Summer of Code/SL application

From Sugar Labs
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Applying to Google Summer of Code

How does a mentoring organization apply?

The organization should choose a single administrator to submit its application via the GSoC web app between March 9-13, 2009.

Mel Chua has agreed to be the administrator. Homunq and Walter will help prepare the application.

What should a mentoring organization application look like?

Describe your organization.

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.

Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2009? 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, 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.

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

As Sugar Labs only officially became a member project of the SFC in June 2008, as an organization we have not been around long enough to have participated in past GSoCs. However, we have many community members with prior GSoC experience (former mentors, students, and organization administrators from multiple open-source projects, more details available upon request) who have offered their help specifically to make our first GSoC summer a success.

For the past three summers, OLPC has handled many Sugar-related GSoC applications. Sugar Labs, although independent of OLPC, is in friendly, day-to-day communication with them. There is a clear distinction between each project's GSoC goals: anything related to the XS school server or to specific hardware issues on the OLPC XO-1 laptops would be covered by OLPC; The Sugar-related projects (the user-facing bits) would be covered by Sugar Labs. Nevertheless if both organizations are accepted, we expect some amount of confusion from students; both organizations are prepared to help redirect the applications of any students who apply to the wrong place.

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

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.

What license(s) does your project use?

(Note: this is a one-option-selectable drop-down menu in the application, so I assume "GPL" should be chosen.)

The Sugar core is GPLv2+. Activity developers may choose other FOSS licenses - usually licenses such as MIT, LGPL, etc.

What is the URL for your ideas page? Team/ProjectIdeas (Note: this is probably temporary; I'll see if we can get something better by the 13th. Mchua 22:36, 4 March 2009 (UTC))

What is the main development mailing list or forum for your organization?

Sugar devel <>

We also have a non-technical list at:

It's An Education Project <>

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?

#sugar on

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

(origin: Summer_of_Code/Student_application_template)

Please apply also in melange, google's web app; if you do not apply there before April 9, we will not be able to accept your application.

Please keep an eye on your talk page (the "discussion" link above). If you hit "watch" above, you can set up your "prefs" to email you the first time it changes since you last saw it.

About you

  1. What is your name?
  2. What is your email address?
  3. What is your Sugar Labs wiki username?
  4. What is your IRC nickname?
  5. What is your primary language? (We have mentors who speak multiple languages and can match you with one of them if you'd prefer.)
  6. Where are you located, and what hours do you tend to work? (We also try to match mentors by general time zone if possible.)
  7. 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

  1. What is the name of your project?
  2. 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?
  3. What is the timeline for development of your project? The Summer of Code work period is 7 weeks long, May 23 - August 10; 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.
  4. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. What will you do if you get stuck on your project and your mentor isn't around?
  4. 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?


An example of the kind of screenshot of your first modification to your development environment which you should include in your application. Note that the drop-down menu text has Mel's email address in place of the word "Restart" - your screenshot should contain your email instead.
  1. We want to make sure that you can set up a development environment before the summer starts. Please send us a link to a screenshot of your Sugar development environment with the following modification: when you hover over the XO-person icon in the middle of Home view, the drop-down text should have your email in place of "Restart." See the image on the right for an example. It's normal to need assistance with this, so please visit our IRC channel, #sugar on, and ask for help.
  2. What is your t-shirt size? (Yes, we know Google asks for this already; humor us.)
  3. Describe a great learning experience you had as a child.
  4. 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?

Note: you will post this application on the wiki in the category Category:2010 GSoC applications. We encourage you to browse this category and comment on the talk page of other applications. Also, others' comments and your responses on the talk page of your own application are viewed favorably, and, while we don't like repetitive spam, we welcome honest questions and discussion of your project idea on the mailing list(s) (primarily sugar-devel for technical issues and It's An Education Project for educational issues) and/or IRC.

The NeL project has some good general recommendations for writing proposals. We endorse them all; although Sugar is (regrettably) not test driven development (yet - your project could change that!), we encourage GSoC code to include tests.

Who will be your backup organization administrator? Please include Google Account information.

Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn -AT->

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

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> (alternative: sebatustra)
  7. Wade Brainerd <wadetb>
  8. Luis Gustavo Lira, BSc, MSc <lira.lg at>
  9. Ben Lau <xbenlau>
  10. Sayamindu Dasgupta <sayamindu>
  11. Austin Appel <scorche15>

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?

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.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?

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.

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

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?

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.