Friday, May 22, 2009

Idea: MFF UK almanac

A couple of years ago, I had a great idea of putting together the greatest software created at my alma mater - Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague (MFF UK) - and releasing it on a CD in the form of an almanac. At that time, the idea was presented to the academic senate by my complice Martin Decky where it received some positive feedback. Unfortunately, the idea died shortly after that due to the lack of further momentum and support.

Nevertheless, it still seems to me worth doing even on a longer than yearly basis. So what is the general characteristics of projects created at MFF UK that I have on my mind?

Most of them would be fruits of a subject called Software project. During my university years, it used to be a multi-semester enterprise, which usually spanned several years and involved from 4 to 7 students. Projects like Lestes (C++ compiler), HelenOS (operating system) and Ultimate Racer (car racing game) would be good examples. Most of these projects were abandoned by their authors shortly after they had received credits for the subject, and were never finished.

Another group of projects are random cool projects that I know of. From the older ones, these are the ECCE C compiler and the T3 operating system and its distributed successor T4, all produced by the Ulita group. Nowadays, I am afraid, you can find only technical papers about these systems. From the new ones it is Mikulas Patocka's SPAD operating system and its file system SpadFS.

Thanks to my personal bias, the almanac would be mostly composed of operating systems and compilers (already five in total), but I would leave some space for other projects such as the Links web browser, the Ronja datalink or the AA-lib graphics library. Of course, I don't know all the cool MFF UK projects out there, so if you have a tip, feel free to post it to the comments.