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Notes on Organizations Selection Criteria
This might be useful for next year.
Organizations for Google Summer of CodeTM are chosen each year from the applicant pool by Chris DiBona, Greg Stein and Leslie Hawthorn. We don't have any hard and fast rules for selecting organizations - there are many organizations that apply and many more than apply who we'd like to help with their open source efforts. In the end, we have to make many tough decisions about which organizations to accept. Here's a bit about our thought process:
1) Have you been in GSoC before and done well? We want to make sure that all of our students have a good experience, and an established track record of success is a great indicator for the future. Keep in mind, though, we vary the mix somewhat each year regardless of how well an organization did in the past. We may vary it even more broadly in the future.
2) Do the projects on your ideas list look feasible for student developers? Is your ideas list thorough and well-organized? Your ideas list is the first place that student participants are going to look to get information on participating in GSoC, so putting a lot of effort into this list is a good thing(tm). One thing we noticed and really appreciated this year was how some organizations classified their ideas by easy, medium and difficult, and specifically listed the skills and background required to complete a given task. It might also be cool to expand on each idea with some places to get started research-wise (pointers to documentation or specific bugs), as well as the impact finishing a given idea will have for the organization.
3) Did it look like you spent a decent amount of time on your application? Do we have a good sense of who you are and what you intend to accomplish in GSoC after reading it? Just as with an organization reviewing student applications, a thorough and well-written org application piques our interest. If it looks like you only spent ten minutes on the application, er, not so much. Particularly when the application questions were published weeks in advance of the application period.
4) Do we use your software? Do we know someone who does, who also raves about it? If so, your organization looks that much more attractive to us.
5) Do we have a relationship with your developer community? Has your project been recommended to us by folks we trust? If you're a known quantity, we're in a better place to make a judgement about whether or not you'll be able to support our students well. If you're hoping to establish a relationship with us, we're pretty easy to find. Chat with us at a conference or drop us a mail during one of the slower times for the program. We would love to hear from you.
6) Will funding your organization have a significant impact on the open source world? Niche projects with few users and developers are less likely to be accepted.
In addition to all these items, there's also the intangibles. Sometimes, we just think an idea sounds cool and we want to help.
A final note, an organization may fulfill some of these criteria and still not be accepted. We simply can't accept every organization that applies.