UPDATE: we now have an initial draft of the idea list, see http://code.google.com/p/libgdx/wiki/GoogleSummerOfCode2013
We are thinking about taking part in this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC) and would like to gauge interest before we start putting together the necessary material for our application. I try to explain what it’s about in the following sections.
What is Google Summer of Code?
Google sponsors students around the globe to work on an existing, established open-source project for three full months. The stipend is USD 5.000, which should pay for plenty of ramen. Throughout the summer, students are then supervised and evaluated by mentors.
Mentors are usually (but not necessarily) contributors to one of the OSS projects that take part in GSoC. Mentors are responsible for keeping track of a students progress, give advice and guidance, and evaluate the students performance. A student may fail, in which case she will not receive the stipend.
What are the goals for Students?
For students, the goal is to take part in OSS developments, breath in the smell of a project’s community and culture, improve ones programming skills and field expertise and maybe even become a permanent member of that OSS project. On top of that, students get highly personal supervision by mentors, they can put their GSoC participation on the CV (GSC is a Google recruiting program to some degree) and maybe make the world a tiny bit better by contributing to OSS.
What are the goals for OSS projects/organizations?
For OSS organizations, GSoC can help attract new talent, either by retaining students they workd with over the summer, or by increasing visbility due to the participation, which may attract new contributors as well. Additionally, mentors have a chance to nurture young talent.
Why do we want to participate?
While we have a quite productive and diverse development team, fresh blood never hurts. Increasing visibility is also something that may benefit us, and ultimately bring in new contributors. I’d personally be thrilled to be a mentor, and i guess there’s a few other folks on the team that would enjoy that as well.
Besides those selfish reasons, i believe that we can come up with a rather exciting list of things students could work on. GSoC would allow us to experiment with ideas which we’d normally not follow given our limited (spare-)time budgets. I also think that our software is a rather interesting piece to work on for a student: it’s polyglot, multi-platform, worked on by a distributed and global team, touches a wide range of fields, and has a good sized code base. Many people start programming and a degree in CS due to wanting to make games, libgdx is a natural fit. The feeling of contributing to something that powers thousands of games and applications that are played by millions of people is also quite a special experience.
What do we as a community need to do?
Before anything happens, we want to know if GSoC participation is actually of interest to your community. If it turns out that interest is low, i’d spent my time on other things. Please leave a comment below, or take part in this thread.
Should we decide to take part, we as an OSS project would have to do the following things:
- Gather potential ideas from which a student could pick and develop a full-blown proposal from for her application. These ideas should be short in their description, and specify the goals, needed skill level and potential mentors. Ideas should not be items for our issue tracker! Be creative! Post your ideas in this thread. For an example of how such an idea list could look like, check KDE’s list of ideas for GSoC 2012
- The core contributors should chim in on whether they want to be a mentor. I’ll also need someone who’s willing to be the secondary project administrator should i become ill or otherwise unavailable.
- Once we have gathered enough ideas, we’ll put them into a nicer form, formulate our application text, and apply for participation as a mentoring organization. I’ll take over the ground work here but would love to get feedback from everyone.
- We should also create an application template that students can use to apply for our project. See Ogre3D’s template as an example. The template allows us to get basic info on the student and her motivation, which allows us to better evaluate their fitness.
If we get accepted as an organization, we’ll enter phase two, in which we’ll be responsible for evaluating and ranking student applications for our project. Google will then assign student slots for us, the top ranked student application will fill those and will be paired with a mentor. More information on how we organize that will be available if we actually get accepted.
Our first deadline is the 29th of March. We need to submit our application until that date, including the idea list among other things. Further deadlines are only relevant should be get accepted. For a full list of events, see the GSoc Timeline.
General information can be found at http://www.google-melange.com/gsoc/homepage/google/gsoc2013. For mentors, a handbook is available, that gives some insight into a mentor’s work. If you want to get a full overview of what GSoC is and how it works, consult the extensive FAQ