What this page is about

This page is dedicated to students wanting to contribute to Ubuntu in terms of a thesis or a project. First of all: every bit of help is appreciated. So if you plan to enhance current features or do something completely new, your work will actually make a change and be accepted by loads of existing users. This is what "research in general" should be about!

How you benefit:

  • you'll work with a bunch of really cool people,
  • your work is entirely appreciated and not the 24527nd implementation of some dumb topic,
  • you learn something new: never used Python before? never played around with arch? always wanted to contribute? Here you go!
  • you show initiative and deliver an innovative project,
  • you do something which *really* serves a particular purpose.
  • you need a easy-to-use workstation environment for scientific computing.

How Ubuntu/Debian/Linux/theOpenSourceWorld benefits:

  • you can make the change! Smile :-)

What we need on this page

Ideas! If you have an ingenious idea, how someone could serve a purpose in devoting his/her time in a well-defined environment, just propose it here or you may have a look at either

to get a brief idea.

If you already did a cool project involving Ubuntu and want to tell how it all went, just add a description and a link on the SuccessStories wiki page.

Course of action

  • If you should find a cool idea you'd like to research on, talk to people (on IRC, on the mailing lists), tell them what your idea is all about.
  • If they like it, find a professor or teacher, who likes the idea too.
  • Just start working. You'll surely find people who will help you, if you're stuck in the design or encounter problems.
  • Receive good marks! Smile :-)

A brief example

Here's how I (DanielHolbach) did it: this is no success story yet, because I have until March/April 2005 to finish my thesis. It also isn't Ubuntu-specific, but may serve as an example nonetheless.

I always wanted to have a way of storing my user preferences on a serverwithout copying huge amounts of config files or copying registry files around. So i sat a night in front of a blank piece of paper and thought about the design. I had also never used C++ before, so I thought: "Well, see a professor about it and you'll see." At my "University of Applied Sciences" you have to do a project (3-6 months) and a diploma thesis (6 months). So I split the work up into two parts: a server and a library. A week later, I talked to a professor (doing Databases and Information Systems) and he was impressed, so I started working on the server part ( and received an 1.7 (a 90% grade) for the project. Now I'm working on the library part and a proof-of-concept client ( and am eager to know, what mark I'll get for the diploma thesis.

1. idea

What academic users of ubuntu (and desperately need is a working and well-integrated tool to manage bibliographic references! The biblio-subproject of has announced that nothing of relevance will be available before version 3.0. This might take years and we are losing valuable time because a nice python add-on has been developed by Pierre Martineau ( As you can see in the forums (, the installation is still a big challenge for most of the users as there is a python version collision. That means, some hacks have to be done to get it running.

Now, a helpful soul of Debian (whose name I could not find right now) created a package recently, which made it into "unstable" AFAIK. Although this is a very good step, the installation is not yet smooth enough.

Finally, my idea is two-fold: 1) get "bibus" integrated into the Dapper release and work out the python version hell for that people can start using this crucial add-on to academic use. 2) Find somebody to help working on "bibus". AFAIK it is mainly (only?) Pierre working on it right now. I think it could be a perfect task for a thesis as it is reasonably sized but not too large and for sure not trivial. 3) The bibliographic crew put together all kinds of documents (specifications, comparisons of different bib-managers etc.). Even some small proof-of-concept code is around... It is all there. They simply lack developers.

Alright, that would be the cool thing to have for ubuntu 6.10 Smile :-)

AcademicInvolvement (last edited 2008-08-06 16:33:07 by localhost)