Improve the setiQuest Source Code Infrastructure

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We have recently released the SonATA source code to the open source community. SonATA is our extraterrestrial signal search and detection software. See setiQuest.org for more information.

The project is the result of 20 years of development by many different programmers. Until recently there has never been an effort to make the software available to developers outside of the SETI organization. Now all that has changed. We have spent the last year cleaning up the code and addressing licensing issues. The first release was March 1st, 2011. See the setiQuest/SonATA project on GitHub.

Now that the source code is available to the public we need to make a few improvements to help it become easier to use and understand, thus opening the door to more people becoming involved in the project.

We would like a Google Summer of Code participant to help us improve the infrastructure of our open source release. The project would involve the following:

  1. Improve the install instructions and procedures. We currently have a number of software packages that need to be installed before the software can be downloaded, built, and run. The instructions we have are cumbersome at best and need to be refined.
  2. Building the software is a bit complicated and prone to developer error. We would like an all comprehensive configure or cmake build system to be implemented to make this easier. We are also willing to entertain using ant.
  3. Improve the demos that are run by the developer once the software is built.
  4. Improve the structure of the documentation. Not all the software has the necessary Doxygen headers. The Doxygen template needs improvement.
  5. Create a detailed report on the project and how the SonATA source code was improved. We would like to release this information as an open source project improvement case study.

Candidate Qualifications

The successful candidate will have the following qualifications:

  1. An interest in open source project infrastructure
  2. Good writing/documentation skills
  3. Familiarity with source code C++/JAVA or other modern programming languages. No need to be an expert, but must be familiar with the general constructs of source code.
  4. A desire to improve the open source community.

The Mentor

Jon Richards will be the mentor for this project. Jon is the primary person responsible for leading the team that open sourced SonATA. Jon is currently mentoring a group of students from Carnegie Melon University, in their Masters project. Jon will be supported by two other committers to SonATA software - Jane Jordan and Ken Smolek.

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