GF classifieds: Google Summer of Code edition

Student applications for Google Summer of Code are opening March 29.

Google Summer of Code — yes, bad name for anyone in the southern hemisphere, but you are allowed to apply! — is a project sponsoring Open Source development by students (largely university students, students who won’t be 18 by April 26 can’t apply) over the northern summer period. Google pays a stipend for students to work on a contribution to a project over summer. Open Source projects are selected as mentoring organisations, students apply by submitting a project proposal to a project, and some of those proposals are accepted. Applications close April 9.

So I thought I’d do a post in the spirit of Skud’s GF classifieds. If you are a mentor or part of a mentoring organisation for Google SoC and you’d like to bring your project to the attention of readers here, please post a description in comments at any time before April 9. The more you can say the better:

  • Do you have link to a list of ideas for projects?
  • Can applicants make contact with you or your mentors in order to discuss their application before submitting?
  • Are previous years’ students available to discuss their experiences?
  • What kind of skills are you looking for?

Of course, if your project has made a commitment to diversity in some way, then feel free to tell us about that.

Students who are interested in applying: this is a big process, don’t wait for the official opening to get to work on researching and talking to mentoring organisations, as there are only two weeks between the open and close of applications. Here’s some starting points:

Note: obviously Google SoC projects accept applications from people of any gender. The reason for this post is to level the playing field at the awareness level. By posting here, what you’re doing is hopefully increasing the visibility of your project among interested women, rather than excluding anyone else from applying.

13 thoughts on “GF classifieds: Google Summer of Code edition

    1. Danni

      I should add, if you want to talk about a proposal before you submit it, you can do this either via IRC ( or or on the Telepathy mailing list (for Empathy too —

  1. Denise Paolucci

    We are Dreamwidth Studios and we want you!

    Do you have link to a list of ideas for projects?

    We have a list, and we’re also happy to hear anyone else’s ideas, especially if they’re already a DW user.

    Can applicants make contact with you or your mentors in order to discuss their application before submitting?

    Absolutely. If you need a DW account, or would like to discuss your ideas, email us at summerofcode AT-SIGN dreamwidth PERIOD org. There’s also our GSoC welcome post, which contains information about our project culture and our process.

    Are previous years’ students available to discuss their experiences?

    This is our first year as a mentoring org! But we’ve been doing informal mentoring for a while, and we’re happy to talk about it or put you in touch with one of our mentees. The dw_dev_training community is where a lot of our new contributors gather.

    What kind of skills are you looking for?

    Our ideas list goes into some detail about that. Generally, you should know HTML and CSS, and a working knowledge of perl and javascript is helpful but not completely necessary. We’ve successfully taught complete newcomers to perl before! As long as you’ve got a good grounding in the basics of computer science and programming in some fashion, plus a willingness to learn, you should be fine.

    Of course, if your project has made a commitment to diversity in some way, then feel free to tell us about that.

    We have a Diversity Statement linked on the bottom of every site page, and we do our absolute best to live by it. Our efforts have paid off so far with a project team that’s around 75% female. We’re particularly interested in working with newcomers to the FLOSS world or with those who have had bad experiences with other projects and would like a chance to participate on a project where the key watchword is ‘respect’.

  2. Runa

    The Tor Project will, once again, take part in Google Summer of Code. Last year, I took part in GSoC and worked on the translation portal. This year, I have put my name down as a mentor. Your mentor will help you when you are stuck with a project and guide you in becoming part of the community.

    We have a list of projects and ideas that you can take a look at. You may also suggest other projects, as long as they are somehow related to Tor. If you wish to discuss a project and/or talk to former GSoC students, join #tor on

  3. Kevin Brubeck Unhammer

    Apertium is a free and open source machine translation platform, for
    developing rule-based machine translation systems. The project focuses
    especially on lesser-resourced and minority languages. The page has a quick overview of how
    Apertium works.

       * Do you have link to a list of ideas for projects?

    Our ideas page is at

    Of course, if you have an idea for Apertium that isn’t mentioned
    there, we would be very interested to hear about it :-)

       * Can applicants make contact with you or your mentors in order to
         discuss their application before submitting?

    Yes! Actually we highly recommend that students get in touch with us
    about their applications before submitting. Mentors are available on
    the mailing list and chat to help with writing the application. See for links to the IRC channel and
    the mailing list.

       * Are previous years’ students available to discuss their

    Yes. In fact, I was in GsoC 2009 myself and am typically active in the
    IRC channel and on the mailing list.

    One thing I found really great about Apertium when I got involved
    through GsoC was that it took very little time to get started with
    meaningful work, and to feel confident in contributing to the project.

       * What kind of skills are you looking for?

    That depends on the project ;-)

    The ideas page has a column for “required skills”. Some ideas require
    knowledge of a certain programming language (typically C++, Java,
    Python or scripting languages), most require at least some familiarity
    with XML. Some projects require more specialised knowledge about
    natural language processing or finite state transducers.

    For creating or extending a language pair, you’ll of course need to
    know the language(s) involved. Apertium is not very heavy on the
    formal linguistic knowledge; it helps to know some linguistic terms,
    but we also have active language pair contributors who’ve never taken
    a linguistics course in their lives.

