Guide for Prospective GSoC Contributors

Before you apply

    • Proposals should extend one of affiliated toolkits, not start a new project.
    • If you want to apply with your own idea, it’s best to contact the OBF subproject you’re interested in well before the application deadline, so we can work with you to find a mentor and solidify your project idea and application.
    • Ask us questions on the subproject mailing lists about the project idea you have in mind.
    • Write a project proposal draft, include a project plan (see below), and send it to a project mailing list for comments before submitting it.

Again, GSoC contributors are strongly encouraged to contact us as early as possible. Frequent and early communication is extremely valuable for putting together successful projects.

When you apply

When applying, (aside from the information requested by Google) please provide the following in your application material.

  1. Your complete contact information, including full name, physical address, preferred email address, and telephone number, plus other pertinent contact information such as IRC handles, etc.
  2. Why you are interested in the project you are proposing and are well-suited to undertake it.
  3. A summary of your programming experience and skills.
  4. Programs or projects you have previously authored or contributed to, in particular those available as open-source, including, if applicable, any past Summer of Code involvement.
  5. A project plan for the project you are proposing, even if your proposed project is directly based on one of the proposed project ideas for member projects.
    • A project plan in principle divides up the whole project into a series of manageable milestones and time-lines that, when all accomplished, logically lead to the end goal(s) of the project. Put in another way, a project plan explains what you expect you will need to be doing, and what you expect you need to have accomplished, at which time, so that at the end you reach the goals of the project.
    • Do not take this part lightly. A compelling plan takes a significant amount of work. Empirically, applications with no or a hastily composed project plan have not been competitive, and a more thorough project plan can easily make an applicant out compete another with more advanced skills.
    • A good plan will require you to thoroughly think about the project itself and how one might want to go about the work.
    • We don’t expect you to have all the experience, background, and knowledge to come up with the final, real work plan on your own at the time you apply. We do expect your plan to demonstrate, however, that you have made the effort and thoroughly dissected the goals into tasks and successive accomplishments that make sense.
    • We strongly recommend that you bounce your proposed project and your project plan draft off of us, using either the pertinent developers mailing list or the IRC channel(s). Through the project plan exercise you will inevitably discover that you are missing a lot of the pieces – we are there to help you fill those in as best as we can.
  6. Any obligations, vacations, or plans for the summer that may require scheduling during the GSoC work period.
    • We expect the your GSoC project to be your primary focus over the summer. It should not be regarded as a part-time occupation.
    • If you feel that you can manage other work obligations concurrently with your Summer of Code project, make your case and support it with evidence.
    • Be honest and open. If it turns out later that you weren’t clear about other obligations, at best (i.e., if your accomplishment record at that point is spotless) our trust in you will be severely degraded. Also, if you are accepted, discuss with your GSoC mentor before taking on additional obligations.
    • One of the most common reasons for GSoC contributors to struggle or fail is being overcommitted Do not set yourself up for failure! GSoC summers should be fun and rewarding!