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Thursday, April 23, 2009


Last year I was one of the student coders in the Google Summer of Code program. This year, I'm playing the role of backup mentor. No money involved, but then again I don't do open-source software work for the money.

The student is Daniel Arbelo Arrocha, "darbelo" on IRC, and his project is implementing some big number arithmetic PMCs for Parrot. Parrot currently has a BigInt and a prototype BigNum PMC based on the GNU GMP arbitrary precision arithmetic library. Daniel is taking a different approach and attempting to rewrite them using the IBM Decimal Arithmetic Library, libdecnumber. I don't know enough (yet) to be able to intelliently compare and contrast the two approaches, but I'm sure there is a lot to be learned from this project whether it turns out to be a better or worse implementation then the GMP-based one. He's started a GoogleCode project where his work will be carried out. Since libdecnumber is under the ICU license, and not the Artistic 2.0 license like Parrot uses, the work can't be done in a branch in the Parrot repo like my GC work was last year.

Kevin Tew, "tewk" on IRC, is doing the LLVM project that I mentioned in a few earlier posts. I won't be involved in that project directly (besides being an enthusiastic well-wisher), but I sincerely hope that it too will be successful.

GSOC is going to be awesome this year, and I think that Parrot is going to benefit a lot from these two projects.

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