July 02, 2013 posted by Matthew Sporleder
Google Code-In (GCi) is a project like Google Summer Of Code (GSoC),
but for younger students. While GSoC is aimed at university students,
i.e. for people usually of age 19 or older, GCi wants to recruit
pupils for Open Source projects.
When applying for participation, every project had to create a large number of
potentially small tasks for students. A task was meant to be two hours of work of
an experienced developer, and feasible to be done by a person 13 to 18 years
old. Google selected ten participating organisations (this time, NetBSD
was the only BSD participating) to insert their tasks into Google Melange (the
platform which is used for managing GCi and GSoC).
Then, the students registered at Google Melange, chose a project they wanted to
work on, and claimed tasks to do. There were many chats in the NetBSD code
channel for students coming in and asking questions about their tasks.
After GCi was over, every organisation had to choose their two favourite
students who did the best work. For NetBSD, the choice was difficult, as there
were more than two students doing great work, but in the end we chose Mingzhe
Wang and Matthew Bauer.
These two "grand price winners" were given a trip to Mountain View to visit the
Google headquarters and meet with other GCi price winners.
You can see the results on the
corresponding wiki page
There were 89 finished tasks, ranging from research tasks (document how other
projects manage their documentation), creating howtos, trying out software on
NetBSD, writing code (ATF tests and Markdown converters and more), writing
manpages and documentation, fixing bugs and converting documentation from the
website to the wiki.
Overall, it was a nice experience for NetBSD. On the one hand, some real work
was done (for many of them, integration is still pending). On the other hand, it
was a stressful time for the NetBSD mentors supervising the students and helping
them on their tasks. Especially, we had to learn many lessons (you will find
them on the wiki page for GCi 2012), but next time, we will do much better.
We will try to apply again next year, but we will need a large bunch of new
possible tasks to be chosen again.
So if you think you have a task which doesn't require great prior knowledge, and
is solvable within two hours by an experienced developer, but also by a 13-18
year old within finite time, feel free to contact us with an outline, or write
it directly to the wiki page for Code-In
in the NetBSD wiki.