    The Apertium project has developers from all over the world – we tend
    not to let go of anyone who speaks a language we don’t ;-) – and a
    fair gender balance with two female GsoC mentors and several active
    female developers. We of course welcome contributors from all
    shapes and colours

  4. spz

    The NetBSD Foundation is also taking part in Google Summer of Code.

    We have projects both in kernel space and in userland, as well as in the packaging system, listed here.

    If you want to chat with previous years’ students, drop by on irc, some that got shanghaied and are now developers with commit privileges usually hang out there.

    To successfully complete most projects you need to be a C programmer. Most projects allow for you learning about what you are supposed to actually program, but you should be comfortable using a Unix system and have rough ideas how it holds together. See also my blog post.

    We don’t have a diversity statement (frankly we’re happy about every competent contributor, we’re not considering how diverse they are or aren’t), but we have a commitment to polite and respectful manners to everybody, so don’t expect affirmative action, but do expect fair and civil treatment.

  5. lsblakk

    I’m already going to be mentoring an intern this summer – but I would really encourage folks to consider applying to participate in Mozilla projects this summer. Mozilla is a really exciting place to intern/SoC because you get treated like a peer, get full access to some really awesome developers & mentors, and get a chance to work on live code that could affect millions of people.

    There are also still some internships available for this summer:

    1. musingvirtual

      I’m totally interested in applying for the developer marketing internship. Is it okay if I don’t have all the qualifications listed? In particular I don’t have too much background in formal marketing, and while I know HTML/CSS/JS very intimately, I wouldn’t hire me to do extensive coding (I’m slow and I kind of hate it) because I’m really a usability & accessibility specialist. But I would LOVE to tell you about my experience developing web content, doing community management, with open source/developer communities, and even with metrics.


  6. Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn

    We at the Tahoe-LAFS project would welcome more students for GSoC 2010. Tahoe-LAFS is a secure, distributed filesystem. The project is mature enough to be a proven technology with a well-earned reputation for reliability, but it is young enough that one person can make a significant and lasting contribution by implementing any one of many great ideas for improvement. We are accepting up to five students this summer because we have five Mentors and we’re going to stick with at most one student per Mentor. Please see our Ideas Page for ideas and for the list of Mentors:

  7. Terri

    I’m one of the mentors for Systers, which might be especially interesting to GF readers since we’re an organization that promotes and supports women in technology (the name “Systers” was a play on women in “systems”).

    We’re looking for people interested in helping us hack Mailman so that we can have an even more awesome mailing list. We’re hoping especially interested in working in Python, doing both back-end architecture and web interfaces. But as long as you’re willing to learn and filled with good ideas, you’ve got a shot. We’ve got mentors both from Systers and from Mailman (I’m involved in both projects) and we’re making plans for code developed for Systers to get integrated into Mailman proper, where your code would be used by lots of people… including open source projects world wide!

    Our list of proposed projects are here. I’m going to be working on the Mailman archives project, so I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about that one. But there’s lots of other friendly mentors and previous students who can help you out too. Some of us are hanging out in IRC on #systers-soc on freenode when we can, or you can subscribe to the Systers-dev mailing list.

    I’ve been having an absolute blast meeting students and hearing their ideas and questions, and i know mentors for other organizations have been really enjoying it too, so please don’t be shy!

  8. John 'Warthog9' Hawley

    I run, and I’m one of the mentors for the organization. Contrary to popular belief, *ITSELF* is not all about the kernel hacking, it’s much much more! We are primarily interested in greater infrastructure and support problems facing all of OSS.

    We have several suggested projects up on our wiki at:

    However the big things we are working on this year are the creation of a new project striving for universal collection and collation of download log data from large mirror infrastructures. The creation of a new website to do static analysis of kernel builds using things like sparse, and the expansion of our ever favorite universal internet booting infrastructure.

    We are a fairly small community of people who work on these things, unlike the greater kernel community we serve. There aren’t a lot of mailing lists, but there is an active irc channel that is generally playful and possibly obsessed with the creation of culinary delights. I would highly encourage anyone interested in working with us (or who’s interested in hearing us debating the merits of food) to stop by Our public IRC channel: on

    Or, if you have more specific questions that you feel might be better directed please contact the mentors, or myself warthog9 (at)

    Our previous years’ students are available, however this is’s first year as an independent project. In 2009 we worked under the Etherboot project to create, and in 2008 we worked with the Git community to develop new caching software for gitweb that now runs things like

    We are looking for a wide variety of skills but considering that at least two of our projects have yet to be created an exact list is like trying to gaze into a crystal ball and guess the future. What we are looking for are people who don’t mind a challenge, have good grasps on systems or architectural designs, willing to make mistakes and learn from them, or basically smart people who don’t need to know everything but are willing to learn it as they go.

  9. Robin H. Johnson (robbat2)

    At Gentoo, we’re participating in the Summer of Code again this year. We’ve got 15 mentors lined up already.

    Our main page for the Summer of Code is here:

    Our list of potential ideas with mentors already offering support for them is here:

    A very wide range of skill sets are represented in our SoC ideas. Many scripting languages, C, C++, but also skills in documentation.

    On the gentoo-soc mailing list, there have also been several other ideas from potential candidates thus far, and we expect to see them represented in the proposals as well.

    A number of our previous students have become developers (or were already developers), and are available for questions, as are our mentors.

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