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Re: Google Summer of Code 2008

On 28/02/08 at 01:09 -0800, Steve Langasek wrote:
> 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.

Note that my main point in the thread is "we should use GSOC to get
fresh blood in Debian, not to fund existing contributors". The point
about "Debian GSOC projects have been unsuccessful in the past" is
totally secondary.

I am under the impression that results from last years' GSOC projects
weren't up to par with what could have reasonably been expected from
them, based on the skills of the students and the time they were
supposed to spend on the projects. Maybe I'm wrong, but it will be
difficult for you to convince me of that, since we lack data :-)

> > 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?

Mainly because GSOC 2008 was announced on d-d-a with a reply-to set to
-devel@. Also, my goal is not to do a witch hunt about last years'
projects. Frankly, I don't care. My goal is to see if we can improve
things this year (if there's something to improve).

> 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".

I never said that.

> 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.

I was not aware that all of last year's projects were "succesful" (by
the mentors' metrics). Am I allowed to change what I wrote in a previous
mail? I'd like to substitute:
> I'm not saying that students that were DD did nothing of their time
> during GSoc, but most of them failed their projects
> I'm not saying that students that were DD did nothing of their time
> during GSoc, but most of them produced results that were a bit
> disappointing given what people could have expected from them, mainly
> because they used their GSOC time to work on other Debian tasks.
| Lucas Nussbaum
| lucas@lucas-nussbaum.net   http://www.lucas-nussbaum.net/ |
| jabber: lucas@nussbaum.fr             GPG: 1024D/023B3F4F |

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