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Community support

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Community support

Postby ethan3391 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:56 am

Is it just me or is there no community support for the GSoC. I don't know why there would be, but very few people are contributing to the effort. So, seriously, is there any real support for this, or is it even worth the consideration? After all, if the community doesn't support it what's the point?

For clarification purposes only, I do support making FlightGear a part of the Google Summer of Code.
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Re: Community support

Postby Thorsten » Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:03 am

Just to give you my first reaction (may or may not help to understand):

It seems that everyone knows what Google Summer of Code is - I don't, nobody explains it to me, since I have limited time, it gets filed away as 'might take a look if there is more time, don't bother for now'.

From what I know, it is a possibility to get someone else to do coding for my project under my supervision in 14 months from now - which I don't find particularly helpful for my project. Since I have a couple of PhD and masters students to supervise during work hours, I'm not too keen on continuing that in my spare time anyway.

Finally, anything with the name 'google' on it becomes more and more suspicious to me, as I dislike grabbing private data on principle. So, without knowing details, see above, I feel averse towards supporting any google efforts.
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Re: Community support

Postby Hooray » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:17 am

Well, maybe you are right - there is a lack of information. I guess this is primarily because most people with an open source/programming background are likely to know about it. Maybe we should provide additional information about GSoC?

"Google Summer of Code" is a sponsorship program for students to get involved in open source projects, their contributions will be awarded with stipends of $ 5000 US. For open source projects, it is a great way for attracting new contributors, for students it is a great way for getting hands on experience doing "real work", for a real software development project. Developers who help mentor students, get awarded $ 500 US for their efforts.
I agree in that it would not really be directly useful for any efforts related to the local weather system at the moment.
For projects to be considered for GSoC, they should fulfill some criteria - such as keeping the student busy for several months.
Traditionally, mentoring support would be provided by core developers.

For open source projects this is not just a great way for possibly attracting new contributors, but also for getting important work done - i.e. work that requires programming on a full time basis for several months, work that cannot be easily done without having paid full time developers, which many open source projects lack.

So supporting a FlightGear GSoC application would not literally "support Google", but instead FlightGear. In fact, Google still gets to pick which open source projects and efforts they want to sponsor. Historically, they seem to focus a lot on key technologies that are sort of critical to their own business, i.e. by supporting Python, GCC, Apache, Mozilla etc

The Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is an annual program, first held from May to August 2005,[1] in which Google awards stipends of 5000 USD[2] to hundreds of students who successfully complete a requested free software / open-source coding project during the summer. The program is open to students aged 18 or over

The program invites students who meet their eligibility criteria to post applications that detail the software-coding project they wish to perform. These applications are then evaluated by the corresponding mentoring organization. Every participating organization must provide mentors for each of the project ideas received, if the organization is of the opinion that the project would benefit from them. The mentors then rank the applications and submit the ranked list to Google. Google then decides how many projects each organization gets, and selects the top-n applications for that organization, where n is the number of projects assigned to them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Summer_of_Code



Is it just me or is there no community support for the GSoC. I don't know why there would be, but very few people are contributing to the effort. So, seriously, is there any real support for this, or is it even worth the consideration? After all, if the community doesn't support it what's the point?


You only have to check out the wiki or the mailing lists to see that there is clearly lots of interest in GSoC, the bottleneck again is man power: particpating in GSoC requires a coordinated effort to get things in shape, writing up project ideas, finalizing the application template, looking for suitable students, finding capable mentors.

FlightGear has pretty much a track record of performing pretty badly in those departments, i.e. organizing long term efforts, planning and coordinating things. This is not due to the project itself, but simply due to a lack of people with sufficient spare time to do these sorts of things on a long term basis.
To my understanding, there is really lots of interest in attracting more contributors to get things done, but it isn't going to happen without some work in advance.

GSoC in particular requires some beaurocratic work.
This is something that developers in general, but also open source developers in particular are pretty bad at.
Simply because they are largely motivated by doing coding, and not by doing boring, redundant stuff.
On the other hand, other contributors (non coding), obviously feel that they are not qualified to start the whole application process, because they are simply no core developers.

So it's a vicious circle...
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Thanks & all the best,
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Re: Community support

Postby Nemesis » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:43 pm

I have to echo one of the points made above. I read as far as the word "Google" and moved on.
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Re: Community support

Postby willie » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:52 am

Nemesis wrote:I have to echo one of the points made above. I read as far as the word "Google" and moved on.

Yeah OK buuuut I'd be quite happy for Google to spend some of their money paying someone to work on flightgear.

Surely if you don't like google that makes it even better? :-)

Google are not going to go away and it's Google supporting us , not the other way round.

I'm theoretically the GSoC co-ordinator but Ive been that busy with RL that this topic has been up a few days before I got round to catching up with it. This just echoes one of the points made above - finding time to do this stuff.
However as we get closer to getting some action going on this , I will be specifically putting time aside for GSoC stuff. Right now, I just want to raise awareness, look for potential projects and candidates for both the coding and mentoring. Remember there is $5000 for the coders and $500 for the mentors if we are successful..... as well as the benefit of the code.

THe REAL benefit will be getting the project into shape such that we are able to participate. One major hurdle has been passed, perhaps serendipitously, by the adoption of git and the retiral of CVS.
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Re: Community support

Postby Hooray » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:07 am

Hi

Right now, I just want to raise awareness, look for potential projects and candidates for both the coding and mentoring.


I have recently added another paragraph to the newsletter to help raise awareness (the idea is to keep this paragraph in upcoming newsletter releases,too)

And another thing I did was adding a project proposal to the wiki that we talked about here before (pixelcity).

But it just occurred to me that given the frequent discussions/requests about adding OSGOcean support, I think that would seem like another potential project?

Just searching the forum and the mailing lists, makes it obvious that this is a rather popular request.
What do you think?

THe REAL benefit will be getting the project into shape such that we are able to participate. One major hurdle has been passed, perhaps serendipitously, by the adoption of git and the retiral of CVS.

I think that's really true, and another important step was the adoption of the bug tracker, and the new build server also seems like an excellent step in the right direction.
Please don't send support requests by PM, instead post your questions on the forum so that all users can contribute and benefit
Thanks & all the best,
Hooray
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