Summer of Code/2010/Organization Application

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Overview

Sugar Labs needs to put its application together. We welcome all contributions! I've used the 2009 material as a starting point.

2010 Answers (Actual)

Organization Name
Sugar Labs
Description
Sugar Labs is the community organization behind the Sugar Learning Platform. Sugar is the core component of a worldwide effort to provide every child with equal opportunity for a quality education. Originally developed for the One Laptop per Child XO-1 netbook and designed from the ground up especially for children, Sugar is Free Software that offers a hardware- and distro-independent alternative to traditional “office-desktop” software. Sugar Activities running on the Sugar Learning Platform promote collaborative learning and critical thinking. Sugar is used every school day in 25+ languages by almost 2,000,000 children in more than 40 countries. Sugar Labs is a member project of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Its volunteers are passionate about learning and the opportunities that Free Software can bring to education.
Home page
http://www.sugarlabs.org/
Main Organization License
GNU General Public License
Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2010? What do you hope to gain by participating?
Sugar is a community project. We hope to grow our community of developers through our participation in GSoC. In particular, we see GSoC as a good opportunity to tap into the interest we've had from university students who want to get involved with the project and see summer as a good chance to dedicate themselves full-time to doing something substantial with the community. The GSoC program also provides us with a useful impetus to examine our support structures and tools for new contributors, making us more able to welcome new open-source contributors to our project in the future.
Also note that, unlike many open source projects, the "itch" that Sugar scratches is a social need, instead of a pure individual need of its developers. This means that explicit community-building programs like GSoC are especially important. Most developers will not become familiar with the software and comfortable contributing through day-to-day use.
We also expect to get some tangible code from the student projects that will have a positive impact on our current and future deployments, including the pilots we'll be starting near students participating in GSoC this summer.
Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation
We participated in GSoC in 2009. We had a team of 5 students who worked both one-on-one with their mentors and engaged in overall Sugar development community. Wwe were new to the program and a relatively unknown project at the time; nonetheless, we attracted some outstanding students, most of whom have stayed involved with the project.
If your organization participated in past GSoCs, please let us know the ratio of students passing to students allocated, e.g. 2006: 3/6 for 3 out of 6 students passed in 2006.
2009: 5/5
What is the URL for your ideas page?
http://idea.sugarlabs.org/
What is the main development mailing list for your organization? This question will be shown to students who would like to get more information about applying to your organization for GSoC 2010. If your organization uses more than one list, please make sure to include a description of the list so students know which to use.
http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/sugar-devel
All community, including international, mailing lists are listed: http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Mailing_Lists
What is the main IRC channel for your organization?
#sugar irc.freenode.net
Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now. Please note that it is a very good idea to ask students to provide you with their contact information as part of your template. Their contact details will not be shared with you automatically via the GSoC 2010 site.
Please see http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Summer_of_Code/Student_application_template. You are welcome to create a proposal page by copying the content to

http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Summer_of_Code/2010/Your_proposal_name.

About you
  • What is your name?
  • What is your email address?
  • What is your Sugar Labs wiki username?
  • What is your IRC nickname?
  • What is your primary language? (We have mentors who speak multiple languages and can match you with

one of them if you'd prefer.)

  • Where are you located, and what hours do you tend to work? (We also try to match mentors by general

time zone if possible.)

  • Have you participated in an open-source project before? If so, please send us URLs to your profile

pages for those projects, or some other demonstration of the work that you have done in open- source. If not, why do you want to work on an open-source project this summer?

