Google Summer of Code/2022/Ideas

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GSoC 2022 logo

Want to spend your summer contributing full-time to Gentoo, and get paid for it? Gentoo is in its 10th year in the Google Summer of Code. In the past, most of our successful students have become Gentoo developers, so your chances of becoming one are very good if you're accepted into this program.

Most ideas listed here have a contact person associated with them. Please get in touch with them earlier rather than later to develop your idea into a complete application. You can find many of them on Libera.Chat's IRC network under the same username. If there is no contact information, please join the gentoo-soc mailing list or #gentoo-soc on the Libera.Chat IRC network, and we will work with you to find a mentor and discuss your idea.

You don't have to apply for one of these ideas! You can come up with your own, and as long as it fits into Gentoo, we'll be happy to work with you to develop it. Remember, your project needs to have deliverables in less than 3 months of work in most cases. Be ambitious but not too ambitious ;)

Students, please read this first

We have a custom application template that we will ask you to fill out. Here it is:

Congratulations on applying for a project with Gentoo! To improve your chances of succeeding with this project, we want to make sure you're sufficiently prepared to invest a full summer's worth of time on it. In addition to the usual application, there are 2 specific actions and 2 pieces of info we would like to see from you:

  • Use the tools that you will use in your project to make changes to code (e.g., source code management [SCM] software such as CVS, Subversion, or git). Please use the same SCM as you will use for your project to check out one of our repositories, make a change to it, and post that change as a patch on a mailing list or bug. Please fix a real bug reported in Bugzilla to show that you can use the tools to make a meaningful change. Your contact in Gentoo can help you determine which SCM and repository you should use for this as well as a good bug to fix. If your idea doesn't have a contact, please get in touch with us on the gentoo-soc mailing list or in real-time on IRC. Once you've made your change, link to it from your application.
  • Participate in our development community. Please make a post to one of our mailing lists and link to it from your application ( holds past postings). The gentoo-soc list would be a good starting point, if you aren't subscribed to any others already. The best posts would be an introduction of the project you're applying for and a little background about you, to introduce yourself to the community and get some broader input about your project.
  • Give us your contact info and working hours. Please provide your email address, home mailing address, and phone number. This is a requirement and provides for accountability on both your side and ours. Also, please tell us what hours you will be working and responsive to contact via email and IRC; these should sum to at least 35 hours a week.

These actions are things you will do extremely commonly as an open-source developer, and they really aren't that hard, so don't let them hold you back! The remainder of the application is free-form. Please read our application guidelines and Google's FAQ to complete it. Good luck!


Adding Ideas
First, enter the idea title into the form box below. Next, fill in all the information and save the article. Finally, edit this page and include a link to it. For assistance, talk to Blueknight or alicef on IRC.

Create new idea

Existing ideas

Your idea here

Our best proposals, and a significant proportion of our total acceptances every year, come from student-initiated ideas rather than those suggested by Gentoo developers. We highly encourage you to suggest your own idea based on what you think would make Gentoo a better distribution. If you do so, we strongly recommend you work with a potential mentor to develop your idea before proposing it formally. You can find a potential mentor by contacting BlueKnight or via discussion on the gentoo-soc mailing list or #gentoo-soc IRC channel.

Contacts Required Skills
  • Initiative
  • Independence
  • Enthusiasm
Expected Project Size Expected Outcomes

175 hours/350 hours

  • Anything that would make Gentoo a better distribution
Project Difficulty


Portage code modernisation

Portage's codebase is aging (as old as Gentoo!) and needs modernisation for contemporary Python style and techniques. This project involves picking components of the Portage codebase, understanding it, annotating it (with extensive comments), and then refactoring as appropriate.

A lot of this technical code debt makes implementing new GLEPs and features more expensive and time-consuming than it needs to be. This project is to work on modernising the codebase in appropriately-sized chunks. Rewriting whole modules is less important than documenting the existing code, as well as researching the reasons for its existing behaviour, and refactoring (even small amounts) in the course of that work.

Contacts Required Skills
  • Python
  • Familiarity with git (including finding why code was added in the first place, relevant bugs, etc)
Expected Project Size Expected Outcomes

175 hours or 350 hours, depending on appetite for larger refactoring.

