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Subject: Re: Rockbox's Google Summer of Code 2012 Status

Re: Rockbox's Google Summer of Code 2012 Status

From: Nils Wallménius <>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2012 18:07:33 +0100

On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 4:20 PM, Austin Appel <> wrote:
> So then...
> Frank sent en email out on February 10th regarding what we need to pull
> together and do in order to participate in Google's Summer of Code (GSoC)
> program this year.  As you likely know (or have figured out), the response
> to the email was...underwhelming
> As the main drum-beater/organisation admin for Rockbox for GSoC, I have
> decided not to make the effort to apply for Summer of Code this year.
> I still would like to see us participate in future years.  I still feel that
> Google's Summer of Code is a great benefit to us as a project and the open
> source community at-large.  It funds Rockbox development, attracts new
> developers to our project, and just plain gets-stuff-done.
> If we decide that Google Summer of Code is still worth participating in (I
> can't be the only person who thinks so), there are a number of things we
> need to do before next year's application period:
> First, we need to re-evaluate how we feel about GSoC.  We were super-excited
> about it for the first number of years.  However, I (at least) get the
> general feeling that the community in general has a very blasé feeling
> towards GSoC now.  This is the main reason why I (and others) feel that it
> is best to take a year off.  I don't know what we need or what I am
> expecting of the Rockbox community to fix this, but something needs to be
> done.
> We need to completely re-visit the entire ideas list (
> ).  Most of these ideas are
> carried over from past years which many of us feel differently about now
> than we did in the past.  While we don't typically have official maintainers
> over specific areas of Rockbox, you all tend to specialise in a few areas.
>  I am sure there are ideas in your bucket list of things you would like to
> see implemented, but have no time for.  These can go on this page.  Of
> course, don't just put a single sentence listing the idea - flesh it out!
>  We could likely use the page as a sort of more-detailed version of
> .  Don't worry about
> difficulty level for now, but at least make sure it is something that could
> potentially take a few months for someone with a beginner-to-moderate skill
> level.
> Most importantly, we need core developers who are ready and willing to
> donate a bit of their time towards mentoring a student.  This doesn't take a
> massive amount of time (well, it shouldn't), as we tend to urge students
> towards using the community as their mentors, but some investment needs to
> be made.
> Feel free to discuss further - especially if you might have any ideas to
> help to fix this.
> - Austin 'scorche' Appel

This is (obviously) just my opinion about why GSoC is hard for us.

1) Rockbox is relatively feature complete on target. Any relatively
stand alone features to be added are either very niched to specific
hardware or specific uses (like, for example, usb host support,
obscure codecs and exotic dsp things) so the people excited about them
are not many and also not many people will feel knowledgeable enough
to mentor such a project.

2) The Big Things people* want are usually of an infrastructure nature
or depends on such a thing. Such ideas are also often not very
detailed so there will be some research work and need of good

3) Changing the core (infrastructure) (in an acceptable way) is not
easy, especially when not very familiar with the code, the community
or its history.

4) Communication, communication, communication. I've not been very
involved in the GSoC projects but tried to backup last summer and i
think the need for communication can not be pressed enough. It's easy
for a student to work away for a week on something and then send a
report mail on the friday and we see instantly that they chose an
approach that was not good for whatever reason or had a problem that
probably could have been solved more easily with the right questions
asked to the right people on irc.

I think demanding that the students are available on irc for a while
every day they work on the project is not unreasonable.

I also think that as much as possible of the student mentor
communication should go through open channels so others can chime in
and follow the project. I'm sure we have suggested this in the past.

* Read: "I :)"

End of rant

Received on 2012-03-08

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