About your project
  • What is the name of your project?
  • Describe your project in 10-20 sentences. What are you making? Who are you making it for, and why do they need it? What technologies (programming languages, etc.) will you be using?
  • What is the timeline for development of your project? The Summer of Code work period is 7 weeks long, tell us what you will be working on each week. (As the summer goes on, you and your mentor will adjust your schedule, but it's good to have a plan at the beginning so you have an idea of where you're headed.) Note that you should probably plan to have something "working and 90% done" by the midterm evaluation (July 6-13); the last steps always take longer than you think, and we will consider cancelling projects which are not mostly working by then.
  • Convince us, in 5-15 sentences, that you will be able to successfully complete your project in the timeline you have described. This is usually where people describe their past experiences, credentials, prior projects, schoolwork, and that sort of thing, but be creative. Link to prior work or other resources as relevant.
You and the community
  • If your project is successfully completed, what will its impact be on the Sugar Labs community? Give 3 answers, each 1-3 paragraphs in length. The first one should be yours. The other two should be answers from members of the Sugar Labs community, at least one of whom should be a Sugar Labs GSoC mentor. Provide email contact information for non-GSoC mentors.
  • Sugar Labs will be working to set up a small (5-30 unit) Sugar pilot near each student project that is accepted to GSoC so that you can immediately see how your work affects children in a deployment. We will make arrangements to either supply or find all the equipment needed. Do you have any ideas on where you would like your deployment to be, who you would like to be involved, and how we can help you and the community in your area begin it?
  • What will you do if you get stuck on your project and your mentor isn't around?
  • How do you propose you will be keeping the community informed of your progress and any problems or questions you might have over the course of the project?
Miscellaneous
  • What is your t-shirt size? (Yes, we know Google asks for this already; humor us.)
  • Describe a great learning experience you had as a child.
  • Is there anything else we should have asked you or anything else that we should know that might

make us like you or your project more?

What criteria did you use to select the individuals who will act as mentors for your organization? Please be as specific as possible
Core criteria
Experience with code.
Experience with supervision.
Regularity of communication with community.
Other criteria
Alignment of experience with student projects.
Languages spoken.
Time-zone.
All of our mentors have experience with the Sugar code base and around half of them have been with the project since the beginning - more than 2 years ago. Most have successful mentoring experience (including combined 6 years' experience as successful GSoC mentors) and/or are teachers. All have been active in our software development support community and a regular presence on our support IRC channel.
What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?
Mitigation:
Make membership of the developer & community mailing lists part of the process to have a student proposal accepted.
Make it clear that weekly feedback reports are required from students.
Identify times of likely work stress where mentor may be unavailable, e.g. travel, at start.
Conduct a weekly IRC meeting. Apologies to be sent in by email.
Actions if student disappears without notice:
Mentor contacts student.
If no response within 48h, send warning email.
Mentors discuss student project - attempt to identify any issues.
Discussion w/ student to see if the team can
If no response within 48h of second email, student is failed.
What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?
Mitigation:
Be clear on the expectations of 1-2h per week for all of the mentors.
Use experienced & committed mentors.
Identify times of likely work stress where mentor may be unavailable, e.g. travel, at start.
Mentors are already sitting within #sugar and we have established strong personal relationships with each other.
Actions if a mentor disappears without notice:
Student contacts GSoC coordinator.
If no response within 48h, send warning email.
Mentors discuss student project - attempt to identify any issues.
Discussion w/ student to see if the team can
If no response within 48h of second email, student is failed.
What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?
Project-led
Membership of community mailing list is part of the process to have a student proposal accepted.
We have an active set IRC channels, where the students are highly encouraged to lurk.
Sugar Labs-led
Mentor or Sugar Labs administrator sends a welcome/introductory note to the community & developer lists.
Welcome the student to provide end-user support via IRC & support lists.
We encourage all of our developers to refine their writing skills so they can contribute to our wiki & documentation. While indirect, this is of great help to the community.
After
The Sugar Labs team will acknolwedge students' contributions at the end with thank you notes, blog posts, and possibly invitations to present at various conferences.
What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after GSoC concludes?
Remind them that their work is benefiting nearly 2 million children around the world. Most of these children are in the developing world.
We are investigating whether GSoC students contribute into the 'trunk', rather than a specific GSoC branch. This will minimise the risk that the code will not be able to be integrated.
We will ensure that code is the same standard of code review is undertaken for GSoC as other contributors. This way the GSoC students will know that their contributions are already of a high standard.
We will offer students a report to be sent to the mailing lists of their contributions, blog posts & offering them opportunities to present at conferences if possible.


