Google Summer of Code 2018 Ideas

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This page lists all the project ideas for our Google Summer of Code 2018 application. Students should also visit our general GSoC 2018 page for more information including a Student Guide and our contact information.

Your idea!

We are eager to hear about your proposal to improve either ReactOS or its infrastructure. Come and propose your project on the ReactOS developers mailing-list or on IRC to get feedback about its feasibility. If your project is doable, we will be glad to provide you with a mentor so you can succeed in your project.

Don't forget that ReactOS is a big project and application fields are wide. You can choose between user-mode or kernel-mode development, between application, or dll/driver development, or between working on ReactOS itself or on extra tools used by developers for their daily work on ReactOS. Also if all you prefer is web development, we also have needs there.

Skills needed
Yours
Difficulty
The one you'll have set
Extras
You'll be working on your own project and be able to choose its direction along with your mentor :-).

Drivers

Intel High Definition Audio Bus Driver

Implement support for the Intel High Definition Audio specification for sound cards.

Benefits
Modern audio cards use the Intel High Definition Audio specification. Therefore they rely on a bus driver to communicate with the audio hardware. The goal is to write a bus driver which supports those new cards. The bus driver needs to work on a Microsoft NT system and with ReactOS.
References
HD Audio Device Driver Interface whitepaper: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/gg462966
Programming the HD Audio DDI: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff536442%28v=vs.85%29.aspx
HD Audio Bus Drivers: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff536434%28v=vs.85%29.aspx
Skills needed
Kernel driver programming experience
Bus driver programming experience
Familiarity with Intel HD Audio specification
Audio kernel streaming

Fundamental WiFi components

ReactOS already supports the majority of drivers for cabled Ethernet controllers. Supporting wireless WiFi controllers requires additional components for enumerating networks, handling a connection and encrypting the communication. These are almost non-existing in ReactOS right now, and WPA encryption is entirely unsupported. Having WiFi components would greatly improve the ReactOS experience on mobile computers.

The student should implement the basic components for WiFi connections found in modern Windows versions (NT6 and later). The components should support connecting to unencrypted and encrypted WEP/WPA/WPA2 networks. We're deliberately not targeting WinXP (NT5) here, because of major architectural changes in the WiFi components since then. If there is still time left, adequate GUI applications for connecting to WiFi networks and checking the status can be implemented.

References
Windows Vista DLLs and function descriptions
802.11 Wireless LAN Objects
Native Wifi functions
wlanmsm.dll RPC Interfaces
Exports of wlansec.dll
WiFi Password Secrets
Needed Skills
Software Development in C and under Windows
Familiarity with Windows networking
Previous experience with RPC would be a plus


USBXHCI driver for supporting USB 3.x controllers

ReactOS currently ships with drivers for USB 1.x (OHCI/UHCI) and USB 2.x (EHCI) controllers only. More and more modern computers come with USB 3.x controllers (XHCI), so ReactOS should come with a driver for them rather sooner than later. While our USB 1.x and 2.x drivers are not yet complete and still under heavy development, this is a side project that can be implemented independently.

References
Intel XHCI Specification
Current work on USB in ReactOS
Needed Skills
Software Development in C and under Windows
Experience with developing low-level Kernel-Mode hardware drivers
Previous experience with USB-related development would be a huge plus


NT "Wine audio" driver

Useful for: End-users

Currently, ReactOS imports mmdevapi DLL from Wine but it doesn't have a "driver" for it. In Wine, the driver is an implementation of various COM interfaces on top of libraries such as ALSA or OSS. However, it is perfectly possible to implement such a driver for Windows NT (preferably Vista+) using audio IOCTL to directly talk to the Windows device.

Benefits
Vista+ compatible sound stack (our portcls.sys is already there)
Importing the latest Wine audio related libraries becomes possible (winmm, mmdevapi, dsound, etc.)
One place to rule them all: the only direct interface between user mode and driver.
References
WINE documentation about its Sound System
Core Audio
Wine implementation on top of alsa
Skills needed
Windows Audio Stack knowledge
COM knowledge


Plug and Play (PnP) Storage Stack

Right now, PnP support in the storage stack is close to being there. mountmgr.sys has already been implemented, and recent tests show that plugging USB sticks work. However, "traditional" storage stack is not PnP-aware, meaning that hot-plugging a SATA or SCSI device is not possible. Alleviating PnP support in scsiport would be the first task of this project. Then, turning uniata into a PnP-aware driver would permit SATA device hot-plugging. Finally, PnP-aware "cdrom_new" and "disk_new" drivers can be activated.

