I submitted a project proposal to participate in this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC). As I am curious about the DRM subsystem and have already started to work in contributing to it, I was looking for an organization that supports this subsystem. So, I applied to the X.Org foundation and proposed a project to Improve VKMS using IGT GPU Tools. Luckily, in May 4th, I received a e-mail from GSoC announcing that I was accepted! Happy happy happy!
Observing a conversation in #dri-devel channel, I realized that my project was the only one accepted on X.Org. WoW! I have no idea why the organization has only one intern this year, and even more, that this is me! Imediately after I received the result, Trevor Woerner congratulated me and kindly announced my project on his Twitter profile! It was fun to know that he enjoyed the things that I randomly posted in my blog, and was so nice to see that he read what I wrote!
Advices, not sure, but I can report the submission experience
From time to time, someone appears on communication channels of FLUSP (FLOSS@USP) asking how to participate in GSoC or Outreachy. They are usually trying to answer questions about the rules of participation and/or obtain reports from former participants. In my opinion, we have in Brazil many high-qualified IT people who, for some reason, do not feel safe to invest in a career abroad. They are very demanding with themselves. And I believe that groups like FLUSP can be a means of launching good developers internationally.
By viewing this contribution window, I consider it worthwhile to report some actions that I took in my application process.
First, take seriously, and do it as soon as possible.
About a year ago, I took my first efforts to understand the project and the Linux community. But that doesn’t mean you need a year in advance for that. What I mean is that, for a project like Linux, I had to dedicate enough hours studying, understanding, and trying to develop my first contributions. And I, in particular, did not feel skilled enough to propose anything for the community. Participating in GSoC was not my initial plan. What I wanted (and still want) is to become a high-skilled developer of the Linux kernel project.
Second, take your first contribution steps.
Many times I prepared the environment, started to work on some things, and then ended up blocked by all the doubts that arose when I dived into all these lines of code. Breathe… Better start with the basics. If you have someone who can mentor you, one way is to work “with her/him.” Find issues or code that s/he participates so you can start a conversation and some guidance. I prefer a “peer-to-peer” introduction than a “broadcast” message for the community. And then, things fly.
When the organizations are announced…
Ask the community (or the developers you have already developed a connexion) if any of the organizations would contemplate the system you are interested in proposing a project. You can propose something that you think relevant, you can look for project suggestions within organizations, or you can (always) ask. Honestly, I’m not very good at asking. In the case of X.Org Foundation, you can find tips here, and suggestions and potential mentors here and here.
Write your proposal and share!
As soon as you can.
In your proposal, you should introduce yourself and show what you already know so far, that is, make your portfolio. Also, try to be as transparent as possible about tasks, describe everything you already know about the issues, estimate time, and make a schedule. Finally, propose productions in addition to code (documentation, tutorial, blog posts). I think this content production will help your work and also the well-monitoring of your activities. Moreover, it is a way to spread the word and track development issues.
I wasn’t fast enough to share my project, but I saw how my proposal evolved after I received the community feedback. The feature of “create and share” is available in the GSoC application platform using Google Docs. I think my internship work plan became more potent due to share my document and apply all suggestions.
Approved and now? I am the newer X.Org developer
After the welcome, Siqueira and Trevor also gave me some guidance, reading, and initial activities.
To better understand the X.Org organization and the system I will be working on in the coming months, I have read the following links (still in progress):
Hands on, it has already started!
Well, time to revisit the proposal, organize daily activities, and check the development environment. Before the GSoC results, I was working on some kworkflow issues and so, that’s what I’ve been working on at the moment. I like to study “problem-oriented”, so to dissect the kw, I took some issues to try to solve. I believe I can report my progress in an upcoming post.
To the next!