The Appeal of Google Summer of Code
Written by Sue Gee   
Thursday, 21 March 2024

With the list of participating organizations now published, it is time for would-be contributors to select among them and apply for Google Summer of Code (GSoC). Rust has joined in the program for the first time ever, while Qdrant, which found itself rejected for 2024 having participated last year, has announced its own program.

Now in its twentieth year, Google has a good record as a matchmaker between novice developers and open source organizations through its Summer of Code program. Recently, however, GSoC has undergone a significant transformation so that now anybody new to open source can participate in the program even if they have a lot of programming experience.  

This video serves to introduce the updated GSoC and has advice for newbies presented by experienced mentors:

Takeaways from the video are:

  • Google Summer of Code is an online mentorship program that matches beginner contributors to open-source software development with mentors from a wide range of open-source projects.
  • GSoC contributors have the opportunity to write code on a real-world software project that is used by thousands or even millions of people.
  • GSoC is open to new or beginner contributors to open-source software development and students. All participants must be 18 years or older.

According to Google, the most successful GSoC contributors are interested in learning new skills and being part of the open-source community and the video offers the following advice.

  • Once Google has announced the mentor organizations, potential participants should review the accepted organizations and look for project ideas that align with their interests.
  • Reach out to the mentor organizations before applying. This interaction is key to an individual being accepted into the program as a GSoC contributor.
  • The earlier a potential participant makes contact with an open-source project and interacts with the community to show their interest in the project, the better their chances of being selected to be a GSoC contributor.
One aspect not mentioned in video is the stipend awarded to contributors.The amount varies according to the length of project and your location. For a standard 12-week project in the US the base amount is $3,000 paid in 2 installments after satisfactory evaluations. To ensure fairness in remuneration Google uses a "Purchasing Power Parity" formula to estimate the exchange rate for other currencies.

This year 195 organizations have been selected to take part, including 30 that are new to the program. Rust is one of the first-time participants and pasted on it blog:

This is the first time that the Rust Project is participating in GSoC, so we are quite excited about it. We hope that participants in the program can improve their skills, but also would love for this to bring new contributors to the Project and increase the awareness of Rust in general. We will publish another blog post later this year with more information about our participation in the program.

In order to accept new orgs, older ones have to be dropped and this can come as a blow to organisations that have seen the benefit of having eager, new contributors. Quadrant was among this group and decided to host its own Summer of Code, based on Google's well-established model. Announcing this it blogged:

Qdrant participated successfully in the program last year. Both projects, the UI Dashboard with unstructured data visualization and the advanced Geo Filtering, were completed in time and are now a part of the engine. One of the two young contributors joined the team and continues working on the project.

It hopes to attract, and pay stipends to, three new contributors and has outlined five proposals.

Last year Haskell followed a similar route, having gained sponsors for nine projects and its reported the end of the year suggested that the outcome was largely successfully. However the project is pleased that it is on the 2024 list of official GSoc Mentoring organizations. 

Contributor applications will opened on March 18, 2024 and the deadline to submit applications (including project proposals is April 2, 2024 18:00 UTC. 


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 21 March 2024 )