References
SCSI Port API
Windows Open-Source Storage Driver Samples based on the PnP Storage Stack
Universal ATA driver with PATA/SATA/AHCI support (opensource)
Skills needed
Software Development in C and under Windows
Experience with developing low-level Kernel-Mode hardware drivers
Previous experience with Windows Storage APIs would be a huge plus


Bluetooth Stack

Bluetooth is an integral part of communicating with mobile devices these days. At the moment, ReactOS has no Bluetooth support. An initial Bluetooth stack for ReactOS should come with a Device Management as well as file transfer support (OBEX-FTP profile). The number of available Bluetooth stacks for Windows shows that you have a high degree of design freedom for your ReactOS Bluetooth stack, more than for most ReactOS components.

References
Bluetooth under Windows
Skills needed
Software Development in C and under Windows
Familiarity with Bluetooth

Networking

Integrating SMB into ReactOS

Useful for: End-users and developers

SMB/CIFS is omnipresent for file sharing under Windows. It's one of the features new users to ReactOS always expect and then cannot find anywhere.

As such, ReactOS finally needs an implementation of SMB properly integrated into the operating system. SMB heavily relies on RPC and UNC paths and previous work in both areas exists. A potential developer should base the work on the mature Samba Open-Source implementation of SMB. However, Samba is developed for UNIX systems and therefore parts of its code require careful porting to create a native implementation for ReactOS.

Benefits
Having SMB would highly improve ReactOS' abilities to transfer files over the network, both for users and developers! It would also lay the groundwork for other Windows network services such as Printer Sharing.
References
Samba Wiki
MS-SMB Server Message Block (SMB) Protocol Open Specification (and related ones on this site)
Samba-TNG was an effort to rewrite unix samba libraries into a more NT like architecture. They already work in Windows/ReactOS, archival copies are available here source and binaries. There is even a video of how to use it.
Skills needed
Software Development in C and under Windows
Familiarity with Win32 APIs and Networking
Experience with gluing code of different projects together


Terminal Services

Useful for: End-users and developers

Implement support for terminal services, allowing inbound remote desktop connections to ReactOS. This encompasses implementation of input and video drivers to handle output over the network.

The terminal services system provides functionality for securely connecting remote clients and servers, for channeling communication between components of remote clients and servers, and for managing servers. It implements the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) which is a multi-channel protocol that allows users of a remote client to connect to a server over a network.

Benefits
Terminal services support would allow ReactOS to serve as a terminal server/thin client server. Organizations that wish to provide a shared workstation with Windows would have a free alternative that does not have complex licensing terms covering multi-session usage. The display driver for terminal services can also be used to support fast user-switching and even possibly multi-monitor support.
References
ReactOS Terminal Services
Skills needed
Network development experience.
Driver development experience.
Knowledge/familiarity with RDP protocol.


Durability

Kernel mode test suite

Useful for: Developers

Improve our existing kernel mode test suite (created by a previous successful GSoC student) by adding comprehensive new tests in areas previously untouched by the test suite such as the kernel caching APIs and PnP. The goal is to extensively test Native API functions exported by the kernel. Reference behavior could be checked by running the test suite against the corresponding Windows operating system.

Benefits
Improved system stability.
More information about undocumented behavior.
Improved compatibility with third party drivers.
Skills needed
Native API knowledge
NT driver development skills


Win32k test suite

Useful for: Developers

Right now we have basically no tests that cover the win32k module. As win32k is the cornerstone of the interface between the Win32 Subsystem and the display drivers, lack of tests leads to inconsistency, guesswork and frustration when it comes to improving driver compatibility. A virtual display driver (à la kmtest.sys) allows us to test the functionality and behavior of win32k. If time permits, it would also be possible to add a mechanism to test videoprt.sys functionality, and the relationship between a display driver and its miniport counterpart.

References
Windows 2000 display driver model reference
Benefits
Improved stability.
More information about undocumented behavior.
Improved compatibility with third party drivers.
Skills needed
Display drivers development experience
Win32 API knowledge


System Enhancements

Audio Mixer

Implement support for mixing of audio streams.

Benefits
An audio mixer is responsible for routing of multiple audio streams. This would be very beneficial to ReactOS as audio driver support has improved yet the use of these drivers is limited by the lack of an audio mixer. At the end of the project multiple audio streams should be able to be played at the same time.
References
Audio Mixer Reference
DirectKS Sample Application download
Programming Services
"Secret Rabbit Code" (SRC) Sample Rate Converter aka libsamplerate
Skills needed
Windows Services familiarity
Basic Audio file format familiarity
Audio mixing algorithms / libraries familiarity
Basic kernel streaming familiarity


Search Shell extension

Our current Explorer still lacks a shell search band on the left. It would make the user able to search files, documents, or objects just like Windows does. It must be implemented compatible to the Windows Explorer interfaces to maintain compatibility with existing applications and existing search providers relying on it.

