Archive:Google Summer of Code/2008

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Notice This page describes a previous year's event. For the most recent GSoC page please check Category:Google Summer of Code.

XBMC has been accepted into the Google Summer of Code 2008!

Google is sponsoring their fourth annual Summer of Code (GSoC) in the summer of 2008, this entail sponsoring students to work on assorted open source projects as well as sponsoring mentors in those same projects, everyone wins! XBMC has been selected as one of the approved mentoring organizations for this year's GSoC. This page will be used for possible project ideas for the Google Summer of Code 2008 season, and also track the status of each project and how well each student is doing.

The primary administrator for this year's XBMC GSoC is Staffan Lindberg (a.k.a. Pike)
The backup administrator for this year's XBMC GSoC is Sean Soria (a.k.a. malloc)
...sorry, Andreas Setterlind (a.k.a. Gamester17) has got a new job in real-life so he can not continue as GSoC administrator this summer.

NOTE! If you are a student who wishes to be involved with an XBMC GSoC project, one of the first and best steps you can take is to register an account on XBMC community forum, (sooner rather than later), and indicate your interest. Also, make sure that you complete a qualification task as soon as possible to be eligible for a XBMC SoC project, (no qualification task = no project, that is Team-XBMC policy, not Google).

1 Introduction to XBMC

XBMC (formerly "XBox Media Center") is a free and open source cross-platform media center, designed to be the hub of your entertainment system. XBMC was originally established in 2002, at that time being developed as media player software for the first-generation Xbox game-console. XBMC has since been ported to run natively under Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating-systems. XBMC has so far been translated to over 30 languages, won three SourceForge Community Choice Awards (Best Multimedia Project and Best Game Project in 2006, and best project for Gamers in 2008) and been a nominated finalist for a number of other awards. Today XBMC have a very broad international community of active developers, graphic artists, and devoted users.

1.1 Developing XBMC

The XBMC code structure uses a fairly modular design (with libraries and DLLs) who's structure is large, though relatively easy to grasp. XBMC's source code is predominantly C++, though there is a small splattering of C libraries and assembler for good measure. XBMC for uses the Microsoft DirectX multimedia framework (Direct3D) on the Xbox, and the SDL (Simple DirectMedia Layer) framework with OpenGL rendering for other operating-system platforms versions of XBMC.

The main XBMC program is developed using Microsoft Visual Studio for the Xbox and win32 builds, and there are KDevelop project files for Linux, and Xcode (and Eclipse) project files for Mac OS X. For the Xbox version a copy of the latest Microsoft Xbox SDK (a.k.a. XDK) and DirectX 9.0 SDK Update (Summer 2004) is also required, though obviously this is not required for any other of the platforms that XBMC can be compiled for.

XBMC's code also contains three player cores: One core based on MPlayer that is only available to the Xbox version of XBMC, another in-house developed (FFmpeg-based) dedicated video-player core (which also supports DVD-Video movies with menus), and an in-house developed dedicated music-player core.

TIP! Microsoft DreamSpark student program is currently (and over this summer) giving free access to their development software.

2 How To Apply as a Student

2.1 Before you can apply

Before you can apply make sure you are qualified to apply:

  • You have to know how to program in C++ (and know C) fairly well.
  • We would like you to first submit a small patch that fixes a bug or adds a feature to XBMC. By doing that we will know if you are qualified for the task or not. At the bottom of this page there will be a list of possible Qualification Tasks, specific ideas that could be performed to show your skill, however you are free to submit anything you feel might be of value to XBMC. The qualification task can be done after you have filed you application.
  • Submit a good application through the formal Google Summer of Code process during the application time frame.
  • You have to have >35 hours per week to put into the project.
  • You can not have another job at the same time as the GSoC project.

2.2 Applying

If you are interested in participating in the Google Summer of Code you will need to register at the official GSoC site linked below and file an official application. Traditionally, the top applications are fairly detailed - you really need to sell yourself as well as your idea proposal. Look for example at this application here for inspiration. The official guide from Google can be found here:

  • Sell your idea - Describe your idea in detail. What is the ultimate goal? What components will it have? What are the benefits for the user? How do you plan to ensure that the project gets completed on time? If a more detailed explanation of the idea already exists, what will you do that will go above and beyond all expectations?
  • Sell yourself - Make sure you get across how enthusiastic you are about the project. The more enthusiastic you are, the more assured we will be that you will finish your project. It also indicates that there is a good chance you will stick around even after the Summer of Code has finished. Why are you interested in Open Source and XBMC in particular? What interests do you have, and how do these relate to the project for which you are applying?
  • Be enthusiastic - Summer of Code is a very exciting opportunity, and XBMC is a very exciting project to work on. We aren't just looking for someone who wants a summer job to pass their time and earn some money. We want people who have a passion towards open source and are likely to become constant contributors to XBMC and open source also once the summer has passed. The goal of the whole initiative is to have students find their way to open source together with mentoring and a good motivation.
TIP! The Drupal project has also prepared a couple of good guidelines that might be useful, see:

