The “HOW” of Google Summer of Code

This article is dedicated to all my friends / aspirants who aspire to be GSoCcers (those who get selected for GSoC (an acronym for Google Summer of Code)). I decided to blog as I thought a lot of people needed to be enlightened. So for your benign information, I had been selected for GSoC 2014 under BRL-CAD ( the U.S. Army Ballistic Research Laboratory (BRL) – now the United States Army Research Laboratory ). So I would like to take the privilege to share my experience which might help you to get selected for GSoC. First of all I would like to mitigate the level of apprehension that getting selected in GSoC is neither a Herculean task nor a rocket science . It’s just a few steps of the ladder that you have to climb consequently and patiently.
Alright to be specific, first of all you have to find your skills / interests. Skills can be like having a good acquaintance with C / C++, PHP etc. and interests can be like Web Development, Desktop Application Development, Cyber Security etc.
Okay now that you have recognized your skills and interests we have to see for the organizations which are compatible with your skills and interests. Organizations or communities are the groups which work on certain projects. Mozilla, Linux Kernel, WordPress etc. are the examples of organizations. Then you have to find the organizations or communities under GSoC which work with such projects. You may find them either by googling. However I would recommend to use some other search engines too like https://duckduckgo.com/ , bing etc. 
or using the search filters in this link.
Suppose I know C++ so I would have filled C++ in the “tags” filter (but you have to login to your google / gmail account) and the organizations will appear which work in this technology. You might have seen BRL-CAD organization (I chose this last year) after searching for C++.
Let’s climb the next step. You have to join the community you have chosen. You may do this by subscribing their mailing lists (Search for Mailing List of BRL-CAD or any other organization you want to participate in). Introduce yourself, your skill-set and your intended area of work in the mailing list (just compose a mail and send it off). Also join the community on its IRC channel (Again you have to shed off your habit of spoon feeding and search for IRC (Internet relay chat). :)). However if still you need help peep here. 😛
After joining the community on their IRC channel you may start interacting with them that you want to work with their community. It’s better if you ask them something specific that you want to work on a specific project rather than asking “What project should I work on?”. Do a plenty of homework before interacting with the community; homework in the sense, see what were the previous years’ projects etc. However don’t hesitate to interact as they all are more than happy to help. 🙂
Next step is to choose the project you wish to work under that community. Most of the times it is suggested by the community however students can also propose some project if they have something good in mind that can help the community.
Then brace yourself up and start shooting the bugs down in the project you have selected. Solve the bugs and submit them in the form of patches (patches mean small improvements in the existing code). This is the most crucial thing that will be counted perhaps because this shows both your capability and devotion.
And the last step you have to climb is writing up a proposal of the project you wish to do in GSoC and submit it when application process starts. The proposal should include all the details like how you fragment the complete project and spread it over a time scale of 3 months. However, a format will be given for writing the proposal. Decide your targets / milestones that you will achieve while coding. Now you are almost done, just recite a few hymns to praise the God or rely on your luck till you get selected. (y)
To keep a track of what is going on, see the following website. You may see timeline of events which have occurred or which are yet to occur. This the most useful asset. 😀
I wrote this post because I was also guided. 🙂 Keep contributing in open source. It’s fun and it’s awesome. 😀
For further queries you may ask (just leave a comment), I will try to help. 🙂
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2 thoughts on “The “HOW” of Google Summer of Code

  1. Hex says:

    Hello!
    Thanks a lot for the article ! One additional question: I find some projects really big. Are the people, who are involved in the community, going to help me while solving some bugs? Shall they guide me with the necessary steps or should I select one specific bug and figure out how to solve it by myself?

    • AlbertCoder says:

      Hi Hex! You must note that Open Source is synonymous to learning by sharing. The Open Source communities are far more cooperative and helpful than you can imagine but that does not mean you have to be spoonfed all the time. The members of the community will definitely guide you through all the steps provided you are putting your appreciable efforts. You may also seek the sufficient guidance for solving the bugs if you feel like you need help. Just go ahead and interact with the fellow developers on IRC. DON’T HESITATE! deAnd to answer the crux of your query again, the big projects are made small by sharing and helping each other. Hope I could clear your queries. 🙂

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