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Re: Google Summer of Code 2008

On Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 09:17:56AM +0100, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:

> > I really can't figure out what you're saying, here.  AFAICS, we had
> > significantly *better* results when choosing GSoC projects submitted by
> > existing Debian contributors.  Where are these failures you're talking
> > about?

> My definition of failure is: "(what was achieved) < (what I expected to
> be achieved, given the skills of the people assigned and the time they
> were supposed to spend on the project)".

> That's of course subjective,

Yes, subjective to the point of absurdity.  If failure is defined in terms
of *your* expectations, I don't see how we can even have a meaningful
dialogue about it.

> but I think that the evaluation done by the mentors is subjective too. How
> were the GSOC projects evaluated?

I don't know how they were evaluated, but why are you only now asking this
question, and of debian-devel instead of the program mentors?  This seems
like a question that ought to be asked of the relevant parties *before*
declaring that Debian's participation in GSoC has been a "failure".

An objective metric for success and failure is "accomplished the goals that
were stated at the beginning of the project".  Another is "produces working
code".  I think these are the most important objective metrics for success,
and it's my understanding that by these standards, Debian's participation in
the 2007 GSoC was a success.

There may be other objective metrics to consider; yet I don't see any way
that the *students* should be judged to have failed if they met the goals
that were agreed to up front, whether or not they met *your* expectations of
output.  The latter might indicate that the mentors failed to set
appropriate goals, but that's an entirely separate question.

> Were they given goals to fullfill? We probably need to improve the
> descriptions of the projects a bit, so people know a bit more what they
> are expected to do.

Again, questions that should be directed to the GSoC admins and/or mentors.
But this is also addressed in the GSoC FAQ:

  10. Will a student receive the stipend if the organization does not use
  her/his code?

  As long as the goals listed in a student's accepted application are met
  according to the judgment of her/his mentoring organization, the student
  will receive the stipend whether or not the project uses the code


But the evaluations of the students' projects are not public in nature.
It's up to Debian's GSoC admins to decide how much detail to share with you;
I don't think it would be appropriate to make students have to answer to all
1000+ DDs for their GSoC work, whether or not the students are themselves

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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