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Google Summer of Code at 52°North 2013


UPDATED 52°North welcomes four students into their communities for Google Summer of Code 2013!

The Google Summer of Code 2013 was announced in February ( and we at 52°North have been eagerly waiting for this to happen. We had a great summer last year (GSoC2012) and look forward to another great summer!

About the Programme

"... the more code out there, the more everyone benefits."

Google Summer of Code (informally sometimes GSoC) is a program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects, more info here. 52°North plans to apply to the program with project ideas from all communities to connect with prospective developers of our Open Source software from all over the world. In short, a student will get paid $5000 by Google to work on 52°North software for 3 months during the summer, and will be advised by a mentor from a 52°North partner organisation.

Read more about GSoC and its goals.


This is the 52°North perspective on the schedule, please see the steps of the program and the official programm timeline as well.

When What
Now Would-be student participants discuss application ideas with mentoring organizations.
May 27th 21:00 CEST Accepted students are announced.

We also have a common Google Calendar for all related activities at 52°North. Please feel free to add your personal deadlines and schedule your calls with mentors/students:


In 2013 we (again) have four students working on projects in three of our communities. Find out all information here: GSoC2013Projects.


Mailing list:, which is also available in a forum view:

Discussion of topics, contact to potential mentors > community mailing lists:

Chat: irc:// (What is IRC?)

The 52°North organization administrators ("org admins", see What is the role of an organization administrator?) for GSoC are Jan Schulte (main student contact; and Daniel Nüst (main mentor contact;, IRC: dnlnst, Skype: danielnuest). Please feel free to contact them with any questions and give them feedback on how the program works from your point of view.

Organisation Details

For Partners and Communities

52°North offers all partners to act as a an umbrella organisation respectively the contact hub with Google ("organisation administrator"). After finding mentors from the communities and partner organisations we will derive a list of project ideas together with the mentors. 52°North staff will provide support during the application evaluation, the mentoring phase and the project evalution, and also organise backup mentors in the event the original mentor cannot continue the program.

For Mentors

If you are interested in working as a mentor for a software project within the realm of 52°North, please contact Daniel (d.nuest

Some important points to know are:
  • The entire program is run online, so it is expected from you to be responsive to email and chat contacts.
  • Projects must be Open Source and mentors must at least be committers for the corresponding project.
  • GSoC is not a recruiting program... but you do have the chance to get to know ambitious students interested in software development.
  • Include roughly 5 hrs/week for mentoring in your schedule for the mentoring period, June 17tht to September 16th (a bit more in the end and in the evaluation phases, as it is with all projects).
  • 52°North staff can support you if you have absences during the mentoring period - going on holidays is not an issue :-).
  • Be aware that you just get out what you put in. 5, 8 or 10 hours per week is not much at all when you get 20, 30 or 40 hrs worth of work done for you in return. The student's performance scales with the mentor's support!
  • Follow the guidelines in DOs and DON'Ts of Google Summer of Code: Mentor Edition, take a look at the Mentor Manual, or at least read the quick guide.
Now, add your idea to the GSoC2013ProjectIdeas.

Then register yourself as a mentor at melange (please let Daniel know if this works for you):
  1. Register as a mentor: (login to a Google account required).
  2. Fill-in or update your profile, agree to terms, Submit.
  3. Send an email to Daniel (d.nuest @ containing your Melange username. The username is shown on your dashboard page at the top "You are logged in as ... [username: <YOUR_USERNAME>]"
  4. Accept the invitation to become a mentor.

For Students

"Flip bits, not burgers."

Important steps for students: If you have any questions, please ask then on the GSoC mailing list at 52°North or contact Jan (

Preparing for an application

Apart from the guidelines linked above (read them!) you can show your capabilities in general and interest in a particular project idea by doing the following:
  • Read this information about the Student Proposal Period:
  • If you want to ask questions about projects, please do so on the GSoC mailing list so that all students can learn from the answers.
  • Read the respective community mailing list carefully to see what is currently ongoing (see step five above). Then (!) introduce yourself on the community mailing list and hang out in the chatroom.
  • If the project extends and existing software, download and install the software, get acquainted. If it is a web service, try to make yours publically available.
  • Make small changes to the codebase and share these with the project mentors.
  • See if there are open bugs you can fix or small features to implement - contact the code manager for details!
  • Share software that you already developed (yourself, or with clearly marked contributions if it is a larger project) with the mentors and org admins.
These things are very important if you want to make a great impression.

