Whew…Another Summer of Code done with. New experiences, Lessons learnt, a lot of code became mainstream. Overall, an excellent program. So, here are my experiences for this years program:
1.) We participated with ownCloud, Zorp and MATE desktop. I personally think participating with other organizations is a good think and fosters collaborations between the open source communities. It is something we expect to continue in future versions of the program.
2.) As opposed to previous years, all our students managed to complete the program successfully. Their work was praised by the community as a whole. A big Thank You to all the students for their awesome work, and specially to the mentors who keep the wheels rolling.
3.) Me and Manu tried to address the shortcomings of the previous year. We decided on two ‘rules’ for selecting students
– All students must be vouched by a professor (to try and solve the problem of disappearing students).
– All students must send weekly update mails to the opensuse-project mailing list.
The first proposal was met by stiff opposition by some mentors. We even discussed this on the gsoc-mentors mailing list. While well intentioned, I admit that we did not expect many things. We assumed it would be as easy to get a vouch from a professor in Europe and the US as it is to get in India We realised much later that professors don’t have the level of interaction with the students as they do here in India. We scrapped the rule. The original problem is still not solved, and though we have not been hit by it this year, we are open to suggestions on how we can address this problem.
About the weekly mails on the mailing list, I feel it was a good decision. While students may feel that it is excessive ‘red tape’ and totally unnecessary (blogs and project specific ML’s serve well enough), it does help us in the off chance that something goes wrong. We had some experiences in the last edition and felt that it was better to enforce it as a rule. Additionally, it gives community members to provide feedback and improves the visibility of the student’s work.
4.) A lot of work done for openSUSE. Projects such as TSP (Travel Support Program), OSEM (Open Source Event Manager) benefited a lot from the program.
5.) This year, Google is celebrating its 10th anniversary of the program, and having a reunion meet for the same next month. Dominik Bamberger and Artem Chernikov are going to represent openSUSE at the summit.
6.) Mentoring is a tough job and it takes a lot of the mentors time. Henne pointed out that the program is not so rewarding to a mentor, and that we could incentivize mentoring. A lot of ideas were bounced around and we hope to work on them as well.
Lastly, I will be speaking about the Google Summer of Code, and our own experiences at next month’s openSUSE Asia Summit (Yay!). So for this year, over and out 🙂