Got selected to GSoC 2014

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Every Computer Science undergraduate who might have heard about GSoC would not merely be satisfied of hearing it. Definitely, there will be some tries to participate in it. It is not a plenty of undergraduates’ dream to getting selected to Google Sumer of Code, certainly there is a lot more than a plenty.

In University of Moratuwa, where I study, GSoC is not just another event in the world of Computer Science students. It has become a part of their culture. Creating participants in GSoC in massive numbers is just-another practice of the university activities. All the related field students (students from department of computer science and the faculty of Information Technology) work hard to get selected in this prestigious event in the world open source calender.  University staff, past GSoCers and Google Student Ambassadors encourage undergraduates to apply for the event expecting not the  stipend but targeting  on the massive reputation that a student can gain from it.

Why UoM is special at GSoC?

UoM is holding the record for participating most number of students for the competitive event for impressive 7 consecutive years with 265 participants for all previous 9 years since the inception!

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These numbers were steadily increasing over all past years even during the war era. Even Chris DiBona, Director of Social Impact and Open Source at Google mentioned his excitement over these numbers during his speech at his “Decade of Google Summer Code” speech at University of Moratuwa.

How did I motivate?

It is said that “Eighty percent of the success is showing up”. It wasn’t false that much if you once look at a GSoCer’s ability to show up. They are pretty good at what they are showing up. They are mastered of the field and always got highlighted in the industry as well as in the university.

In the very first year of the Uni life, i could attend to a small meet-up of past GSoCers and newbies. They were from Fedora project and encouraged us to apply to Fedora project in the GSoC 2012.

I was like… “What the hell is Fedora?” and “What is the relationship between Fedora and Google?”

I looked into some documentation of fedora and projects in the GSoC. I would be lying if I said I could understand a single project in the list.

Well… Time passed, promoted to the level two in the faculty. Again, looked in to the projects list. Unfortunately, it was the exam season and couldn’t allocate time to understand optional worse, neglecting the necessary worst.

At the time I moved to level 3, I was somewhat matured about the scopes of projects and the amount of contribution I had to made to yield some results.

Selecting Mozilla

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My answer for the question “Why Mozilla ?” in the proposal template form.

There are several reasons behind selecting Mozilla. I was using Firefox and loved its designs ever since I got hands to a computer. Another reason was my desire to commit for a project that would cause cheer of a lot of users. Contributing for a project in Mozilla that actually used by millions of people all around the world, causes a feeling of satisfaction by knowing that there can be someone making use of some code snippets I wrote. I always enjoy volunteering. Satisfaction becomes bigger, when the project becomes bigger. Finally, I would happy to repute my GSoC participation with a big brand name in the internet like “Mozilla”.

Start Contribution

Mozilla was one of the most forefront open source projects in the world. It has thousands of contributers, contributing to various technologies and perspectives.

Designers,  Coders in tens of projects, bug reporters, bloggers contribute to the progress of  Mozilla. I would say that, at the first time I visited to this website, I was amazed. My question was, “Do they have a site for this thing too?”

http://www.whatcanidoformozilla.org/

It has provided you a lot of alternatives to match with your preferences. Mine was JavaScript and Calendar!

Once I got my choice……….

Okay, here is the tricky part…

Once I got my choice, I moved to the melange site! Not to the Mozilla developer network! I wanted to see that was my selection correct. I wanted to make sure that is there a possibility to have another GSoC project from this project. I went through project list of 2-3 years. yes there was. So I was correct! There was several projects in last years and seemed a possibility was there. (Of course, you can suggest a project by looking at the codebase or the Bugzilla – the bug tracking system of the Mozilla, but notice I was a newbie to the giant project)

thunderbird_logo-wordmark_RGB-300dpiI went through Thunderbird’s documentations and Bugzilla to find out available bugs. I found a nice documentation describing where to start and how to find out new bugs and get then assigned.

Have to say that, Mozilla has the best stored knowledge in world of open source I found so far. There developer network, provides you solution for any sort of related technical matters.

After going through a lot of documentations (and a lot of them) I though to focus on the Thunderbird’s calendar extension, Lightning project.

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-This article is getting longer with my excitement grows- have to make this short –

I had to search for easier bugs in bugzilla, and a get one of them assigned to myself. Certainly, I didn’t have authority to get a bug assigned to myself. I had to comment in the section asking from someone to assign the bug to me. Once you get a “New start bug” to work on, you can contact the mentor assigned to the bug to get any doubts clarified.

After I got some experience with the codebase I turned to the GSoC. Went through the project statement, contacted the mentor for clarifications and glad to say that they were really responsive! Sometimes, they may take some 24s of hours to reply, but always give them arounf 48 hrs to reply for a mail. They also have their own works other than volunteering. :)

It’s done…

Preparations and orientations were finished. Now this is the time for discovering the exact meaning of “Coding”.

Hope, I will be able to achieve my goals and contribute to the Internet giant in my capacity to make open source more productive and Internet a better place.