Google Summer of Code 2018 Ideas

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Revision as of 16:16, 17 February 2018 by Colin Finck (talk | contribs) (Remove ideas we cannot mentor this year)
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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

NDIS Miniport Drivers for Common Network Cards

Network card drivers are important for a good out-of-box experience since they are the key requirement for the user's ability to download additional drivers and applications. ReactOS currently includes a limited set of built-in network card drivers, most notably AMD PCnet, Realtek RTL8139 and NE2000.

These simple cards are no longer the default in many virtual machines and require specific configuration. Adding further drivers (e.g. for Intel E1000 and DC21x4 cards) would improve the experience for users of virtual machines.

Benefits
"Just works" experience on common Hypervisors such as VirtualBox, VMware and Hyper-V
References
MSDN: NDIS 5.1 Miniport Drivers
Existing built-in network driver sources
Intel® 82574 GbE Controller Family Datasheet
Digital Semiconductor 21041 PCI Ethernet LAN Controller Hardware Reference Manual
Skills needed
Software Development in C and under Windows
Kernel driver and/or NDIS programming experience
Experience working with hardware specification documents

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.

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

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
Difficulty Note
This is a formidable task. Please get advice from a mentor regarding the recommended skill level and possible reductions in scope to ensure your project proposal is realistic.

Audio

Intel High Definition Audio Bus Driver

Implement support for the Intel High Definition Audio specification for sound cards. ReactOS has the beginnings of the HD Audio Bus driver but it needs to be completed and tested.

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 complete the bus driver which supports those new cards. The driver needs to work on a Microsoft NT system, and be ready to support ReactOS now or in the future.
References
Existing hdaudbus driver: https://github.com/reactos/reactos/tree/master/drivers/wdm/audio/hdaudbus
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

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

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

Networking

Automatic Proxy Configuration

Useful for: End-users

Certain network configurations, especially in businesses, require proxy servers to access the internet. If the local network is setup up appropriately, modern operating systems can automatically determine the correct proxy server to use. This is made possible through Proxy Auto-Configuration (PAC) files and the Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Protocol (WPAD).

Benefits
Automatic "just works" internet access in additional environments
Networking support in business settings
References
Wikipedia: WPAD
Proxy Client Autoconfig File Format
Wikipedia: PAC
Skills needed
Software Development in C and under Windows
Familiarity with Win32 APIs
Familiarity with relevant technologies like DHCP and JavaScript

Windows Remote Management

Useful for: End-users and developers

WinRM is a Web Service that allows remote management of Windows machines. This includes authentication as well as remote execution of PowerShell and other scripts.

WinRM can be seen as Windows's equivalent to SSH, and it is useful for remote administration, automated machine setup as well as test automation.

Benefits
External automation tools such as Ansible could control ReactOS machines
Automated testing could make use of WinRM, both in VMs and on real hardware.
References
MSDN: Windows Remote Management
MSDN: WS-Management Protocol
WS-Management Specification
Skills needed
Software Development in C and under Windows
Familiarity with Win32 APIs and Networking
Familiarity with web service development, e.g. HTTP, SOAP, XML

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
Difficulty Note
This is a formidable task. Please get advice from a mentor regarding the recommended skill level and possible reductions in scope to ensure your project proposal is realistic.

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
https://github.com/FreeRDP/FreeRDP/wiki
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

UI Automation API

Accessibility is an important part of any operating system. Windows supports internal and external accessibility tools using its Automation API.

Adding support for these (currently completely absent) APIs to ReactOS would set the foundation for an OS usable by everyone. One approach for a project may be attempting to get the open source screen reader software "NVDA" to run on ROS.

Parts of this work may be suitable for submission to Wine, which would extend the usefulness beyond just ReactOS as well as simplify future maintenance of those components.

Benefits
Applications depending on these features may start to work in ReactOS
Adding support for accessibility shows that we care about all our users
References
Windows Automation API Overview
MSDN: UI Automation
NVDA Screen Reader
Skills needed
Development in C/C++ and under Windows
COM knowledge
Basic debugging skills

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

Paravirtualization Support

Virtual machines are increasingly common in all fields of computing. To increase VM performance, paravirtualization bypasses the emulation of traditional hardware (such as specific network or storage interfaces, or even the entire PCI bus) and uses specially crafted drivers in the guest OS to more directly interface with the hypervisor. The guest OS kernel can also be modified to directly interact with the hypervisor for CPU and memory management operations, leading to improved performance.