Is there anything else you would like to tell the Google Summer of Code program administration team? 
Thank You

Likely Questions

Sourced from the GSoC FAQ:

  1. Describe your organization.
  2. Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2010? What do you hope to gain by participating?
  3. Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation.
  4. If your organization has not previously participated in GSoC, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)?
  5. What license(s) does your project use?
  6. What is the URL for your ideas page?
  7. What is the main development mailing list for your organization?
  8. What is the main IRC channel for your organization?
  9. Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now.
  10. Who will be your backup organization administrator?
  11. What criteria did you use to select these individuals as mentors? Please be as specific as possible.
  12. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?
  13. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?
  14. What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?
  15. What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after GSoC concludes?

Answer Template

Please cite your answer using a definition list. This will make things easier when multiple suggestions for an question appear.

 ;Author
 :Here is my answer to that silly question.

This renders as:

Author
Here is my answer to that silly question.

Answers (Proposed)

Describe your organization.

2009
Sugar Labs is the community organization behind the Sugar Learning Platform, a free and open-source software project. Sugar is the core component of a worldwide effort to provide every child with equal opportunity for a quality education. Originally developed for the One Laptop per Child XO-1 netbook and designed from the ground up especially for children, Sugar offers a hardware and distro independent alternative to traditional “office-desktop” software. Sugar Activities running on the Sugar Learning Platform promote collaborative learning and critical thinking, and are used every school day in 25 languages by almost 1,000,000 children in more than 40 countries.
Sugar Labs, a volunteer, non-profit organization, is a member project of the Software Freedom Conservancy. The mission of Sugar Labs is to support the Sugar community of users and developers and establish regional, autonomous “Sugar Labs” around the world to tailor Sugar to local languages and curricula. Sugar Labs volunteers are passionate about providing education to children.
2010 (Walter)
Sugar Labs is the community organization behind the Sugar Learning Platform. Sugar is the core component of a worldwide effort to provide every child with equal opportunity for a quality education. Originally developed for the One Laptop per Child XO-1 netbook and designed from the ground up especially for children, Sugar is Free Software that offers a hardware- and distro-independent alternative to traditional “office-desktop” software. Sugar Activities running on the Sugar Learning Platform promote collaborative learning and critical thinking. Sugar is used every school day in 25+ languages by almost 2,000,000 children in more than 40 countries. Sugar Labs is a member project of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Its volunteers are passionate about learning and the opportunities that Free Software can bring to education.
Nicely worded. --TimClicks 04:26, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2010? What do you hope to gain by participating?

2009
Sugar is a community project. We hope to grow our community of developers through our participation in GSoC. In particular, we see GSoC as a good opportunity to tap into the interest we've had from university students who want to get involved with the project and see summer as a good chance to dedicate themselves full-time to doing something substantial with the community. The GSoC program also provides us with a useful impetus to examine our support structures and tools for new contributors, making us more able to welcome new open-source contributors to our project in the future.
Also note that, unlike many open source projects, the "itch" that Sugar scratches is a social need, not an individual need of its developers. This means that explicit community-building programs like GSoC are especially important, as most developers will not become familiar with the software and comfortable contributing through day-to-day use.
We also expect to get some tangible code from the student projects that will have a positive impact on our current and future deployments, including the pilots we'll be starting near students participating in GSoC this summer.
I think this is fine to reuse. --Walter 22:49, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Me too --TimClicks 04:25, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation.

2009
As mentioned in the previous question Sugar Labs only officially became a member project of the SFC in June 2008 and all previous Sugar projects were completed under the OLPC banner.
2010 (Walter)
We participated in GSoC in 2009. We had a team of 5 students who worked both one-on-one with their mentors and engaged in overall Sugar development community. Wwe were new to the program and a relatively unknown project at the time; nonetheless, we attracted some outstanding students, most of whom have stayed involved with the project.

