The DOs and DON’Ts of Google Summer of Code: Student Edition

I’d like to point any potential Google Summer of Code applicants to a post on DOs and DON’Ts for students over on the Google Open Source blog that I wrote with Lydia Pintscher and Kevin Smith. They’re fellow admins from two other long-time GSoC participants, KDE and the XMPP Standards Foundation. Here’s a quick summary of the points; you’ll have to read the original post for details:

Be on your best behavior. Make a bad first impression: SMS speech, extremely poor English, rudeness/hostility, etc.
Read all the documentation, so you submit a useful application. Submit a useless application.
Be transparent about other commitments. Disappear.
Make Google Summer of Code your top priority. Hold another major commitment.
Be realistic about your skills. Over- or under-rate your abilities.
Commit and publicize your code frequently. Make last-minute (or later) code drops.
Submit code that’s ready to integrate. Finish the summer with code that’s “almost ready” but will take forever to ship.
Complete your project design before writing a line of code. Start coding before finalizing design.
Use your resources wisely. Refuse to ask for help.
Remember that you’re part of a community. Consider it a solo project, like it often is in college.

Gentoo & X.Org in the Google Summer of Code!

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is an amazing program for college students that enables them to spend their summers working with open-source projects. Google chips in the money, and FOSS projects provide the mentorship and expertise. In the end, we benefit by gaining both new code and (more importantly) new developers.

I’m very excited this year because both Gentoo and X.Org were accepted for their 6th years in GSoC! Last year, Gentoo had 19 students working on diverse projects including webapps, package management, NetworkManager, the Dracut initrd framework, and more. X.Org, a more specialized project, had 5 students working on various aspects of open-source graphics.

If you’re a college student, I’d like to encourage you to apply for GSoC, whether it’s to Gentoo, X.Org, or another project altogether. It’s great real-world experience where you can prove your expertise to future employers (since the code is freely available), and you can become the world’s expert in your topic. The money doesn’t hurt, either.

To get more info, go to the Gentoo or X.Org GSoC homepages and check out the project ideas. If none of them strike your fancy, propose your own! We love original ideas, but please discuss them with us first to ensure they’ll be realistic and high-priority.