[haiku] Re: Haiku accepted in Google Summer of Code 2009!

  • From: Ryan Leavengood <leavengood@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: haiku@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2009 16:52:29 -0400

On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 4:23 PM, Sean Healy <jalopeura@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> This puts students from European schools (at least EU schools - it may not
> apply to other European countries) in an awkward position. School here is
> from October to June, while Google's program seems to be organized around
> American schedules (September to April or May). I am already in school, and
> I will not be free of that commitment until three weeks into GSoC's coding
> period.

That schedule still leaves the majority of the summer available for
full-time or close to full-time work. My main complaint is directed at
overly ambitious students who think they can take summer classes and
also participate in the Summer of Code. In my experience that rarely
goes well and either would result in a failure in the GSoC, their
summer classes, or burnout.

If you think you can start some coding at the end of your semester,
then great. But if you are not expecting to work at all during those
three weeks, that is something that will be taken into account when
considering your application.

I do not control the GSoC schedule and there is no doubt some students
outside the US are at a disadvantage. But Google has to set the
schedule somehow, and they choose to make it favorable for American
students I suppose. Or more likely that is the lesser of all evils, so
to speak.

> Should students in the EU not even bother applying, then? I notice from the
> summary pages linked earlier that you mentored someone with a Polish name
> two years ago (on the package installer project), and the report seems to
> indicate a favorable result. Was he at an American university? Had he
> enrolled at a European school but not yet started classes? (I mention him
> because Poland is where I'm studying.)

Łukasz tried hard and produced something workable, but it could have
been a bit better. I do not know how much time he spent on it each
week because at that point I was not monitoring things that closely.

Last year my student did not complete any work at all on his GSoC
project because of taking summer classes. He was a nice person who got
involved in the community early on, and it saddened me to see this
happen. In my opinion he did not properly communicate his summer
schedule. We essentially wasted a spot because of that.

That experience is what has produced my new stricter approach to GSoC.

> I can't really say I disagree with any of this. It just cuts some of us
> completely out. If school doesn't end until after May 23, (and even worse,
> exam time doesn't even start until after that date), then how can we
> participate?

The reverse argument could be made that why should European students
get to "slack off" for the first month because of their school
schedules while Americans or others with "GSoC-friendly" schedules
have to work harder from the beginning? Again, the GSoC schedule is
not under our control.

Also, my opinion here does not represent what all the mentors think.
But there is no doubt that when comparing two applicants who are
otherwise equal, one who has a schedule more favorable to the GSoC
would be more likely to get picked.

As an alternative, if a student showed dedication and started working
5-10 hours a week before the coding period officially started, then
maybe some of this could be mitigated.

> Much of Haiku's user and developer base is located in the EU. It would be
> shame if we were cut off from this kind of opportunity.

No doubt. Saying cut-off is a bit extreme though.

> It's one thing to refuse to provide a recommendation, or to provide a
> painfully honest evaluation instead of a recommendation, and even sounding
> off within the Haiku community would probably be a reasonable reaction, but
> it sounds like you're saying you would electronically stalk such a student
> and make sure employers know what a stupid jerk he (or she) is.

No, I would not waste my time doing that. I would simply do the other
things you mentioned. My main point was just that students need to be
honest and forthright about their schedules and they should not expect
to be easily let off the hook if they do not. As I said I got burned
last year and I learned my lesson (though I honestly don't think last
year's student did any of this maliciously.)

> Your expectations don't seem out of line to me. Concerns about my school
> schedule were, after all, one of the reasons I posted in the first place.

Of course, I understand. Honestly I do not like having to be a
hard-ass about this, but previous experiences have taught me some
lessons. It is certainly unfair that some students might lose out
because of their school schedules, which are out of their control. But
in the same way we can lose out by picking the wrong students, and the
GSoC schedule is out of our control.

Such is life.


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