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Myriam Schweingruber: So you want to be a “Summer of Code” student…

Published Apr 15 2013 via RSS

… then here are some tips :)

Show us you are bright… and do your homework:

  • Read the documentation

We can’t be there for you 24/7, so don’t expect to be spoon-fed information you can look up in documentation available online. While you will probably never hear a RTFM from us (we are polite), we do expect coders to be able to document themselves. You will be given a lot of links to documentation to read in the welcoming mail, so please do that: read and learn!

  • Use your search engines and try to look up things on your own before asking.

In general, not doing some search on your own before asking questions is frowned upon, as it shows lazyness on your behalf.

  • Don’t send private mail to potential mentors, use the mailing list

KDE is a community and we work on our projects in a collaborative effort. While there is usually one mentor assigned to an idea, there are co-mentors and we do coordinate our work in the mailing list. If you want to work with us, please do use the right channels for that. It also greatly enhances the probability to get an answer, as there are more eyes to see your mail. Private mails from unknown people can easily get lost in a filter, especially if they are badly formatted and sometimes not even have a subject line… *cough*

  • Don’t ping people in IRC, and don’t open Queries without even asking if it is OK

There are some basic rules in IRC, all of which you can find online (search for “IRC Guidelines KDE”), so randomly pinging people you have never met or opening queries without asking beforehand are considered rude and are frowned upon. If you have an urgent matter, use the mailing list, not everybody is online all the time and not necessarily in your timezone. And if you ask a question on IRC, stick around so we can actually answer, don’t just leave after a few minutes. IRC is not for the impatient:

  • Be patient!

We are usually very much occupied with our every day work and life and simply can’t be at your service just because you are there NOW. We do our best to answer your requests and questions in a timely fashion, but don’t be impatient, that is not making things go faster.  Your request is usually not as urgent as YOU might think it is. Did you try to search online and in the documentation on your own? No? Why not?

Remember: there is life out there, and that is often in the way of answering your requests as fast as you would like it to happen.

  • Know what you are going to work on

You want to be a GSoC student but you don’t know your basic 101 of coding? Sorry, that is not for you, then. Consider applying for SoK instead. You need to at least have some basic knowledge of the business you want to get involved in. So if you want to participate, show us you know what you are talking about. The best way to show us is to do some coding beforehand, we have plenty of junior jobs with low hanging fruits.

  • You can’t choose what project is the best for you?

We can’t do that either, sorry, as we usually only just met you. Just telling us what coding language you know about is not helping either, as we assume that to be part of your 101 skills box. You are the one who needs to decide what to work on, how and in what time frame. You want to participate, then make your mind up, study, read, use the software you are planning to work on, that is the best way to find out if it is suitable for you. And do look at the proposals made by other students in previous years, Lydia did send a nice mail to the kde-soc@kde.org mailing list detailing that. You are not on that list? Well then what are you waiting for?

I am NOT detailing links here on purpose: the various mailing lists of KDE can easily be found online, and there have been dozens of mails from me or Lydia or other people with links and instructions that can all be looked up in the archives, most of that in the last 2 months which will help you narrow the search. These mails contain all you need to know :-)

All of the above applies mainly to GSoC, but also to OPW and SoK to some extend. Don’t recognize these terms? Are you sure you read the kde-soc@kde.org mailing list?

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