  • Documenting (inc. commenting) sufficient files, modules, and components of Portage
  • Important modules within the agreed-upon component(s), e.g. would be documented, with appropriate code-cleanups made, and refactored & split into appropriate abstractions, allowing further work to be done in future (e.g. incorporating different dependency resolvers).
  • Refactoring segments once understood. The aim is to first document the reason for existence of functions, conditions, edge cases, and so on, and then to refactor (even only locally/scoped only to within function(s) as-you-go) to improve readability, efficiency, and correctness.
Project Difficulty

Easy or Medium. Some sections will be easier and the codebase is large enough so that people can choose components according to the appropriate difficulty.

Portage constructed build environments and circular dependency solver

Improving on the new binpkgs code, we could construct consistent and clean build environments for packages. By generating binpkgs as SquashFS, portage could construct build environments in a mount namespace, with constricted available packages, to detect build system bugs like automatic dependency detection, hard-coded paths, direct calls to gcc/clang, missing (or even extraneous) dependencies. This decoupling of the build and host environment also allows us to break apart build and install steps in the build graph, so that circular dependencies could be solved by building temporary packages with cycle-breaking flags (for instance, harfbuzz[-truetype], freetype[harfbuzz], harfbuzz[truetype], install both).

Contacts Required Skills
  • Understanding of Linux namespaces, particularly mount namespaces
  • Ability to write Python
Expected Project Size Expected Outcomes

175 hours

  • Improved QA (finding missing dependencies)
  • Prevent confusion by circular dependencies (this would solve a long-standing bug: bug #175808)
Project Difficulty

Hard, mainly because handling Portage codebase

Musl support expansion

The alternative libc musl is strict about standards compliance. This project is to work in improving the number of packages, especially popular and important ones, which build and work correctly (including test suites passing) on musl systems.

We already have a substantial list (bug #430702) of packages which need porting to musl, but there will inevitably be more not yet found by our automated testing. The work for this project can be scoped as necessary.

Students would be asked to work on a musl porting guide to aid future work and other Gentoo developers based on their experiences and knowledge developed during the project, building on existing stub/draft work.

Contacts Required Skills
  • C
  • Some familiarity with build systems (mainly autotools)
Expected Project Size Expected Outcomes

175 hours

Any subset of the following items, as long as it matches the project size:

  • Working towards getting a full KDE Plasma desktop installed (and then working)
  • Working towards getting a full GNOME desktop installed (and then working)
  • Composing a reasonable list of 'standard developer tools' and working towards getting it buildable
  • (Similar examples to the above, subject to discussion, as long as they're reasonable about unlocking a 'suite' of applications/software for users, like the 'desktop' or 'developer' categories given.)
Project Difficulty

Easy to medium depending on which bugs are worked on. There are enough which are easy but experienced candidates will have the opportunity to take on harder bugs if interested.

Language eclass modernisation

Gentoo's eclasses for language support (or "bindings") have gone through several evolutions until the community largely settled on the "Python model" (now used for Lua and others).

Ruby and Java haven't yet been adapted to this newer dependency model. This often leads to counterintuitive conflicts for users and confusing errors. It's not certain that the dependencies specified are completely accurate as-is or can be expressed as necessary.

This project will lead to a significantly improved user experience and fix a whole slew of bugs in the process!

We also have a smaller-scope opportunity to work on the OCaml ecosystem.


  1. Convert either (or both) the Java and Ruby eclasses to this modern style/model. This will make developing ebuilds with Java (or Ruby) support far easier and make dependencies more correct for users, reducing the pain of upgrades. Candidates may work on either (or both if they're feel adventurous) the Java or Ruby ecosystems. Both are in need of similar treatment:
    1. In a new revision to use the modern Python-style JAVA_COMPAT and RUBY_COMPAT configurations;
    2. Introduce appropriate functions for use in ebuilds (again based on the Python model and, nowadays, Lua);
    3. Document these frameworks and their usage;
    4. Update ebuilds to make use of them!
  2. OCaml
    1. Unify the OCaml eclasses if possible into one eclass with multiple options/variables;
    2. Add a mechanism into OCaml eclasses to indicate if they support ocamlopt;
    3. Audit our existing OCaml packages to properly support -ocamlopt and ocamlopt setups;
    4. Document these frameworks and their usage;
    5. Update ebuilds to make use of them!