If your organization has not previously participated in GSoC, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)?

What license(s) does your project use?

Tim McNamara
Primarily GPL v2. Authors of sub-projects, which we call Activities, are entitled to develop in their own licence terms. Only Activities with open sourced licences are included as part of the Sugar Learning Platform.

What is the URL for your ideas page?

2010 (Tim McNamara)
http://idea.sugarlabs.org/
2009
http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Development_Team/Project_Ideas

What is the main development mailing list for your organization?

2009
Sugar devel <sugar-devel@lists.sugarlabs.org>
We also have a non-technical list at:
It's An Education Project <iaep@lists.sugarlabs.org>
GSOC students are encouraged to consider also subscribing to this list to better understand and discuss the educational issues surrounding Sugar.

What is the main IRC channel for your organization?

2009
#sugar on irc.freenode.net

Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now.

2009
Summer_of_Code/Student_application_template

Who will be your backup organization administrator?

2010
I'm willing to be the backup person but would welcome someone else taking this role. --Walter 14:18, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

What criteria did you use to select these individuals as mentors? Please be as specific as possible.

2009
All of our mentors have experience with the Sugar code base and around half of them have been with the project since the beginning - more than 2 years ago. Most have successful mentoring experience (including combined 6 years' experience as successful GSoC mentors) and/or are teachers. All have been active in our software development support community and a regular presence on our support IRC channel.
List of mentors:
name <gmail account name>
  1. Walter Bender <walter.bender>
  2. Jameson Quinn <Jameson.Quinn>
  3. Nirav Patel <nrpatel>
  4. Tomeu Vizoso <tomeu.vizoso>
  5. Bobby P <bobbypowers> nteon on IRC
  6. Sebastian Silva <sebastian at fuentelibre.org> (alternative: sebatustra)
  7. Wade Brainerd <wadetb>
  8. Luis Gustavo Lira, BSc, MSc <lira.lg at pucp.edu.pe>
  9. Ben Lau <xbenlau>
  10. Sayamindu Dasgupta <sayamindu>
  11. Austin Appel <scorche15>
2010
List of mentors:
name <gmail account name>
  1. Walter Bender <walter.bender>

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?

2009
We will set the expectation that students will not be out of communications for more than 60 hours (ie, the length of a weekend) without prior notification to their mentor. We'll also hold mandatory weekly meetings in IRC for all the students to report on progress made, problems encountered, and proposed next steps. If a student does disappear, their mentor will attempt to contact them through all reasonable means to see what happened.
2010
FWIW, we didn't have this problem in 2009, so perhaps our mechanisms for retention are robust. --Walter 14:19, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?

2009
Our mentors have a history of being deeply involved and invested with the project and in constant and reliable contact with the community, so we think it is unlikely that this will happen. We also plan to pair mentors to ensure that there is an experienced "second" associated with each project. If a mentor misses the weekly check-in meetings on IRC, their "backup" will track them down as they temporarily cover for them. Finally, our IRC channel is active 24/7, and we will give all students a list of IRC handles whom they can consult specifically. There is a safety net for any software developer who needs it.
2010
We did lose one mentor last year but the safety net worked almost seamlessly. --Walter 14:20, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?

2009
Many of our potential pool of students are already involved in the project, volunteering in a variety of roles, including support, documentation, etc. GSoC presents an opportunity for them to dedicate themselves full time for three months. Also relevant are the steps in the application (getting comments, providing a screenshot) and the Sugar pilot mentioned below.

What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after GSoC concludes?

2009
The best we can do is infect the students with enthusiasm for our project's goals. We will launch a Sugar pilot near each accepted project so that students can see immediate results and feedback from children and teachers using their work, thus investing them further in longer-term sustainability and getting their local communities involved as well.