This is the page where people who want to apply to the Git project for the Google Summer of Code (GSoC), Outreachy, or other such mentoring programs can get information about what the Git project would like to see in an application.

Please read this page completely before focusing on a project or a microproject ideas, or microproject general information.

Microproject (required)

It is required that applicants who want to apply to the Git project for the GSoC or Outreachy complete a tiny, code-related “microproject” as part of their application. Please refer to our general guidelines and suggestions for microprojects for more information. Completing a microproject is not only an important way for us to get experience with applicants, but it will also help applicants become familiar with Git’s development and submission process.

Reviewing (not required but appreciated)

Also, working in Git project is not only about writing your own patches. Constructively critiquing design and implementation of patches by other people is also an important skill you need to learn in order to effectively collaborate with others. So, if you have time and inclination, it would be beneficial to read and understand other applicants’ patches (or any other patch submitted to the mailing-list), think if you agree that the problem they are trying to solve is worth solving, the approach they are taking is the best way (or if you think of a better way to solve it), etc., and respond to their patches with the result of your thinking as a review.

Application (required)

A complete application should include a presentation of yourself (include any argument that may convince mentors that you are able to complete the project) and detailed explanations about your project. See also the “Note about giving back and mentoring” below.

Project ideas are just … ideas! The list we provide is not exhaustive, and more importantly each idea only includes a summary of what is to be done. An application must include detailed plans on the design, timeline … A typical application takes several pages.

If you are applying for the GSoC, you should already have read the GSoC Contributor Guide by now, but re-read it if needed.

If you are applying for Outreachy there is very likely similar documentation on their web site that you should follow.

Please, include link(s) to the mailing-list discussion(s) related to your microproject in your application (e.g. linking to lore.kernel.org). If you participate in the review of other patches, then you may also include links to discussions that would support your application. Please also describe the status of the patches you have sent and maybe reviewed: Have they been merged already in an official branch maintained by Junio? What does Junio’s “What’s cooking in git.git” emails say about it? In general it’s a good idea to describe all your Git related work so far with a good amount of detail.

Applicants must send drafts of their proposal on the mailing-list before submitting it officially to GSoC or Outreachy to get feedback from the community. They are strongly encouraged to publish a draft on the official GSoC or Outreachy website and post it to the mailing list for discussion.

Getting your proposal right can follow the same process as usual patch submission for Git, as described in the microprojects page and in Documentation/SubmittingPatches in Git’s source code. It is also expected that you will send several versions of your draft, responding to comments on the list. Please plan to send the first draft early enough so that a number of reviews and improvements cycles can happen.

If you are not sure about your proposal, you can discuss that in the same email where you introduce yourself or in separate emails. Please use “[GSoC]” or “[Outreachy]” at the beginning of the subject of such emails.

Summary

In summary, all applicants must (not necessarily in this order):

In your application, and in the discussions related to projects you are interested in, it is a good idea to:

(lore.kernel.org can be used for searching the mailing list and linking to previous discussions.)

Note about the number of slots

The Git organization usually has very limited mentoring capacity. These days we usually accept around 2 or 3 students per season (Winter or Summer).

Note about giving back and mentoring

We appreciate very much students and interns who stay around after the mentoring period is over. It is very nice to see them on the mailing list, even if they don’t contribute much. It’s of course better when they continue to contribute though, even by just reviewing a patch from time to time.

Some people have been around for more than 10 years, others have become regular contributors and that’s great!

One very nice way to contribute and to give back is to mentor or co-mentor other students or interns coming after you. It helps create more opportunities for more students and interns like you, as mentoring capacity is the main factor preventing us from accepting more students and interns. If each student or intern accepted to co-mentor twice (for example once in Summer and once in Winter) just after they have been mentored, our mentoring capacity could increase significantly each year.

Even though successful former students/interns usually have adequate technical ability to be a successful mentor, unfortunately few of them have been willing to just co-mentor once along with an experienced mentor.

Other free or open source projects have done better than us on this. At the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit for example, more than 30% of the mentors were former students.

Here is a quote by a mentor (Carlos Fernandez Sanz) on the GSoC Mentors List, that describes very well how we see GSoC and Outreachy:

“GSoC is (for us, anyway) more about growing the community than getting stuff done. If they don’t stick around their value diminishes a lot, even if they do a great job […]. The students that did a great job but completely left the community […] are just a memory… the ones that have been with us and that are now mentors […], long after they participated in GSoC, are the ones we love :-)”

Consider showing us in your application previous mentoring, giving back and community activities that you have done, especially related to free or open source software.

Note about refactoring projects versus projects that implement new features

Over the years we have been favoring refactoring projects over possibly more interesting projects that implement new features. Refactoring projects are usually easier to do step by step, and to get code merged step by step which is encouraging.

In general refactoring projects are worthwhile to do even if the project is not finished at the end of the GSoC and even if the student or intern stops contributing after that. In those cases it is often a good idea to later finish the refactoring either by ourselves or by proposing it to another GSoC student or Outreachy intern. This way the work of both students and mentors is not likely to be wasted.

With a project that implements a feature, there is a risk, if it’s too complex or too difficult, that the feature will not be finished and that nothing, or nearly nothing, will have been merged during the GSoC or Outreachy internship. There is also the risk that another way to implement the feature will appear later in the GSoC or Outreachy internship, and all, or nearly all, the work of the student or intern and mentors will have been mostly wasted. It could also appear that the use cases the feature was envisioned to be used in, are better addressed by other improvements or a different workflow.

Another potential issue is that a new feature might be prone to naming or user interface discussions which could last for a long time or could not result in clear decisions.

Therefore we think that we should be very careful before proposing to an applicant, or accepting, a project that implements a new feature. People suggesting such a project should at least carefully consider the above potential issues and see if they can be mitigated before the project is submitted.

As suggested by Google (but this is true for Outreachy internships too), we emphasize that an applicant proposing something original must engage with the community strongly before and during the application period to get feedback and guidance to improve the proposal and avoid the above potential issues.

Note about getting involved early

The process of reviewing microproject patches and applications on the mailing list can take a lot of time. Depending on your experience and the tools you are already familiar with or not, it can also take some time to set up and get used to properly sending emails and patches to the mailing list, interacting with people on the mailing list, reading the documentation, getting used to the code base, etc. That’s why we strongly suggest getting involved very early, like several months, before the deadline.

The more we can see that you invest in learning and participating in Git’s development, the more we can be confident that you are motivated and will likely stay in the community.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have no chance at all of getting accepted if you get involved quite late. It depends on how other applicants are doing and how many available mentors we have or can find. But anyway you start with a significant handicap compared to other applicants who got involved early.

It might therefore be a good idea to find a project idea that is not yet being pursued by an applicant who started getting involved much earlier than you. This means that you might have to find a project idea that we haven’t proposed in our idea list.

The good side of this is that this project idea along with your enthousiasm for it and the skills you show might encourage Git developers to mentor you even if they weren’t planning to mentor in the first place. It could also happen that someone, who was only planning to co-mentor, could agree to fully mentor you alone.