GSoC 2011: flashrom part 4 – recap

Final evaluation deadline for this year’s GSoC is in 2 weeks. Most of what i have written in my midterm evaluation is still valid.

We have formulated and sent an email to various Intel representatives in the hope to get at least a few hints regarding ME unlocking (and descriptor semantics). I had the idea to send them a mail earlier, but thought it is an ludicrous attempt from all i have gathered regarding Intel’s cooperation with coreboot. Carl-Daniel suggested giving it a go anyway and it provided me a good excuse to not work on REing until we get an answer. Of course we have not received any reply to date :(

So i think it is quite clear that my main GSoC project will fail to be delivered on time. But i won’t vanish after GSoC and i still plan to implement ME unlocking eventually.

What’s up besides the GSoC project?

The integration of my patches still lacks reviewing power. Everyone but Carl-Daniel seems to be not much interested in my work and he has not the time to look at everything i produce. Right now flashrom has about 150 patches requiring some action to merge them. Thereof are 41 from me (TBH there is a number of patches that are just rebased and improved a little bit) and 37 from Carl-Daniel. meh.

With the help of Florian ‘florz’ Zumbiehl i was also able to find, fix and report a bug in dmidecode which has direct influence on flashrom. Due to an error in decoding the chassis type in dmidecode, flashrom falsely declares some boards to be mobile devices, which makes it shout a big warning at the user unnecessarily.

I’ve been also working on rebasing, improving and reviewing (very) old patches of others whose discussions just stopped (for example when contributors did not send improvements). My hope is that this will help us shorting the long patch queue, but i doubt that it will suffice ;)

To conclude (or begin) my recap of my GSoC involvement this year, i’d like to first thank google for doing this. This sounds quite pathetic, especially if one knows me better. But it really got me involved in FOSS development with the intensity i wished for (by providing a monetary motivation to get really started). There was some involvement in the past (bug reports and fixes etc.), but flashrom was apparently a nice target to get more involved and learn a lot, not so much about REing and technical details (as i expected and hoped in the beginning), but regarding project management in FOSS (my own proposal, but also flashrom and its patch queue/processing and “upper management’s” free time constraints), interacting with contributers and users, and mastering git (the latter is quite ironical because flashrom does not use it (yet)). It’s a bit sad, that flashrom does not have more contributers (especially reviewers). This is obviously a problem and it might be the time to discuss the development process as a whole. The question is with whom should i discuss this if no one is there :)

Although my formal project will not be finished on time, i think i have served the flashrom project well and from the feedback i received so far, Carl-Daniel is also happy with my work. So i think i can declare it as successful after all and i would like to thank everyone involved (so far).

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