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The Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a Google program that encourages students to contribute to Open Source projects during the summer. More information about the program is on the GSoC home page, from where this quote is taken:[1]

"Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects."

This page lists projects that setiQuest project has identified for GSoC students. setiQuest is a new Open Source project, and we could use a lot of help with it. Feel free to check out our current SonATA code[2] on GitHub and propose new projects. This Wiki also has a Project Ideas page on other projects that can be expanded into GSoC projects.

We have been collecting the list of questions potential GSoC participants have asked us. If you have questions, please check our GSoC FAQ first to see if your issue has already been addressed. In addition, based on specific project questions we are enhancing project pages, so please keep checking them too.



Status 2011

The demand to be a SETI Institute GSoC intern resulted in an unprecedented 59 applications. To help in the selection process the GSoC applicants were asked to take a quiz.[3] The competition was fierce. Unfortunately Google decided to award only 2 slots to the setiQuest project. This was a huge disappointment to the staff at the SETI Institute who had invested a great deal of effort into the GSoC process. The 2 funded slots went to the Algorithms and SonATA Porting projects.[4]

Many of the students who were not selected expressed an interest to work on the unfunded GSoC projects on a volunteer intern basis. See the 3D Array Visualization and Telescope Simulator open source project pages.

The two funded GSoC projects were successfully completed at the end of the summer.


In 2011 the setiQuest project attempted to use GSoC as a tool to infuse life into our fledgling open source efforts. The setiQuest project didn't have the infrastructure to support this and we tried to use GSoC in a manner that it wasn't intended. It turned out that using GSoC as a tool to build an open source community was a very bad idea. Open source just doesn't work like that. GSoC was simply the wrong tool for the job.[5]

A critical analysis of GSoC 2011's impact on the setiQuest project revealed these 4 points:[6]

  1. GSoC was a huge time sink. It is estimated that hundreds of hours of effort were expended managing and mentoring the GSoC 2011 program. There was only so much project-time to go around and those hundreds of hours of internal effort could of been focused on the setiQuest community. Redirecting that energy elsewhere allowed the level of community forum traffic to wither.
  2. GSoC students are transitory and they didn't attempt to be part of the setiQuest community. This is understandable since it would of been a distraction and interfere with their paid work.
  3. GSoC had the effect of alienating the community. Two GSoC students were selected which was great for them but not for the 57 others who were not selected. Amazingly a large number of the non-selected students wanted to help and be free SETI Institute interns. It started strong but then unfortunately the free intern effort fizzled out. It is suspected that the pain of working side-by-side with two of their peers who were getting paid was too great.
  4. GSoC put a price tag on the cost of software contributions. This has had a negative impact on future contributions.

None of these are good ways to build a strong setiQuest community.

After considering this, the setiQuest project decided not to participate in GSoC 2012.[7] Participating in GSoC 2013 is a possibility and will require a new strategy.

It has been suggested that the best way to proceed with GSoC is to first build an active development community around an open source project. Then use the GSoC internship as a reward for a promising participating student (or two) who has demonstrated their commitment to the setiQuest project. This sort of arrangement builds community, encourages long-term participation, greatly simplifies the GSoC student selection process, and is how Google intends the GSoC process to operate.[8]

See also



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