During the summer

Your end of the bargain
  • Active communication with mentors and within the community (direct email contact with mentors, mailing lists, IRC).
  • Full time work on an interesting software development assignment.
  • Weekly status reports on Mondays before 18:00 CEST to the 52N GSoC mailing list, see format description below which is based on the codehaus guide.
  • Maintain a wiki page or blog to document your project.
  • Write three extensive (images, screencasts) blog articles (beginning, around mid-term evaluation/first prototype, after project is finished) for the 52°North Blog UPDATED
  • Follow our internal GSoCGuidelines.
  • A lot of fun coding!
Our end of the bargain
  • Your mentors respond in a timely manner.
  • You are introduced to a open source commnity which also supports your project.
  • The org administrators give support for organisational issues and in case a mentor cannot perform his duties.
The status of reports and related activites (blog entries, ...) is tracked on the status page.
Weekly Status Update Email Format

Subject: <community name (Geoprocessing, Sensor Web, ...)> <project> status update <date of the Monday>

  • What you've completed in the last week.
  • What you're working on for the next week (7 days).
  • Are there any blockers (infrastructure, mentors, holidays, assistance)?
Email has to be sent to the 52°North GSoC mailing list Other organisations do this too, and it has proven to be a very useful mechanism.

Application Template

Please use the following template if you want to participate in GSoC with 52°North. If you need further information or have questions regarding the template please contact Daniel ( or join us at #52north.

We are looking forward to your application!

Please include the following contents in your application. There is no further template to give you the space for a creative and persuasive application, but you could check out the Wordpress GSoC 2011 application template for some hints. Please do not verbatim copy text from the ideas page, or from other people's discussions about your project, but rewrite it in your own words. If you include any significant text or code from another source in your application, it must be accompanied with a proper citation. All papers or references that you use or plan to use must also be cited. Put all this in a "References" section at the bottom of your application.

Personal Details
  • Name
  • Contact details (email, personal website, Skype, IRC nick, phone number, location/time zone)
  • University/School name
  • Short bio
  • Description: Include a link to the description on the ideas page or make clear if this is your own suggestion. Also include potential mentors in the latter case.
  • Preliminary Schedule (milestones and deliverables, planned working hours, and potential other commitments)
  • If you want to impress the mentors: include a Scrum backlog.
  • Motivation (This might, but does not have to, include answers to questions such as: Why 52°North? Why this project? Why Open Source? Why are you suited to carry the project?)
  • Relation of project to ongoing studies (if applicable)
  • (Open Source) software development experience (including example applications)
  • Programming level
  • Work experience
  • Academic experience and performance
  • References (software projects, advisors, teachers, colleauges, former mentors on Google Summer of Code)

A good proposal...

Check the following items with your proposal before submitting it, and submit it if you can say "yes" to most questions.
  • Is my project description longer and more detailed than the one on the ideas page?
  • Do I use text formatting (links are hyperlinks, headlines bold) to make the text more readable?
  • Do I use the correct names (e.g. "52°North", not "52 North", "the 52", ...) and pay attention to details?
  • Do I include all the content suggested in the template, but still have my own style/partitioning to stand out?


Wherevery you go, please spread the word about Google Summer of Code and if you can please mention that 52°North is a mentoring organisation. To help you with that you can use the following materials:

Lessons Learned from Previous Years

Other's Lessons

Own Lessons

  • Deduplication
  • Mentor mentoring
    • Have a regular discussion with the mentors about what they do. Motivate them to do code reviews and take part in the well thought out development process, motivate them to act as teachers.
    • If a mentor does not have to put in 5 hrs. per week, that can (!) be nice, but he probably just should interact more.
    • Never ask the question how much time a student works - it is too easy to lie and should not be the most important measure anyway.
  • Get partners and communities involved as early as possible.
  • Special case for us: Software development discussion that happen off-list / in person in Münster - not a good integration of community!
  • Add final presentation / screencast / video to the deliverables.
  • Start early with integration to main code. Mentors must review and test code regularly.
  • See also the internal GSoC2012Review - if you are a 52Ner only!
  • Enforce some guidelines: GSoCGuidelines
Topic revision: r42 - 29 Jul 2013 08:07:06, BenjaminPross
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