The application could have similar sections as in the following:

E-mail Address:
Project Title:
Project Goals:
Project Benefits:  How does your project benefit XBMC and its community?
Project Tasks and Deliverables: Break your project into tasks or pieces.
    Describe in detail what you plan to accomplish and what the results will be.
Project Schedule:  Estimate how long your project will take and how much time you
    have to dedicate on it. Try to establish a timed roadmap of the tasks to do.
Personal Statement:  Tell us about yourself.  Describe why you are better than any
    other applicant for this project. Your previous experiences with XBMC (if any).

2.3 Google SoC Development Process

Each accepted project will be developed in its own sandbox (SVN branch), separate from the main XBMC codebase. Naturally, the end goal of each of the accepted XBMC projects ought to be to have that code in shape for acceptance into the production codebase. This page will track the status of each project and how well each student are doing.

3 Current Status

  • Next Big Date: UPDATE! The student application deadline has been extended to Monday, April 7, 2008. Students must have submitted their proposals through Google by this time.
  • March 31, 2008: Original student application deadline, now extended a week.
  • March 24, 2008: Students may begin to submit applications through Google
  • March 17, 2008: Google is scheduled to announce selected projects; XBMC is selected
  • March 11, 2008: Submitted XBMC project application
  • February 29, 2008: Created this wiki article

3.1 Schedule

Official timeline:

  • April 17, 2008: All students must have completed their Qualification Task for XBMC. Students should aim to have the code from your qualification task committed to XBMC SVN or FFmpeg SVN well before then of course, so try to submit your initial patch in advance so that it can go though the proper review process.
  • April 7, 2008: Student application deadline, students must have submitted their proposals through Google.
  • March 24-31, 2008: Students may submit applications for various Google Summer of Code projects.
  • March 17, 2008: Google announces accepted organizations at:
  • March 3-12, 2008: Open source organizations may apply to the Google Summer of Code program.

4 Project Proposals

4.1 Overview

Qualifications for a good Summer of Code proposal:

  • Discrete, well-defined, modular
  • Comprised of a series of measurable sub-goals
  • Based on open specs that are available free of charge
  • Based on complete specs

An example of a good proposal is the implementation of a new feature or function that is not yet available in XBMC.

An example of a less desirable proposal is one that's not as measurable, such as refactoring an existing API. Bad proposals tend to be ones that would require touching a lot of core code.

To re-iterate:

  • Localized/isolated code projects = good
  • Global code refactoring = bad

4.2 Students Project Proposals

Feel free to enter a link to your proposal here if you are a college student and you will apply to Google Summer of Code this year:

  • GSoC - Unified PVR Frontend|One common GUI front-end that can control multiple PVR/DVR/HTPC back-ends
  • GSoC - Unified Subtitle Parser|Unified Subtitle Parser and Subtitle Display Filter Library for XBMC's in-house DVDPlayer video-player core (1/2)
  • GSoC - Unified Subtitle Parser for XBMC DVDPlayer|Unified Subtitle Parser and Subtitle Display Filter Library for XBMC's in-house DVDPlayer video-player core (2/2)
    • Proposed by student: betti
    • Proposed primary mentor: spiff
    • Proposed backup mentor: Elupus
  • GSoC - H264 NetCodec|H264 NetCodec (Decoding H.264 encoded media streaming from Internet)
    • Proposed by student: Tomren
    • Proposed primary mentor: Vulkanr
    • Proposed backup mentor:
  • GSoC - GPU Assisted Video Decoding|GPU Hardware Accelerated Video Decoding
    • Proposed by student: Rudd
    • Proposed primary mentor: D4rk
    • Proposed backup mentor: Elupus
  • GSoC - Hardware Accelerated Video Decoding of H.264 encoded video|Hardware Accelerated Video Decoding of H.264 encoded video
    • Proposed by student: Jing GAO
    • Proposed primary mentor: D4rk
    • Proposed backup mentor: Elupus
  • GSoC - Home Automation Control|Home Automation Control (control lighting, climate/heating, security, camera surveillance, and more)
    • Proposed by student: Jing GAO
    • Proposed primary mentor:
    • Proposed backup mentor:
  • GSoC - Native DVB television in XBMC for Linux|Native DVB television in XBMC for Linux
    • Proposed by student: Jing GAO
    • Proposed primary mentor:
    • Proposed backup mentor:

4.3 Projects with Mentors (official approved projects)

Google accept Students Project Proposals 2008:

