Done and keep going!

It’s amazing that I have passed the final evaluation of the Google Summer of Code 2011 and I feels that it’s necessary for me to write someting for it. Looking back to the passed 3 months, I have learned a lot through joining this activity. Although this term ended, I think it’s still a long way for me to go to know more about the opensource and make contributions to it. In the following part, I want to write some tips which I summarize in this summer, possibly useful to future students, and also want to write something about what have gained from this term, which may help me do better and go further.

Google.Inc has offered a very good chance for students to join the opensource in a deep way, and the very most exciting part is the 5000$ money to motivate students to do best. What’s more, in this term, we can also make friends. So I think we can’t find a reason for us not to try our best to join this activity, however, not everyone applied will be accepted by Google, which means there are still some requirements for us. Now as a student finally experienced the whole process of GSOC, I think the following tips may be helpful to future students to be more succesful in the first step.

Tip1: Retrieve

Opensource is a big world, and there are many opensource groups/organizations joined the GSOC, so at a very beginning time, you should retrieve the projects which you may be familiared with or interested in. It’s difficult for one to sucessfully complete the project which he even doesn’t know the developing language it uses, so the candidate projects that you want to take as your GSOC projects should be among your familiar fields at some extent. If there some projects that you are very very interested in but you didn’t have much basic background knowledge of it, then you should prepare yourself for a long time before you decide to apply for it. All we have and should do is to fill the gap between the organizations and our students to let them know that we maybe the qualified candidate to do their projects well when communicating in future applying process.

Tip2: Concentrate

Google allows us to submit more than 10 proposals(and this number is seemingly greater and greater through years) to apply for a student ticket. It seems that we have a very big chance to be accepted because we can submit ‘many’ proposals – even though one is refused, another may be accepted. But I do not think so – First it may take a very long time to write a good proposal, and if you write more, then much more time will be spent. Second, we need to discuss the ideas among the corresponding organization group, thus we can’t guarantee we pay enough attention to all these projects or ideas. There is never not a project which has not been carefully discussed that will be accepted. The more is not always the best.

We can focus on only one project and prepare ourselves carefully for it, for example, try to know what this project does, what its belonging organization does, what a development process and tools it adopts, etc. It can help us better communicate with the developers or the idea owner, and we can understand the idea better from this communication, which in return help us get higher possiblity to be accepted. Especially, the possible mentor will know if you truly want to take this project and are qualified one or not from communicating. For me, in this summer, I just applied for the idea “fulfil the setuptools features for packaging” and tried to communicate with the Eric(my current mentor) frequently, and before that, I was not that familiar with distutils, especially the new packaging module, which with more and more communicating and reading corresponding documents, I understand the idea better and better, and can communicate with Eric more effectively with less misundertanding. You know, at last, I was accepted.

So, in my opinion, rather than focusing on more project ideas, just concentrate only one(or no more than two) ideas, and prepare carefully yourself for it, then you can get a better result.

(To be continue……)

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