program GSoC 2023, which consists of thousands of projects that cater to many open-source applications/projects. The application period is over. And the numbers are huge as per the official notes:

  • 43,765 applicants from 160 countries
  • 7,723 proposals submitted
  • 967 GSoC contributors accepted from 65 countries
  • Over 2,400 mentors and organization administrators

Here are some of the key projects for the Linux desktops and applications which is planned as part of GSoC 2023.

GNOME ecosystem

  • GNOME settings’ printer panel is being improved to expose more IPP configuration settings for seamless integration and management of printers. [Read more]
  • GNOME’s system panel in settings might merge Date & Time, Users, Region & Language, and About panels. This may benefit users by streamlining related settings. A new “remote desktop page” may get introduced in the system panel. [Read more]
  • GNOME Network Displays lets users display content on a remote display within their network. The plan is to integrate it into the GNOME Settings Display panel, allowing users to choose remote displays from a list alongside local ones. [Read more]

KDE ecosystem

  • Tokodon – the mastodon client from the KDE team is integrating moderation tools that will enable moderators and administrators of Mastodon instances to effectively oversee their communities, all within the user-friendly interface of Tokodon. [Read more]
  • The digiKam app is developing a deep learning model to identify objects in photos and assign relevant keywords for easier organization and searching. The work also improves the facial recognition engine for better accuracy and faster performance. These updates will be merged into the main digiKam app for enhanced capabilities. [Read more]
  • The Kalendar app is introducing RFC 7953 specification where users can share their availability on a shared calendar. This enables more efficient scheduling of meetings as the system considers the availability of all attendees. [Read more]
  • Another project is planning to improve the email integration in Kalendar with compose, advanced search and signature management capabilities. [Read more]

LibreOffice

  • An initiative in LibreOffice is planning to improve PGP/GPG encryption by addressing recipient selection and keyring searching issues. The implementation will use smart filtering and asynchronous querying for enhanced performance. The current implementation will be analyzed, and the project will be finalized based on that. [Read more]
  • A long-requested feature of implementing APNG (Animated PNG) support is planned as part of GSoC 2023 in LibreOffice. The APNG has some benefits over GIF, such as partial transparency and more colour support. [Read more]
  • A UI improvement is planned to introduce a search function in the “Tools > Options” menu item in LibreOffice. This is a huge list of settings and sometimes it is cumbersome to find the correct item. A search would help. [Read more]
  • A machine learning-based testing process is being planned for LibreOffice, which may reduce overhead for running entire automated tests for each patch. The machine learning aims to eliminate the test cases which may pass given the patch, reducing the time/effort. [Read more]

Common

  • A plan is in the works to introduce a common GUI for printing using Common Print Dialog Backends (CPDB). The CPDB will act as a generic interface for multiple printing backends. If this is implemented, all the open-source applications, such as Firefox, LibreOffice, Chromium, etc – will have common print dialoges. This initiative is under the Linux foundation. [Read more]
  • The command line downloader wget2 planned to get support for the latest HTTP/3 protocol to take advantage of performance improvements. [Read more]

GIMP

  • The much-requested Non-destructive Editing (NDE) is planned for individual layers and layer groups through “Layer Effects” such as drop shadows and brightness/contrast filters. There are three milestones for a basic implementation: 1. Research and design an NDE workflow that fits with GIMP’s current design and user base. 2. Implement “Layer Effects” for GIMP’s regular and text layers and layer groups. 3. Ensure that the PSD plug-in recognises and imports equivalent “Layer Styles” and “Adjustment Layers” as NDE Layer Effects. [Read more]
  • The text module in GIMP may be enhanced with the support for alternate glyphs and also some other improvements. [Read more]

Conclusion

So, that’s about the key highlights. The coding phase is planned to begin on May 29, 2023. And it will go on until September-2023. However, for complex projects, the mentoring organizations can request for an extension of the timelines.

To learn more, visit the official website.

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