  • GSoC - Unified PVR Frontend|One common GUI front-end that can control multiple PVR/DVR/HTPC back-ends
  • GSoC - GPU Assisted Video Decoding|GPU Hardware Accelerated Video Decoding
    • Proposed by student: Rudd
    • Proposed primary mentor: D4rk
    • Proposed backup mentor: Elupus

4.4 Team-XBMC proposal ideas up for discussion

Most of the proposals in this list are just some project ideas that we have been kicking around, (which, by no means, limits any prospective proposals). So you are more than welcome to come up with a new idea that you think falls into the scope of XBMC and the Google Summer of Code spirit. Since XBMC is cross-platform software most of these ideas are platform-independent, meaning that if you implement the feature/function on one operating-system platform then someone else will be able to port that feature/function to the other operating-system platforms that XBMC runs on.


4.4.1 Porting XBMC to new platforms

  • Your Idea Here!
    • You're smart! Which hardware platform or operating-system you like to port XBMC to and why?

4.4.2 General platform independent ideas

  • Your Idea Here!
    • You're smart! What would you like to do?
  • Native DVB television in XBMC for Linux via v4l/v4l2 library and FFmpeg (added to XBMC's in-house video-player)
    • This would enable XBMC for Linux to display Live-TV and record TV without third-party backend.
    • Latest FFmpeg SVN already have v4l/v4l2 support, but no tuning or channel-swapping features
  • Hardware Accelerated Video Decoding of H.264 encoded video (in XBMC's FFmpeg-based in-house video player)
    • Off-loading some decoding processing parts to a OpenGL 2.0 GPU for assisted decoding
    • The possible methods are GLSL or Cg Pixel Shader (Shader Model 3.0), and/or GPGPU technology
  • Extend XBMC's Scraper API to also download weather-forecasts metadata, and extend the GUI for animated doppler-radar images, etc.
  • Add native support for text-display from Karaoke CD+G Audio-CDs (possibly via libcdio)
    • As this would otherwise be a small task (since XBMC already supports displaying CDG graphics and already uses libcdio for other features such as ISO/IMG images reader and ISO 9660 reader, meaning you would really only have to add CD+G subchannel support to libcdio), so one would also expect this proposal to also include further additional karaoke functions and features under XBMC for Linux, such as microphone support (with recording and enabling the use of those microphones under both audio and video playback), and maybe voice-mask filters, and possibly Lyrics3v2 display on top of visualizations and screensavers, etc.
  • Rewrite the thumbnail caching system so that it can store multiple resolution thumbs.
    • Essentially the "CacheThumb" routine should cache the thumb, cache information about the thumb (info on date, source, aspectratio, packed as small as feasible) and store both full size and scaled versions of the thumbs. The meta info would be stored in a separate file for fast assigning of thumbs (this could be kept in memory based on the thumb hash in a lookup table, and the ListItem.Thumb infoimage could be extended to specify what size of thumb it needs (to limit memory usage for xbox/lowmem devices).
  • Rewrite XBMC's existing picture slideshow engine to be more like a normal player (see VideoPlayer, PAPlayer, and MODPlayer as examples).
    • Utilize GUILargeImage to handle the loading, and the animation engine for the effects (pan/zoom/rotate, etc.)
  • Simple RSS reader that supports parsing text, video and pictures, (supporting multiple RSS feeds), and displaying this in the GUI. This should be simple enough, like the RSS readers on mobile devices, but suited for a TV display.
  • Generic App Support - a very non-trivial much more generalized implementation would be an application / component that is able to capture the output and control an external application through a process pipe, shared memory, events, etc and have XBMC render it inside its own window. Such an implementation would mean we could more easily swap out browsers and also integrate other applications into XBMC. Of course this is highly non-trivial and many parts of it would be platform dependent. In terms of performance, such a technique will probably(?) not function too well for applications that require high fps. This OpenGL extension to convert a pixmap to a texture (used by compiz) might prove useful.
  • Port all of the existing visualizations and screensavers available in XBMC for Xbox from Direct3D/DirectX to OpenGL, (perhaps even doing so in a unified way that they are combined with the existing Direct3D/DirectX version so that they each supports both DirectX and OpenGL).
  • BD-J (Blu-ray Disc Java) library for Linux in order to have Blu-ray menu system support under XBMC video-player, (to be able to fully playback unencrypted Blue-ray discs).

5 Qualification tasks

Please add a note here if you choose to work on a qualification task to avoid duplicate work.

