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From Grant Ingersoll <>
Subject Re: increasing GSoC visibility within the ASF
Date Wed, 10 Apr 2013 17:41:45 GMT

On Apr 10, 2013, at 10:26 AM, Ulrich Stärk wrote:

> Folks,
> I perceive a low interest of our projects in GSoC. The list of projects that submitted
project ideas
> that I compiled for Sally contained 33 entries of which some are subprojects I believe.
With 138
> PMCs plus 35 podlings, this is less than one fifth of our projects.
> We only had 34 ideas one week before our application was due.

For my two cents, GSOC has been a mixed result for me personally.  I think I've mentored 4
times in the past.  Two were successful, two were not (one time, the student simply went radio
silent about 1/2 way through despite producing code all the way up to that point).  I know
others in Mahout had similar experiences where it was a mixed bag.  For me, this year (and
last), it simply was a matter of not having the time to commit to it, esp. in light of the
fact that I couldn't reliably predict whether it would be successful or not, despite putting
in a fair amount of due diligence up front, in fact more than I would even do for someone
I was directly hiring.

> I run into committers that are not members of their projects PMCs who are eager to be
mentors but
> have no clue about what's going on because nobody from the PMC forwarded my emails to
their dev lists.
> So the problem seems twofold: no interest and not reaching the right people. The latter
could be
> improved by simply sending to committers@ instead of pmcs@ but it's the first that worries

committers@ does seem like it would be better from an awareness POV.

> I believe GSoC and every other opportunity to attract new contributors to our projects
should be a
> key priority of our PMCs. Apparently it's not, for whatever reasons. I could think of
> cycles, indifference, and wrong priorities.

Perhaps, esp. for more popular projects, there is no shortage of contributors?  I really don't
know.  Overall, I like GSOC and may do it again in the future, but it was too much time currently.

> So what could we do to increase awareness for the opportunities GSoC offers and that
this program is
> important to the foundation? Write more emails? Ask the board to mandate a section in
board reports
> detailing the project's GSoC endeavors? Any ideas?

I don't think mandating makes sense.  We're all volunteers and if a PMC doesn't want to do
GSOC then that is their choice.

> Uli

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