[OpenAFS] Google Summer of Code

Simon Wilkinson sxw@inf.ed.ac.uk
Wed, 24 Feb 2010 19:32:41 +0000

In about 2 weeks time, Google will start taking applications from =
mentoring organisations for this year's Summer of Code[0]. OpenAFS has =
been a mentoring organisation for the last 2 years, and intends to apply =
again this year. Summer of Code has been a great experience for those of =
us involved in it, and has produced real benefits for the community - =
we've gained both new developers, and significant new functionality as a =
result of it. It would be great to continue this with this year's event.

As part of our application, we need to provide Google with a realistic =
list of potential projects which students may undertake. In addition, =
students are invited to propose their own choice of project. We also =
need a pool of people who are interested in mentoring students =
undertaking those projects.

So, we need:

*) Project proposals
*) Mentors
*) Students

Project Proposals

A good project proposal is one that provides an interesting, =
challenging, but achievable goal for the student. In total, they have 12 =
weeks to work on the proposal, and we want to make the best use of that =
time - thus projects which require lengthy waits for standardisation =
work, or those which require knowledge of the entire AFS codebase are =
likely to be less successful than ones which are focussed on a smaller =
area of the code. The proposal should lay out the nature of the problem, =
the necessary skills that the student should have (language knowledge, =
etc), and the skills that the student will gain through working on it. =
Lists to further background reading are very useful, and an estimated =
difficulty level can be helpful in attracting the right student.

It's hugely helpful if the proposer of the project is also prepared to =
mentor, although I don't believe that it's essential if someone else is =
prepared to take on that role.


The mentor is the link between the student and the AFS community. It's a =
hugely rewarding position. Ideally you're available to your student to =
answer questions throughout the Summer of Code process - it's estimated =
that mentoring requires a time commitment of between 5 and 10 hours a =
week. Mentors don't have to be brilliant coders, or conversant with =
every area of OpenAFS. Knowing who, and how, to ask is far more =
important than knowing the code inside out. In fact, mentoring can be a =
great way of improving your own knowledge of OpenAFS - I picked up most =
of what I know about the kernel module through answering Dragos's =
questions when he was writing disconnected support.

We need at least one, and ideally 2, mentors for every project that goes =


Finally, we need to attract students. In the past, these have tended to =
be new to the community, although if there is anyone reading this who =
wants to take part, it would be great to hear from you too - you don't =
need to wait till the programme starts to speak to us!

Also, given the academic background of many OpenAFS users, if those of =
you at Universities have students who might be interested, please do let =
them know. There's a great opportunity for them to do significant work, =
and to gain skills that can lead to future employment (at least two of =
our former SoC students gained employment as a result of skills they'd =
learnt during summer of code).

Students receive, from Google, a payment of $5000 if they complete the =
program [1]

I look forward to hearing from you all...



[0] http://socghop.appspot.com/
[1] =