Many students will probably apply for the Google Summer of Code and wish to work on a sexy multimedia project such as XBMC. All students will probably also claim to be hard workers, but we need a real method of determining which students have a higher probability for success. Thus, we will use this qualification system (adopted from FFmpeg SoC 2007 season). A student must successfully first complete a qualification task in order to be considered for an XBMC SoC project. In doing so, a student demonstrates that they:

  • Are willing to commit some time during the Summer of Code application review period in order to prove that they can code C++ satisfactorily in a clean, well-documented style.
  • Can effectively navigate the XBMC codebase.
  • Can communicate well with the XBMC development-team and community via the forum and IRC.
  • Can accept feedback and revise code after review until it is suitable for inclusion in the main XBMC codebase.
TIP! Do not be shy, speak your mind, and get involved with the public community!

Frequent Objection #1: "But I don't have time to do a qualification task!" Then how do we know you will have time to work on your task during the summer? The qualification tasks are selected to be fairly trivial by XBMC standards and should not be too difficult for a prospective XBMC contributor. If they are too difficult, maybe XBMC is not the project for you.

NOTE! Be encouraged by the fact that the application review period comes after the application submission deadline; i.e., you can work on a qualification task after you submit an application to XBMC through Google. But you will not be considered for an GSoC project slot unless you have satisfactorily completed a qualification task.

Process: If you are truly interested in applying for XBMC's Summer of Code and, by extension, interested in working on a qualification task, the first step is to register a XBMC Community Forum Account, a SourceForge.NET Account and a XBMC Wiki Account, and then publicly indicate that your interest and which project you plan to work on.

5.1 Platform independent

  • Implement a slow-cache system for the infomanager for those items that do not need to be retrieved more than about once a second, such as the proposed "Library.HasContent()" stuff which hits the db.
Legacy Tasks - There is a growing back-log of 'interesting patches' and 'bug-reports' for XBMC on our patch-tracker and our bug-tracker which are both hosted on the XBMC project site. Many of the patches have been abandoned by the original submitter, thus now requires volunteers to take the initiative to clean up each patch to the satisfaction of the project leaders and resubmit it for new review, so that it can be approved for SVN inclusion. As for the bugs, please try to fix enough bugs to show of your skill. See:
Note! If you have an idea for a other simple task, come and discuss it on the development forums and the devs might approve it.

5.2 XBMC for Linux

  • Port an existing XBMC (for Xbox) DirectX/Direct3D/HLSL screensaver or visualization to OpenGL/GLSL
  • Complete the missing 64-bit audio codecs for XBMC's in-house audio-player (PAPlayer)

5.3 XBMC for Mac OS X

  • Port an existing XBMC (for Xbox) DirectX/Direct3D/HLSL screensaver or visualization to OpenGL/GLSL
  • Mac OS X 64-bit x86 running: Patches to make XBMC for Mac OS X closer to running on 64-bit x86 architecture. Should be easier now that it's working on AMD64 Linux. E-mail malloc AT xbmc DOT org with questions.

5.4 XBMC for Windows

  • Port an existing XBMC (for Xbox) DirectX/Direct3D/HLSL screensaver or visualization to OpenGL/GLSL
  • XBMC for Windows 64-bit x86 running: Patches to make XBMC for Windows closer to running on 64-bit x86 architecture. Should be easier now that XBMC is working on AMD64 Linux. E-mail malloc AT xbmc DOT org with questions.

5.5 XBMC for Xbox

  • Update a few third-party library/module that XBMC for Xbox depends on and submit a patch for the update
    • For example: libCDIO, CxImage, libcurl, libshout, libsamba, libPython, libSQLite, FileZilla (server), libDAAP, libfreetype (FreeType2)

6 Mentors and Contact methods

Mentors are developers from Team-XBMC and members of The XBMC Project that have volunteered to assist and mentor non-official XBMC developers in any non-trivial way they can, helping you by checking, commenting and committing your code patches to our SVN source code tree. These mentors have chosen an area they prefer to specialize in, usually this is an area in which they feel they have most interest, knowledge, and expertise in.

  • JMarshall: Anything GUI related, Music Library, Video Library, PAPlayer, etc.
  • Spiff: Anything other than DllLoader/MPlayer/DVDPlayer internals.
  • Yuvalt: Everything Linux
  • D4rk: OpenGL, other Linux stuff
  • Vulkanr: Everything Linux (including DllLoader and VideoPlayer internals)
  • elupus: DllLoader and VideoPlayer internals (video-player/codec specialist)
  • malloc: Everything Linux
  • Agathorn: Anything GUI and Skin related (Xbox or platform-independent)
NOTE! All GSoC students should feel comfortable to not only approach your assigned mentors but also to approach ANY mentor and ANY Team-XBMC member with your questions and problems, Team-XBMC is not only a team by name but we do our best to work as a team as well.

6.1 Contact methods

These are developers forums for XBMC development, (programmers/coders only!).
Respect, these are not for posting feature-requests or end-user support requests!