SoC Report 2012
OSGeo participated in 2012, with 20 of 22 students completing the summer. We provided GSoC-specific umbrella support for two smaller projects from outside of our Foundation.
Successes: All in all our students were great and a lot of good work was completed -- perhaps the least remarkable-sounding but most important success we had is how smoothly everything ran in spite of handling our largest number of students yet. Many of our former students continue to be involved in our contributing projects' development and take on roles as mentors. A couple of smaller external projects we have taken under our GSoC umbrella in the past are now participating in our incubation process to become full members of our Foundation. One of our multi-year GSoC projects (gvSIG mini) now headlines the F-droid (FOSS for Android) repository's homepage!
Challenges: We require all projects have a backup mentor, and unfortunately had to make use of that this year. We had the fatal combination of a struggling-to-get-started student and a mentor who lost interest. In hindsight we felt that the mentor should have abandoned the project at mid-term and that we as admins should not have let the mentor over-extend himself, but even after the student lifted his game in the second half of the summer with a new direction, we (the admins) made the hard call to fail him on the final, to be paid half a summer's wages for half a summer's work. As a result, our slushy rules of one one-project per primary mentor and requiring detailed weekly status reports from students are now firmer, and we're more acutely aware of the need of earlier hands-on intervention by the admins.
Former GSoC student and mentor Anne G. smoothly transitioned into the role of lead admin from Wolf B., with Wolf and another long-serving co-admin standing by with advice. Since our umbrella is wide, we brought in an additional co-admin for better communication with mentors and projects that the other admins didn't know as well. Anne is a great communicator and has settled in well. (n.b. that wasn't written by her ;-)
OSGeo sent two delegates to the 2012 Mentor Summit, who chaired summit sessions on umbrella org admin'ing, geospatial FOSS, and humanitarian FOSS. We spent a lot of time comparing notes and ideas with other umbrella orgs and participating in Open Science sessions. We were lucky that our Foundation's long-serving president is now a Googler and could meet up with us on the side.