For more on Ruby, see:

Contacts Required Skills
  • Bash (sufficient for ebuilds and eclasses)
  • Written own Gentoo ebuilds and familiar with Gentoo eclasses
  • Possibly some Java (or Ruby or OCaml), but mostly familiarity with Java (or Ruby or OCaml) build systems.
  • Familiarity with Gentoo is a requirement
Expected Project Size Expected Outcomes

175 hours or 350 hours, depending on what tasks are planned. This project could easily go as far as 350 hours depending on discussions with the candidate: it will take longer if doing both Java and Ruby, and it'll take longer if converting either a significant number of ebuilds in tree, or all ebuilds in tree.

170 hours if doing the OCaml option instead.

  • If Java is chosen: A set of eclasses for Java: java-any-rN (build-time only dependency), java-single-rN (single Java version), maybe java-rN (multiple implementations installed by a package if appropriate), and possibly java-utils-rN.
  • If Ruby is chosen: A set of eclasses for Ruby: ruby-any-RN (build-time only dependency), ruby-single-rN (single Ruby version), ruby-rN (multiple Ruby implementations installed by a package), and possibly ruby-utils-rN.
  • For the language(s) chosen, sufficient 'eclassdocs' (eclass documentation) should be written, as well as e.g. a wiki page describing typical usage. A stub version of the 'Python guide' (see stretch goal) would be a bonus.
  • Stretch goal: A similar resource to the Python guide for Java and/or Ruby (or OCaml)
Project Difficulty

Hard (relatively). It should be totally manageable for somebody familiar with ebuilds (and eclasses if possible), but if you are new to working with ebuilds, another task may be more suitable.

Ruby is likely to be easier than Java because Java has mixed build systems (e.g. Maven). The task will be easier if the candidate has familiarity with the language & ecosystem they choose.

The OCaml option is easier but has less impact for our users; we have a number of OCaml packages (mostly as dependencies for useful applications) but Java and Ruby are far larger ecosystems, and hence have more impact.

Java Big Data Infrastructure Improvements and Maintenance

The Spark overlay is an ebuild repository for JVM-based big data infrastructure systems. Currently, it enables users to install Apache Spark and the H2O machine learning platform to a Gentoo system easily via Portage. It is also the home of the first set of Kotlin library ebuilds that are built from source and Kotlin eclasses which allow more ebuilds for third-party Kotlin packages (e.g. okio, clikt) to be created.

The Spark overlay has featured in two previous GSoCs (2020, 2021) and is still being actively maintained. It has gone through a massive update of packages for Java 11 after it had been enabled for users on a stable keyword (bug #810613), a repository-wide migration to Log4j >=2.17.1 after it had been added to the official Gentoo ebuild repository (bug #830910), as well as several additional security updates to packages, including Jetty 9.4.44, Jersey 2.35, and Jackson 2.13.0. These maintenance efforts have been striving to match the quality of packages in the Spark overlay to Java packages in the Gentoo repository to the maximum possible extent.

Despite continuous maintenance activities, the Spark overlay could still use some improvements that the current maintainer has not made due to his limited availability. The list below might look overwhelming, but you are more than welcome to just plan to do a subset of the tasks in your project proposal, as long as the amount of work they might involve reasonably matches the GSoC program's length.

  • The Apache Spark version shipped in the Spark overlay should be updated. The upstream has released version 3.2.1 in January 2022, whereas the Spark overlay currently provides 3.0.0-preview2, which is a pre-release version.
  • Some packages in the Spark overlay are still on a vulnerable version and should be updated to a patched version. Affected packages include Hadoop 2.7.4, Netty 4.1.42, and possibly more.
  • More H2O extensions should be added to the Spark overlay. Currently, packages for Algos and TargetEncoder extensions are offered. Some other key extensions that are not shipped in the Spark overlay yet include XGBoost and AutoML.
  • The aforementioned Kotlin ecosystem for Gentoo has some potential areas of improvement, which have been documented in Kotlin/Open Challenges and Room for Improvement.
  • Resolve some other issues in the Spark overlay's issue tracker.
  • The Spark overlay currently does not have a reliable mechanism to report security issues of packages in it. The infamous Log4j 2 vulnerability disclosed in December 2021 has drawn attention from both software developers and non-professional users to security of Java packages. While critical vulnerabilities of vital JVM libraries like Log4j can usually be easily noticed by Spark overlay maintainers thanks to wide news coverage on such important events, other critical vulnerabilities of less commonly-used packages might not receive the maintainers’ attention in time. This caused unacceptable postponement in delivery of the Jetty 9.4.44, Jersey 2.35, and Jackson 2.13.0 security updates.

