Today’s interview is with Ankur Sethi, an IT student from New Delhi who had submitted an application to add full text search and indexing functionality to Haiku. Unfortunately, due to limited resources (and a limit on the overall number of students accepted to GSoC this year), the Haiku project was not able to accept most of the applications they received – including Ankur’s.
Read on for the interview.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m Ankur Sethi, an IT student and Apple fanboy from New Delhi, India.
I was infected by the programming bug when I was 13, and I’ve been
glued to my chair ever since. I also love reading and, if I’m
inexplicably hit by a wave of inspiration, blogging.
How did you hear about GSoC?
I first heard about GSoC on Slashdot.
What convinced you that Haiku is a project worth working on?
What first made Haiku attractive to me was its responsiveness and the
fact that it used very little memory. A short look at the Wikipedia
article on the BeOS convinced me that Haiku deserved a deeper look.
Over the past few months, I have also found that the community around
the BeOS and its descendants is very tightly knit. This, in my
opinion, is a big plus for Haiku. I see fun times ahead for the Be
Do you have any experience with BeOS or Zeta?
No. I was very young when the BeOS saga took place. In fact, my family
didn’t even own a computer at that time.
What did you apply to work on, why did that specifically interest
I wanted to build a full text search and indexing tool for Haiku
(something like Mac OS X’s spotlight). Spotlight on OS X has doubled
my productivity. I was hoping to achieve something similar on Haiku,
but with a few extra features I find missing from Spotlight.
Is there anything Haiku (as an organization, website, community,
individuals, any facet of Haiku) could’ve done differently to help you
as an applying student? Was anything overly complicated or
The Haiku team did a great job of personally interacting with each
participant and making them feel welcome. I don’t have any complaints.
Do you have any suggestions or constructive criticism for the
people involved with Haiku’s participation in GSoC?
I felt that Haiku’s selection process was well thought out, thorough
and flawlessly executed. Although the entire Haiku team was very
enthusiastic about GSoC, I think Matt and Stephan both deserve a
special thank you. Thank you guys :)
Besides Haiku, did you apply to any of the other orgs involved with
GSoC? If so which ones?
Haiku was the only organization I applied to. Since my primary
interest these days is Cocoa, I wanted to work with either GNUStep or
a native Cocoa project. Unfortunately, there were no OS X specific
projects this year.
Would you be interested in a possible Haiku Code Drive?
That depends largely on my schedule. Who knows what college might
throw at me in the future?
What influenced your decision to become a programmer? What is/are
your language(s) of choice?
When I was 13, someone told me I could write computer games using C.
You can probably guess the rest :)
Right now, I mostly write Python and Objective-C. I also know C and
C++, but I rarely use them outside of college. My favorite language
would be Python, although I’m starting to like Objective-C as I spend
more time with it.
Do you have any suggestions for budding programmers reading this that
you care to share? Words of advice, wisdom or just plain feedback that
you deem important to pass on?
(1) Programming is fun but it’s not easy, especially when you’re just
starting out. That doesn’t mean you just give up. If you find a
problem too large or overwhelming, just try to break it down into
smaller bits. This is something I wish I had been told when I was a
(2) No matter how many baths you take, that segfault isn’t going to
fix itself. This is also something I wish I had been told when I was
just starting out.
I find this quote by Randy Pausch very helpful when I’m feeling
overwhelmed by a problem: “The brick walls are not there to keep us
out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly
we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who
don’t want it badly enough.”
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