Benefits
This would make our Explorer feel more like the original one and be an user improvement
Great compatibility test for our browseui/explorer infrastucture.
Skills needed
Development in C/C++ and under Windows
Knowledge of COM, ATL, and shell APIs would be a plus.
Able to work without documentation, and only with debugging traces, WinDbg/API monitor


NT6 recycle bin support

In a (much) older GSOC project recycle bin support was added for nt5 operating systems. Now it is time to add support for reading and writing in recycle bin created by more modern operating systems. MORE TO BE ADDED HERE

Support for the GPT Partitioning Scheme

Currently, ReactOS relies on the traditional MBR (Master Boot Record) Partitioning Scheme for handling partitions on disks. The modern GPT (GUID Partition Table) enables ReactOS to address larger disks, support more partitions and is a requirement to boot on modern UEFI-based computers.

The student shall research into the components required for GPT support and the work that needs to be done on ReactOS. For example, some components like our kernel and mountmgr.sys already have preliminary GPT support, whereas it is non-existent in the HAL and disk.sys. At the end of the task, ReactOS shall be able to detect and use an external GPT-formatted disk. If there is still time left, the student may also add support for booting from GPT to our bootloader(s).

Skills needed
Development in C
Kernel-mode development
Prior knowledge about MBR and GPT disk structures would be a huge plus.


WebKit-based MSHTML implementation

MSHTML is the central component for rendering HTML pages in applications written for Windows. At the moment, ReactOS depends on a heavyweight Gecko-based MSHTML implementation that needs to be installed manually. By providing a lightweight WebKit-based MSHTML implementation, ReactOS could render HTML pages out of the box. This would also benefit the CHM help system, which is based on HTML files. On top of this, a simple ReactOS Browser with tabbing and bookmarks may be sufficient for some people.

References
MSHTML Reference
WebKit2 API
Benefits
Greater usability by providing a web browser and HTML-based help system out of the box.
No reliance on the heavyweight Gecko-based MSHTML sourced from WINE.
Skills needed
Development in C/C++ and under Windows
Knowledge of COM would be a plus.
Familiarity with WebKit would be a plus.


Improving the quality of our Registry Hive implementation

ReactOS features a basic implementation of the Windows-compatible Registry Hive format for storing system and application settings. There are two major areas where our current implementation could be improved:

  1. When ReactOS crashes, Registry Hives easily get corrupted and render the whole system unbootable. The reliability of the Registry Hive implementation shall be improved to make the effect of crashes less severe and also recover from partly corrupted Hives.
  2. Hives created by our mkhive tool are roughly compatible with the Windows format. The only part that is currently missing are the implementation of Security Descriptors. Implementing these could make the tool more usable and improve interoperability between Windows and ReactOS.

Related components in ReactOS are the cmlib library, the ntoskrnl Cm, and the mkhive tool.

References
"The Internal Structure of the Windows Registry", MSc Thesis by Peter Norris, BSc (Hons), MBCS: http://amnesia.gtisc.gatech.edu/~moyix/suzibandit.ltd.uk/MSc/
Offline NT Password and Registry Editor: http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/
Bug reports CORE-6762, CORE-9195 and CORE-10793.
Skills needed
Development in C
Kernel-mode development

Performance Data Registry

Access to performance data on Windows is done primarily through the registry API, accessing something known as the performance data hive. This hive does not exist as a genuine file but is in reality a collection of data exported by various OS components, drivers, services, and even applications. Many of the performance values provided through the performance data registry is not available in any other form. The absence of support for performance counters renders many diagnostic utilities from Microsoft broken and is also an impediment to application compatibility. Condor is an example of a third party application that uses the performance data registry for process and resource usage tracking.

Benefits
Besides application compatibility, the performance data registry is one of the most difficult to use public interfaces in Windows. The layout of its data structures makes querying and accessing values a highly manual process. Documentation produced from this effort would provide better guidelines for third parties to access the performance data registry and better use the information published by the system and Microsoft's own applications such as the .NET runtime or the IIS service.
References
Description of performance counters and types in Windows 2003: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc776490%28WS.10%29.aspx
Performance counter data structures: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa373093%28v=VS.85%29.aspx
Example code for accessing performance data through registry: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa373219%28v=VS.85%29.aspx
Skills needed
Registry API familiarity.
Performance registry structure familiarity.
Performance counter familiarity.


Management Console

Implement Microsoft Management Console (MMC). The MMC provides an interface for various management tools, both from Microsoft and third parties, called snap-ins. These snap-ins are standalone programs dynamically loaded into an MMC console to perform a specific configuration task, such as configuring a network or managing disk drives.