There are many choices of projects in this space, such as:

Making Xen's open source drivers work in ReactOS
Creating an initial set of drivers to support "enlightenment" under Hyper-V
Enhance the kernel to make use of hypervisor functionality for low-level operations (e.g. via VMI)
Testing and integrating VirtIO drivers, VirtualBox Guest Additions and/or open-vm-tools into ReactOS
Implementing automatic hypervisor detection during setup or in the applications manager to simplify the installation of the appropriate VM guest drivers

Note that these projects can vary greatly in difficulty. Please consult with a mentor to ensure your skill set and the scope of your proposal match up to make a realistic project.

Benefits
Avoid non-free or unavailable alternative drivers
Improved out-of-the-box functionality in virtual machines
Integration of kernel features that may improve VM performance
References
Xen Windows PV Drivers
open-vm-tools
VirtualBox Guest Additions
Linux Hyper-V drivers
The VMI virtualization interface
Skills needed
Experience with the Hypervisor of your choice, and preferably its paravirtualization interface
Development in C and under Windows

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.

Note
This project idea is a stub. Please talk to a mentor for additional information and references.

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.
Difficulty Note
This is a formidable task. Please get advice from a mentor regarding the recommended skill level and possible reductions in scope to ensure your project proposal is realistic.

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
Difficulty Note
This is a formidable task. Please get advice from a mentor regarding the recommended skill level and possible reductions in scope to ensure your project proposal is realistic.

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
Some early work on MMC
Skills needed
Basic Windows development experience.
Knowledge of COM.

Debugging Improvements

PDB support for dbghelp

Making it possible for our dbghelp read pdb files would improve our ability to debug ReactOS directly in user mode with tools like WinDbg, Process Explorer and more. We could also be able to have small tools for reporting crashes and translating addresses automatically.

Cross-platform KD Debugger Implementation

Microsoft's kd.exe and its GUI counterpart WinDbg allow kernel debugging Windows (and ReactOS) machines. Unfortunately these tools are Windows-only and proprietary.

In order to broadly support the more advanced KD debugging protocol instead of the text-based KDBG we use in GCC builds, we need cross-platform versions of these tools.

Benefits
Support for debugging on additional hardware platforms
Improved debugging speed, easier and more reliable setups
References
ReactOS wiki: KD
Radare2 ticket for KD support (links to much existing work and documentation)
Skills needed
Software Development in C/C++
Kernel Debugging experience
Difficulty Note
This is a formidable task. Please get advice from a mentor regarding the recommended skill level and possible reductions in scope to ensure your project proposal is realistic.

Support for Additional KD Transports

ReactOS debugging is currently most effective when using a serial port. Many real hardware systems no longer have serial ports, leaving on-screen debugging as the only viable alternative.

Windows supports debugging via the KD protocol using transport mediums other than serial lines: 1394, USB3, ethernet, and the undocumented KDVM protocol supported by Hyper-V and other Hypervisors. ReactOS should be made compatible with these additional transport providers, and open source versions of these providers should be created.

Benefits
Support for debugging on additional hardware platforms
Improved debugging speed, easier and more reliable setups
References
MSDN: 1394 Debugging
MSDN: Network Debugging
MSDN: USB3 Debugging
OSR: KDNET Debugging
Existing KDCOM transport dll
Skills needed
Software Development in C and under Windows
Kernel Development and Debugging experience

Crash Dump Support

When Windows crashes, it writes a memory dump file that can be used for analyzing the crash later. This allows detailed analysis of the problem even if kernel debugging is not set up, and also makes it possible for an expert to investigate on their own computer after the fact.

Benefits
Detailed information about crashes without requiring the user to perform kernel debugging
Possibility of automatic crash reporting
References
Blog post: Understanding Crash Dump Files
Exploring the Microsoft Windows crash dump stack
MSDN: Dump File Format (Windows CE)
Blog post: DMP file structure
Skills needed
Software Development in C and under Windows
Kernel Development and Debugging experience
Difficulty Note
This is a formidable task. Please get advice from a mentor regarding the recommended skill level and possible reductions in scope to ensure your project proposal is realistic.

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.
Difficulty Note
This is a formidable task. Please get advice from a mentor regarding the recommended skill level and possible reductions in scope to ensure your project proposal is realistic.

User mode printer driver support

One of the last parts of the printer stack that is missing from printing support is support for user mode printer drivers (renderers). The scope of this project is to implement support for user mode printer drivers in the window manager (win32k).

Note
This project idea is a stub. Please talk to a mentor for additional information and references.

Multi-Session Support

Supporting multiple sessions is a prerequisite for Terminal Services.

Note
This project idea is a stub. Please talk to a mentor for additional information and references.