GSoC:2010 Mentor Application

Erik Massop edited this page Nov 4, 2017 · 1 revision

2010 application below

  • Group Name:

    • XMMS2
  • Home Page URL:

  • Public Email:

  • Description:

    • XMMS2 is the spiritual successor to the very successful XMMS project. The creators of XMMS got together in 2002 and spun out the XMMS2 sister project, the idea was from the beginning to correct some of the early mistakes in XMMS design. The project grew and is now conceptually very different from XMMS. The team behind XMMS2 focuses on audio quality, freedom of choice and powerful organization features. Community-wise the team is around 15-20 regular contributors and over 70 people have at some time contributed to XMMS2.
  • Why is your group applying to participate? What do you hope to gain by participating?

    • This will be the fifth year we apply for GSoC and we still have the same motivation, because it's great fun! The most valuable outcome of the GSoC for us is to introduce new developers to our community. We think the code they do is awesome, but most of the time the best work done by these students are after the GSoC period. We hope to gain new, hungry and interesting people as developers!
  • What is the main public mailing list for your group?

  • Where is the main IRC channel for your group?

      1. xmms2 at freenode
  • What criteria do you use to select the members of your group? Please be as specific as possible.

    • We use a separate questionnaire for would-be students. This questionnaire puts a lot of focus on if the student has participated in the XMMS2 community or other Open Source projects before. We won't accept people who seems to fill in the questionnaire with boilerplate answers, i.e. we take it very seriously. We also focus on the technical description of the implementation in question. We do a lot of follow-up questions and usually the proposals are sent back and forth a couple of times. This year we will also focus more on the life situation, as past experience has shown that not being able to put a lot of time on the GSoC usually leads to sub-standard contributions.
  • Has your group participated previously? If so, please summarize your involvement and any past successes and failures.

    • We participated in the GSoC for the past four years and we feel that we achieved very successful outcomes. We also learned a lot during the process. There have of course been failures as well. These include disappearing students and failures to merge the topic-branches afterwards. Regarding disappearing students our plan is outlined below. The failure to merge the topic-branches when GSoC ends is going to be handled by the student merging smaller parts during the SoC instead of a huge patch in the end of the period. We will also avoid letting students work on projects which depend on XMMS2 features that are not fully cooked and ready.
  • If your group has not previously participated, have you applied in the past? If so, for what sort of participation?

  • What license does your organization use?

    • LGPL/GPL v2
  • What is the URL to the ideas list of your organization?

  • What is the main development mailing list for your group?

  • What is the application template you would like contributors to your organization to use.

  • What is your plan for dealing with disappearing contributors?

    • Our plan from the last couple of years (the remote, solar-powered deadly nanobot-driven anaconda) has sadly proved ineffective. It turns out that nanobots are viable, but solar-power isn't enough just yet; half the team is now looking into cold fusion to power it instead. In the meantime, we will focus on choosing the right students in the first place. This means an extensive chat with all the serious candidates, to try to determine how available, reliable and honest they are. We will also ask a detailed project/work history (FOSS or not), to check whether the student has already proven to be capable of completing a project. New for this year is also that the administrator (Tobias) will host weekly IRC meetings with all students and mentors to make sure to check progress. Someone very wise once said: "If your student hasn't checked in code by the mid-term evaluation or if your student can't make themselves available to discuss the review, fail them. If you're not 85% certain that the student will continue with the project, fail them! Work with your students to set up expectations; if your student doesn't follow these expectations, but you're happy, Google doesn't care. But if you're not happy, then reiterate your expectations to the student and make sure they understand them. If they still don't live up to their expectations, ask them to leave." (Leslie Hawthorn)
  • What is your plan for dealing with disappearing members?

    • We always plan at least one backup mentor for each project, i.e. someone who has the time and expertise to step in if the original mentor had to disappear for a while, either as a planned absence or not. The community on the IRC channel can sometimes also help answer questions students might have even when no official members are available. In practice, we have never had a problem with a mentor disappearing.
  • What steps will you take to encourage contributors to interact with your community before, during, and after the program?

    • Hanging around on IRC will be a requirement, we will see non-IRCing as desertion. We will show our patented kindness and interest in the students work and persona.
  • What will you do to ensure that your accepted contributors stick with the project after the program concludes?

    • We do not think it's possible to convince students to stick with the project unless they are interested in it in the first place. For this reason, we want to favor the participation of students who show a genuine interest in XMMS2, not just in a single GSoC task: (1) students who are already regular contributors and members of the community and who have a contribution to make in the context of GSoC, and (2) students who convince us of their unlimited passion for XMMS2 in their application form (among other things, we ask "why are you interested in XMMS2, what do you think you could bring to it, and what are the things you can think of to make XMMS2 an even better project?"). Obviously, a friendly community and lots of communication also help keeping good students during and after GSoC.
  • Please select your backup group administrator.
    • Anders Waldenborg
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