Project ideas

Please read our philosophy for background information.


We intend that each student will be the project leader of his/her particular project and the only individual with commit privilege for the repository.

There will be one mentor and one backup mentor per project. In addition, the community will act as a rigid external reviewer of the student’s progress, as well as of the mentor’s.

General ideas

Our project ideas in general intend to focus on our innovative development environment, including graphical user interfaces and development tools.

Concrete ideas

The listed ideas generally require good knowledge of C and experience with Unix-like operating systems. The difficulty ranges from medium to high. An academic background in computer science is desirable but not essential.

Write ld wrapper or replacement for static linking

The GNU autotools such as automake and autoconf are completely unusable in non-chroot'ed cross-compile environments and often completely fail to produce statically linked libraries or executables. Also they are extremely slow and bloated.

The stali build system is not using autotools for good reason, however many Unix/Linux open source packages do. To create statically linked libraries out of the ld arguments we need an ld wrapper or re-implementation that creates static libraries or executables. This would enable us to build static libraries and executables out of any automake generated makefiles without the need to write make replacements or patching the build system of a particular package.

The ld wrapper needs to be extended to also link against uclibc first and if that fails to fallback to glibc, in order to produce smaller executables in the general case.

Requirements: Good C/Unix knowledge is essential, knowledge about linking/linker internals are desirable..


Write the most useful unix userland commands in the new Go language created by Google to form a robust base for future Unix-like userlands that do not suffer from the vulnerabilities that are common in C or C++ code. The minimum of commands that need to be implemented in Go are those found in 9base, with the exception of rc and awk which could be separated into a second project for another student.

Having goblin would allow to migrate decent web frameworks like werc on a proper foundation.

Requirements: Good C/Unix and Go knowledge is essential.

Write a decent bug and issue tracking system

We a need a decent ticket management system, as this is a common task in today’s daily activity in business and private time management. This task includes the design and implementation of a suckless system that solves the problems of TTS (Trouble Ticket System), ARS (Action Request System) and IRS (Incident Response System) all together. It also must be usable as a bug tracking system.

Requirements: Good C/Shell/web technology/HTML knowledge would be desirable, knowledge of bug tracking and issue tracking in practice is essential.

Write a decent mailing list Web archive system

All web archive systems such as hypermail, pipermail, etc. have plenty drawbacks and are quite out-dated. This task requires to write a completely new web mailing list archiving tool that follows the thread view concepts found in the mutt MUA and which is designed with low footprint and efficiency in mind.

We expect this tool as a stand-alone Unix tool written in C or shell. To get started you could use Dovecot to produce a sanitized structure:

printf "1 select inbox\n2 thread references us-ascii all\n3 fetch 1:*
envelope\n4 logout\n" |
/usr/local/libexec/dovecot/imap  2>/dev/null

Requirements: Good C/Shell/HTML knowledge would be desirable.

Yet another less sucking editor

Although vi(m) does its job, it has become a monster over the years. We believe there is a gap between ed, sam, acme and vim which must be filled with a completely new, less-sucking editor.

It has been suggested that “…a curses interface for the sam protocol would be interesting and perhaps even useful…”

Requirements: Good C knowledge and knowledge of I/O APIs is essential.

Improve sltar

sltar is a simplified tar implementation which lacks gzip and bzip2 integration. The task requires extending sltar with support for these compression applications and writing a test suite for it.

Requirements: Good C knowledge would be desirable.

Write cookie handler for surf

The biggest disadvantage of surf is sloppy cookie handling. libwebkit and libsoup (which are used for HTTP) were never designed to run in multiple processes simultaneously.

This task requires writing a new cookie handler in surf which:

Requirements: Good knowledge of C and POSIX file locking. Basic knowledge of GTK and its other evil friends.