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openSUSE:GSOC application form

tagline: From openSUSE

This is the information we will use to fill our application form for GSoC 2014.

Organization Name:



openSUSE is a community project to promote the use of Linux everywhere, focusing on the openSUSE distribution itself but also on infrastructure tools like the Build Service, that are used by other projects (Meego, for example). The openSUSE project delivers everything that developers and enthusiasts need to get started with Linux.

We are a worldwide project, with a community of people with different levels of expertise, speaking different languages and having different cultural backgrounds, and we embrace a wide variety of technology. We rely on contributions from the community and this is why we have opened the access to our development process, and we are working on extensive community development programs.

Home page:


Main Organization License:

GNU General Public License (GPL)

Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2013? What do you hope to gain by participating?

We are applying for many different reasons:

  • we hope to attract new members in our community via our participation. This includes the students who would participate, but also people who would look at our tasks and find that what we're working on is fun!
  • we believe the project ideas we have are covering many different topics and technologies, from deep low-level programming and packaging to marketing and design, and those will be of interest to potential participants.
  • over the years we've had a number of successful students who have helped make openSUSE, and open-source in general, better. We hope to continue that tradition this year :-)
  • We also collaborate with various open source projects like oyranos, ownCloud, syslog, hedgewars to name a few.

Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation.

Yes. We participated in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Each year, has brought improvements to the openSUSE distribution and also to the surrounding infrastructure that support the project. The students have brought value and quality and have helped improve the overall project, with some students staying around, which is our biggest pride.

We believe missing students is possibly the hardest challenge, and ensuring that they remain motivated and balance their time appropriately.

If your organization participated in past GSoCs, please let us know the ratio of students passing to students allocated, e.g. 2006: 3/6 for 3 out of 6 students passed in 2006.

2009: 6/9

2011: 13/14

2012: 9/12

2013: 10/12

What is the URL for your ideas page?


What is the main development mailing list for your organization? This question will be shown to students who would like to get more information about applying to your organization for GSoC 2013. If your organization uses more than one list, please make sure to include a description of the list so students know which to use.

For GSoC communication, we will use the opensuse-project mailing list (http://lists.opensuse.org/opensuse-project/). This is also our main project mailing list -- we want students to dive in the community :-)

To subscribe, please see http://en.opensuse.org/Communicate/Mailinglists#Development_Lists

What is the main IRC channel for your organization?

#opensuse-project (on freenode)

Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now. Please note that it is a very good idea to ask students to provide you with their contact information as part of your template. Their contact details will not be shared with you automatically via the GSoC site.

Title (What is the project you are requesting to complete)

Abstract (Please provide a high level view to the project)

Detailed Description

Background (Please provide detailed information on the project and also include the openFate request link if possible.)

Use Cases (Please provide an example use case scenario)

Benefits (Who will benefit from this project & why/how)

Caveats (Please list and caveats you feel applicable)

Technical Details (Please fill out all the technical aspects of the project, try and be as clear and detailed as possible.)

Why Me (Please explain why you feel you are a suitable candidate to complete this project.)

Do you have long term plans to contribute to the project and if so how do you plan to do so?

Contact Information (IRC nick, e-mail, IM)

What criteria did you use to select the individuals who will act as mentors for your organization? Please be as specific as possible:

Individual with a successful previous GSoC experience should obviously be well-qualified, but we also are explicitly inviting people with some form of coaching experience to be mentors. Of course, we're looking at individuals with a proven track record within our community.

An important factor is the communication skills (since we do want the mentors to communicate with the students, and avoid a situation where they don't talk to each other), and we also try to have a varied mix of technical abilities so that we can cover as many potential topics as possible. The secondary mentors are also required to have the same skill sets as the primary mentors.

All mentors need to display a strong motivation for the GSoC project and openSUSE, and should aim to ensure our community reach our GSoC goals.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?

The student selection process is the first defense for disappearing students. We will try to ensure students who have additional commitments during the GSoC coding period, are able to prioritize workload and also is aware of the requirements. Ideally we aim to avoid situations where students are overloaded with work.

All students will be required to submit weekly reports to their mentors (both primary and secondary) as well as to the Admin team. This will enable tracking of progress and also provides the opportunity for others to spot any issues. There will be public status announcements on the projects - this will be done via mailing list, IRC and also blog posts.

When the coding period begins, the students and their mentors will have the opportunity to review and adapt their project schedules to insure that all project scopes are realistic.

Keeping the students motivated and involved will also be a key deterrent to truancy.

From this year onwards, we have proposed a set of guidelines to deal with the problem, both from the perspective of mentors and students.
openSUSE Guidelines for Students

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?

Each student will have a primary mentor, with an additional secondary mentor available should the need arise. The admin team will ensure that all mentor/student teams provide weekly reports to them so that should there be a need for a replacement, they are brought up to speed rapidly. If a replacement is required it will be documented and announced to the community.

What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?

All students will be encouraged to get involved in the mailing lists and IRC channels which are applicable to their chosen subject matter. Prior to any coding all students will be able to brainstorm all their ideas for potential projects with the community, using our openFATE facility to enable community voting if needed. This will allow the students to see what the community would like to see developed.

During the coding period, the students must send weekly updates to the openSUSE Project mailing list. They will be encouraged to share their thoughts, problems, and decisions with the community. The community will also have the opportunity to engage with the students and provide assistance if needed.

The ultimate goal for openSUSE with GSoC is to have at the end of the period motivated, competent community members willing and wanting to take a more active role in the overall project.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the Google Summer of Code program administration team? :

It's worth pointing out that we're big proponents of cross-distribution collaboration, and we do want to have students working on cross-distribution topics.

We already got interest from several students who looked at our ideas page and contacted us.

It might be that we will not have the openSUSE Foundation setup in time to receive the $500/student. We're currently investigating options to deal with this situation, but we'll either choose to get this money sent to another organization we support, or we'll leave the money to Google for future GSoC (or Code-In).