Report: GSoC Mentor Summit 2018

Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit Report


In mid-October Sumantro Mukherjee and Martin Bříza attended the Mentor Summit for this year’s Google Summer of Code in Sunnyvale, California, USA. Besides talking about the hard points of the program, its future direction and ways how to improve the participation in it, it’s a great place to discover many interesting open source software (and even hardware!) projects. And most importantly, you get to meet the people who stand behind those projects.

Google Summer of Code 2019

There will be a GSoC 2019, despite all the rumors about the project getting cancelled, which is a great news for all of us! The exact shape and form of the next year’s iteration has not been decided yet, but there was a session to gather input on the topic. Some of the more interesting suggestions were to do two separate programs for both hemispheres, for example.

Google Season of Docs

This was an exciting new announcement by Google because up until now, GSoC has been focused only on the coding, which was a delimiting participation of FLOSS enthusiasts who cannot or don’t want to code. Google is still gathering and processing input on this topic, but the current tentative plan is for it to start it’s first run no later than next end of April 2019 with the GSoD the orgs being announced.  GSoD will be targeted towards people experienced Technical Writers, passion to improve projects will mostly be the driving factor. GSoD will mainly focus on increasing awareness of OSS and OSS Docs as a spectrum of contribution to mainstream technical writers. Google envisions this program which will help OSS projects to implement a brand new doc site or refactor the existing ones, setting up high-impact infographic tutorials which students can follow easily.


The Mentor Summit is organized as an unconference, that means anybody can propose a topic for a session and then these proposals get voted on and the most popular ones are actually held in an assigned room at the venue.

There were a bunch of sessions organized by Google, especially those about announcements or to talk about GSoC itself. The topics of the rest then varied greatly. Martin attended sessions on how to get new mentors and then a session on how to actually keep them during the Summer (those are actually two different topics). There was also a very informative session about FLOSS licensing that means the difference between various licenses, their compatibility and what they actually mean to the authors and the users, from the point of view of a lawyer.

Some of the other topics tackled during the weekend were for example Open Robotics, Open Science and of course Open Source games.

Sumantro attended the sessions related to GSoD and what can be done to improve the documentation of projects. Sumantro deep dived in discussions and talks where the focus was Google Code. A better understanding of what a bite size task and about the upcoming deadlines were mostly the two key takeaways. He spent a lot of time understanding how other Orgs are participating in GSoC and GCI. Mostly focusing on, how to retain contributors in their projects.

This year’s GCI is underway Fedora has taken part with 200+ tasks being mentored and completed so far by 100+ students.

The chocolate table at Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit 2018 , Sunnyvale CA

Chocolate Table and Swags

This was definitely a blast, we had chocolates coming in from different parts of the world.
Google puts out a lot of swags for mentors to take for themselves and their community members. This time there were a lot of t-shirts, pens, stickers, GSoC socks 🙂
It was a fun experience. Here’s a pic 🙂

Prepping for next GSoC Mentor Summit

There are few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure to write a clear objective proposal for “why” do you want to chosen for Mentor summit to the Org Admins. This may include how your presence will benefit the project.
  • Collaboration and expressing yourself is important, make sure to submit a talk about how and what your students worked on throughout the GSoC. Keep in mind, you will be given on 2 mins and the pitch shouldn’t ideally contain much about the org rather should contain the best thing the students have created that summer.
  • Carry chocolates and a big bag to carry swags back with you (you’ll get a lot). Plan ahead how you will share the swag with your fellow contributors.

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1 Comment

  1. Looks like it was a great visit! Thanks for the event write-up, I enjoyed reading.

    > A better understanding of what a bite size task and about the upcoming deadlines were mostly the two key takeaways.

    I’m curious to know more about defining bite-sized tasks. I’m doing similar work in CommOps to try and divide up larger work into smaller, more novice-friendly pieces. Any insight?

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