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Re: Google Summer of Code 2008

On 29/02/08 at 19:55 +0000, Steve McIntyre wrote:
> Lucas wrote:
> >On 28/02/08 at 01:09 -0800, Steve Langasek wrote:
> >> 
> >> 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 that's not going to stop you making accusations of previous GSoC
> students and mentors misleading Google about how time was spent,
> though. That's *nice* to see.

I think something. You think something else. There's no data to back
either claim, so we just have to live with it.

Note that the whole "did last year projects were successful?" issue is
secondary. Even if all of last years projects produced fabulous results
that totally changed the way Debian is developed, I'm still not sure if
we should use GSOC to pay current Debian contributors, instead of using
it to bring in new contributors.

> >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).
> If your goal was not to have a witch hunt, then being a *lot* less
> aggressive and accusatory in your mails here would help.
> <snip>
> >> 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.
> Do you have any proof at all for that accusation? If so, please share
> it. Otherwise, I think that people deserve apologies from you right
> now.

Do you have any proof that GSOC students worked 35-40 hours a week on
their GSOC projects? You probably don't. So again, no real data to back
either claim. We have different opinions, and have to live with it.

Also, I absolutely don't want to start looking in detail at the code
produced by last years' projects, and evaluate how much development time
was spent on them using the COCOMO model or something else, because it's
only marginally relevant to my point (see above).

Frankly, if I were in the position of a GSOC student, I would probably
find it very hard to work 35-40 hours per week on my project, while I
could squash some items off my TODO list. Maybe the whole problem is
that I'm less disciplined than our students ;)


> In past years, the GSoC mentors and admins have ranked student
> applications based on a few criteria:
>   * How interesting the project is for Debian (and how well it fits
>     with us and our needs)
>   * How good we reckon the student is: motivation, skills, enthusiasm,
>     dedication
>   * Whether or not we have a suitable mentor
> The ideal student applying will take inspiration from the project
> ideas we've posted, but will take the extra time to turn those
> suggestions into their own proposal. Background research and a genuine
> understanding of the problem are good indicators here.
> In 2006, only 6 of our allotted 10 projects completed successfully.
> The Google folks informally told us that that was not good enough - we
> were well below the average of the programme as a whole. We were
> allowed back in for 2007, but were only awarded funding for 9 projects
> of the 20 or so that we asked for.
> Given that, there was a lot of debate about exactly which projects we
> should choose. I'm happy that we picked a very good set. There was
> scope to have made different selections here and there, but the 9 that
> we chose all succeeded: they all met their goals.
> I'm not greatly convinced by your arguments that DDs and DMs should
> automatically be barred from applying for GSoC. In my opinion, they
> are just as welcome as anybody else. Each application should be
> evaluated fairly on its own merits.

OK, thank you for this clarification. To let everybody benefit from it,
could you please mention in your next d-d-a mail about GSOC that
everybody is welcomed as students, not just people not involved in
Debian already? I know at least 2 people that could have applied as
students last year, but didn't because they thought that GSOC wasn't for
them since they were already involved in Free Software development.

Also note that in my initial mail in that thread, I wrote:
> However, I'm not sure that many DDs agree with this, so maybe we should
> just aim for *clarification*. So any of the three following solutions
> would work for me:
> (1) Forbid DDs and people in the NM process waiting for FD/DAM to apply
> as students.
> (2) Make it crystal clear (through a mail to d-d-a) that DDs that are
> otherwise eligible can apply as well.
> (3) Compromise: allow current contributors to apply, but, when
> classifying applications, do it like that:
>    1. Application from outsider
>    2. Application from current contributor
>    3. Application from outsider
>    4. Application from current contributor
>    [...]

See? (2) would make me happy!
| Lucas Nussbaum
| lucas@lucas-nussbaum.net   http://www.lucas-nussbaum.net/ |
| jabber: lucas@nussbaum.fr             GPG: 1024D/023B3F4F |

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