Action week for Google Summer of Code students

This week (22 - 28 April) is the week that really matters most for those students who want to participate in Google Summer of Code. The deadline for student applications is next Friday (3 May), but if you don't spend time exploring project ideas this week, you won't be able to make a strong enough application.

Here are the key things I need to see for potential students for the project areas I have offered to co-mentor in:

  1. Register on the Google site, Click here to register yourself (registration opens 22 April and closes 3 May).
  2. Create a page about yourself on the Debian wiki, you must copy the template used by the other students. Make sure you create a link from the student list to your own page. Think carefully about your project: what will be the final result of your work this summer? Describe what it will look like, how Debian people will use it, and explain these things on your wiki page, this will be critical to having Debian accept you.

Those are the essential things you must do before the deadline on 3 May. There are other things you should do as well:

  • Join the Summer of Code co-ordination mailing list
  • Join the mailing lists for whichever open source project and/or Debian packaging team is relevant to your proposed GSoC project
  • On the mailing list, send an email introducing yourself, giving us the link to your wiki page.

To maximize the chance that the Debian project will accept you, it is very important that you interact with us and show us that you understand software development.

I am going to try and make this easier: for each of my projects, I've put some wishlist items in the Debian bug tracker. These are all easy tasks that a student can potentially complete. Just do the following:

  • Pick a task from the bug tracker
  • Send an email to the bug tracker (e.g. <bug-number>>) explaining that you will work on the task (and make sure nobody else is already working on it, just look to see if any other emails are attached to the bug report)
  • Write the patch, test it and email the patch to the bug report

Here are the links to the bug lists for each of the packages. You can also pick any other wishlist bug in any related package, but if you are not sure, just pick one of these:

If you already have a history of contributing to free software, it is essential that you tell us about it. This will increase the chances that your application is successful. Specifically, on your Debian wiki page, you should include links to any of the following:

  • Emails you sent to open source communities contributing patches or analysis of bugs (give a link to your message in the email archive for the list)
  • Your github account profile page, if you have one
  • Your Sourceforge account profile page, if you have one
  • Any other similar links

Debian receives many applications every year. To help you succeed, you need to think about how Debian will benefit from your work. Use Google to search the Debian site for previous discussions about your idea. Find out the names of Debian Developers who are interested in the same subjects, and email us or email the public mailing lists of the Debian project, for example, debian-devel. Make sure your email includes links to previous discussions or wiki pages about the idea, explain how you can help and ask the community for suggestions and guidance to refine your project proposal. Debian is an open community and we are all very keen to discuss your ideas and help you get involved.


For all students, attending free software events is a great opportunity to meet the community. Of particular relevance for those in Europe, attending DebConf13 in Switzerland is a great way to meet GSoC mentors and other developers. Switzerland's central location is extremely convenient for anybody in Western Europe and it is also Debian's 20th birthday, so it is anticipated DebConf could be more special than usual this year. Please put it in your calendar and subscribe to the debconf-discuss mailing list so you will know when registration opens and other practical details are announced.