Here we go!
After all the effort I’ve put into this dream, now I am proud and at the same time very happy to say that my proposal KStars on Windows has been accepted for Google Summer of Code 2016. This means I will spend my summer doing what I really like to do: involve into a wonderful project, find clever solutions, write code and not at least, meet great people and develop myself as a future software engineer. Yes, GSoC was one of my biggest dreams ever and I really gave my best during all these five months in that I’ve been involved into KStars project and community.
KStars is a high quality planetarium program and at the same time a very powerful astronomy tool provided by the KDE Community. It is a free open-source software able to provide an accurate graphical representation of the night sky, from any location on Earth, at any date and time. The display is very flexible so it can be easily panned and zoomed with the mouse. Another useful feature is that the user can without problems identify objects, and track their motion across the sky. KStars is highly configurable, user can control what objects are displayed as well as what colors are used.
My first encounter with KStars was several months ago as I was browsing the Google Summer of Code organization lists and it caught my eye, especially because I am passionate about mathematics and physics, so I immediately begun to document myself about KStars project. While reading about it, my interest grew more and more and I was fascinated by its range of interesting tools, such as:
• „Altitude vs. Time” is a tool that can plot in a very intuitive way the altitude of a selected object as a function of time, for any date and location on Earth.
• The “What’s Up Tonight?” (WUT) tool displays a list of objects that will be visible at night from any location, on any date.
After this initial impression I started contributing to KStars, mostly on „Altitude vs. Time” tool. This proved to be a very interesting and pleasant activity especially with the excellent support of the community.
Even though KStars is one of the best planetarium software, it currently has a major drawback: it lacks a fully working Windows version. The actual Windows installing process of KStars is slightly troublesome, especially for a user with no programming background. Moreover, most of desktop users are running Windows operating system versions on their machines, while Linux family of operating systems is mainly used for developing software projects and might be unfamiliar and confusing for a common user.
Therefore, developing a Windows version of KStars is crucial in the further development of KStars as it is one of the main astronomy software out there. It would fill a gap in KStars’s reliability and would certainly make KStars more popular and appealing to everyone. Thus, my goal is to develop a single KStars executable used to install KStars and any prerequisite libraries needed by KDE5/Qt5.
I’m pretty sure this journey will be amazing and full of challenges. I will post here my latest updates regarding KStars on Windows project.