Monday, May 21, 2007

Seven Days to GSoC start: looking forward and looking back

Next monday will mark the start of the Google Summer of Code 2007: from that day the students will officially start working on their projects (and getting paid, too). But since there's nothing forbidding them to start working earlier, I've just sent our five students an email asking whether they've done anything during this interim period and, in case, what they've done.

While we wait for them to reply, I'd like to look back for a moment to the selection process. Using an agile/XP term, we could call this a little retrospective.

So, what went well with our selection process? First of all, the fact that we had so many student proposal, and most of them came from students sincerely interested in working on/with Squeak, and not just in it for the money. The fact that we had to coordinate with many other GSoC projects in order to select our 5 students is another proff of the level of the students who applied for a Squeak project.
Another thing that I'd like to remark is the level of involvement of our mentors. They all took their job seriously, throughly examining and evaluating all the proposals. Kudos to them!

What could be improved? Personally, I felt that there was a little "creeping" in the mentor and proposal lists. We started with ~10 mentors and 12 proposals on our list, we ended up with 14 mentors and 18 proposals. Freezing the two lists a little earlier can make coordination a little easier.
I'd also like to have more people on the Squeak IRC channel during the whole proposal submission period. This way people coming into #squeak to ask for info will have more opportunities for a correct answer.

What could we experiment with? In the past weeks I was toying with the idea of a Squeak bounties system. If we'd manage to put this or a similar system in place during the autumn, we could also use it for gathering proposals for next year's Summer of Code.
Also, for next year's Summer of Code it would be worth considering positioning Squeak as an umbrella project, managing proposals involving the main Squeak system, Seaside, Squeakland, Sophie, Croquet etc.

These are some of the points I wanted to make. Do you have any comments or any more points to add to the discussion? if so, then the comment form is waiting you!

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