Contacts Required Skills
  • Experience with at least one popular Java build automation tool, such as Maven or Gradle
  • Non-trivial knowledge about the Java compilation, linking, and loading process, including how to manually invoke javac directly to compile Java source files without using a build automation tool, and how tools like Maven and Gradle may invoke javac to build a project
  • Non-trivial experience in using Gentoo as a daily driver or in a mission-critical workflow
  • Bash (for working with ebuilds, eclasses, and some scripts used in automated processes)
  • Experience in ebuild writing
  • Non-trivial Git skills, which at least include proficiently using git rebase, and knowing how to keep the commit history linear (i.e. without any merge commits)
  • A spirit of eliminating and avoiding technical debts to the maximum possible extent
Expected Project Size Expected Outcomes

175 hours or 350 hours, depending on what tasks are planned

Any subset of the following items, as long as it matches the project size:

  • Updated Gentoo packages for the latest release of Apache Spark
  • Updated Gentoo packages for the latest releases of Apache Hadoop and Netty
  • Gentoo packages for H2O XGBoost and AutoML extensions
  • Resolutions to issues in Kotlin/Open Challenges and Room for Improvement or Spark overlay issue tracker
  • A system that reports security vulnerabilities of Gentoo packages in the Spark overlay to its maintainers in time
Project Difficulty

Medium to hard, depending on what tasks are planned

RISC-V support for Gentoo Prefix

RISC-V is an emerging open CPU architecture that is starting to be adopted well beyond the embedded domain; the European Processor Initiative (EPI) project is a clear example of this.

Gentoo Prefix is a key component in the European Environment for Scientific Software (EESSI) project, which is a collaboration between various partners in the High-Performance Computing (HPC) community to build a common stack of scientific software installations for HPC systems and beyond, including laptops, personal workstations, and cloud infrastructure.

RISC-V is one of the target CPU architectures in the EESSI project, and good support for RISC-V in Gentoo Prefix is a crucial first step towards supporting RISC-V in EESSI.

Contacts Required Skills
  • Good working knowledge of Linux shell, Git
  • Familiarity with Gentoo is a requirement
  • Familiarity with Gentoo Prefix is a plus
  • Familiarity with QEMU is desirable
Expected Project Size Expected Outcomes

175 hours or 350 hours, depending on which tasks are planned.

  • New profile for Gentoo prefix on RISC-V
  • Make it possible to bootstrap and use a Gentoo prefix system on RISC-V architecture
  • Test and keyword packages in Gentoo for RISC-V
Project Difficulty

Medium to hard, depending on which tasks are planned and what issues are encountered during bootstrapping.

Portage-driven Gentoo Prefix bootstrap

The Bootstrap of Gentoo Prefix on a new environment is fragile and often need manual intervention. It is because Gentoo Prefix runs on a vast number of hosts, and the ::gentoo repository is fast moving. The reliability of bootstrap is crucial for new users to adopt Prefix and is the foundation for more use scenarios.

Stacked Prefix (also known as prefix-stack) was introduced to manage cygwin/win32 setups. It matured with EAPI 7, when BROOT variable are used to express the directory prefix of BDEPEND. This project envision using prefix-stack to bootstrap Prefix, achieving 3 goals:

  • Unify the bootstrap logic of Prefix standalone (aka RAP) and guest (aka prefix-rpath);
  • Simplify the logic of Prefix bootstrap;
  • Substantially speed up the bootstrap if portage is available on the host.

You will need to test out various toolchain bootstrap setups and find out a universal routine for a diverse number of host environments. You are expected to decipher and debug subtle toolchain induced errors.

Contacts Required Skills
Benda Xu
  • More than 1-year user experience of Gentoo Prefix.
  • Bootstrapped Prefix from >3 kinds of host environments.
  • Proficient in Git and bash script programming.
  • Understand the compiler toolchain of GNU/Linux.
Expected Project Size Expected Outcomes
350 hours

A revised Gentoo Prefix bootstrap script that leverages prefix-stack and directly use host portage if available.

Project Difficulty