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Finally, GSoC 2013 comes to an end. Being an admin for openSUSE was an enriching experience, and I learnt a lot in the process. I realized that it takes as much effort to manage a program in the community as it takes to participate in one. With a few hiccups along the way, I can safely say that GSoC 2013 was a success for openSUSE. In this post, I am highlighting the work done along the way for openSUSE this summer, and my own experiences.

Work Done over the Summer:

Overall, We had 12 selections from the openSUSE umbrella, which comprised of openSUSE, Balabit (syslog-ng), Hedgewars and ownCloud. 6 projects were for openSUSE and 2 each for the other organizations. Towards the end, we had 10 successful projects.

The projects completed over the summer were:

  • OBS Discussion System by Shayon Mukherjee
  • Automatic Resizing of LVM Volumes by Akif Khan
  • OSEM by Stella Rouzi
  • AppArmor Profiling Tools by Kshitij Gupta
  • git-review by Xystushi
  • User Management Application for ownCloud by Raghu Nayyar
  • Music App for ownCloud by Morris Jobke
  • Syslog-ng MySQL Destination by Gyula Petrovics
  • Syslog-ng Redis Destination by Tihamér Petrovics
  • Hedgewars Mission Campaign by Periklis Natansis

My Experiences:

  1. It took us a long time to get started for GSoC this year. In the early months, me and Manu were facing difficulties in trying to get mentors to add projects, perhaps due to previous experiences. An issue with GSoC over the years has been that students don’t stick around in their respective communities. Mentors invest a lot of time in the students, and the effort is *wasted*, when the student doesn’t stick around. This got us into a debate whether we should give preference to existing contributors, or give potentially new contributors a chance. For this year, we had a good mixture of new and existing contributors, which bodes well for openSUSE as a whole.
  2. We got very few slots this time. With the number of proposals we got, and the sheer number of projects on our ideas pages, we expected around 16-17 slots, which could accommodate most of the openSUSE projects, and also our coparticipating orgs. Getting 12 slots was a bit of a shock for us, because we had a good number of projects. Some of the mentors were understandably upset, that their project was overlooked, as we had 6 projects for openSUSE, and 2 each for the other orgs. This was something beyond our control, but it would helped if we would have got a few more slots.
  3. We were hit this time by the problem of Disappearing students. One of the students had got accepted, only to disappear for long periods of time. Ultimately, the project failed. The worst part was that the student had prior contributions, and the mentors had verified them. This calls for stricter rules to select students, and verify their credibility.
  4. Health of students proved to be the stumbling block for projects. One of our students had severe issues with health till the midterm. His mentor chose to pass the student in the midterm, but valuable time was lost. Even with a lot of effort, there was not enough output for the mentor to pass the student. Hats off to the student for still staying motivated to contribute to openSUSE. In another case, the student fell sick after the midterm, and due to that, all the project goals could not be completed, though the project is in good shape to be completed.
  5. At the openSUSE Conference, me and Manu had discussions with the community, mentors about the program. We realised that the potential of GSoC could be realised by having worthwhile contributions, and having the contributors stick (which is what the program is about). Our efforts in the coming years would be based on that, and hopefully, we wont face many problems
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