Benefits
Easier snap-ins development.
Consistent user interface of management tools.
One configurable place to access key management and configuration apps.
References
What is MMC
Developing for MMC 3.0
Skills needed
Basic Windows development experience.
Knowledge of COM.


Applications Manager Rapps

Useful for: End-users

RAPPS is a lightweight GUI utility which downloads and installs various popular apps and redistributable packages in Windows and ReactOS. It can be significantly improved to become a really useful tool for not only for ReactOS but for Windows users also who want to manage their installed applications like Steam manages games installation/updating.

A list of features to be implemented:

  • Mainly:
 - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_SVqMk1VU75tjAnnE5oz20iU8fy5fQpPf5vwTf3bnEk/edit?usp=sharing
  • Optionally:
 - Add support for command line parameters to RAPPS. For example: "rapps install chrome" (just like your favourite Linux distro package manager) or "rapps remove msvc2010_redist"
 - Separate the download and install operations so that a user could choose just to download the apps into a local cache and install some or all of them later (just like Steam or NVidia's driver updaters first does Download then asks to Install, for example)
 - Automatically "install" simple apps by unpacking the archive they come in and execute a script inside it (if any) which creates shortcuts on the desktop
Skills needed
WinAPI
C/C++
Difficulty
Medium
Extras
A chance to work on an app potentially used by many people throughout the world


GUI 1st Stage Installer

Useful for: End-users

To make ReactOS more user friendly for installation, a GUI installation instead of a rather limited text-mode installer is needed. This could be run off of the LiveCD and act as a front end to the disk formatter and installer we already have implemented.

Benefits
Having a GUI installer would allow the project to merge the bootcd and LiveCD and ensure that the LiveCD gets more testing to make sure it is not broken and simply neglected. A GUI installer would also be less intimidating to new users, especially those used to Vista or 7's installer.
Skills needed
Win32 API familiarity.
Partitioning and setup experience.

Win32 Subsystem

Multi-Monitor Support

Implementation of multi-monitor support has been almost nonexistent until now. Display device drivers expose them thanks to the HwVidGetVideoChildDescriptor callback, which videoprt.sys uses to enumerate monitors attached to it then to pass the information to win32k.sys. It is then the role of win32k.sys to make the link between the two (or more) monitors, either cloning or extending the desktop and exposing the relevant features to client applications.

Benefits
Multi-monitor support would allow ReactOS to become a serious player in professional desktop applications given the increasing number of double-screen installations present in modern workspaces. Document comparison, permanently visible e-mail reader or presentation applications are just a few benefits professionals get when using multiple monitors.
Multi-Monitor support would also find its place in the casual computing experience. Writing e-mails while watching a movie, or chatting with friends about current football play are things people do in the 21st century!
From a technical standpoint, properly supporting this feature would improve driver support and WIN32 application compatibility for APIs such as EnumDisplaySettings.
References
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dd145071%28v=vs.85%29.aspx
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff569172%28v=VS.85%29.aspx
http://www.vesa.org/
Virtualbox video driver source
Skills needed
Experience with Windows display drivers.
Experience with WINAPI, especially gdi32/user32.: Experience with PnP, as this feature would require detection of connected monitors: Experience with EDID/VESA standards.

Multi-Session Support

Supporting multiple sessions is a prerequisite for Terminal Services. TO BE ADDED WITH MORE DETAILS FOR GSOC 2018.

Enhancing web presence of ReactOS

Implement a REST API in testman

Useful for: Developers

For its development, ReactOS project has been using with success for years a complete tools set. Each time a commit is made to our trunk, our buildbot infrastructure (https://build.reactos.org) is in charge of rebuilding the trunk and starting a bunch of tests (about 10M tests) on it to make sure no regressions came in. When these tests are done, they are uploaded to Testman (https://www.reactos.org/testman), which makes them properly readable and usable for developers. Over the years, the question of being able to catch regression patterns more or less automatically has been raised. Also, regtests provide a good performance indicator for ReactOS and evaluating their performances over commits can be critical as well.

Thus there is a need to be able to directly query Testman via an API to gather the raw data (tests, time to perform then) so that more tools can make use of these results. The student would have the responsibility to implement such an API into Testman directly.

Skills needed
PHP/MySQL development
REST API development
Difficulty
The project in itself shouldn't be difficult. Testman is a well-known product developed in-house. But deep attention must be given to security and the performance of the API.
Extras
If the student goes fast enough, we will be able to extend this project, by for instance looking at how to develop a skeleton application to make use of the API or by directly developing a complete application to evaluate the performance of the tests over time.