[Haskell-cafe] Re: [Haskell] Summer of Code questions

Malcolm Wallace Malcolm.Wallace at cs.york.ac.uk
Thu Mar 8 18:11:47 EST 2007

Wolfgang Jeltsch <g9ks157k at acme.softbase.org> writes:

> First, what organization is Haskell.org?

That would be us, right here.  Anyone who is interested enough in
Haskell to be involved in mailing lists, IRC, distributing library code
and tools, whatever.

> Is this a real organization, i.e., a legal entity?

No.  (Unlike e.g. the Apache Foundation.)

> Does Haskell.org get the $ 500 for each successful project?  
> If yes, what does Haskell.org do with this money?

Yes, we get the money.  Last year, Galois kindly served as the account
holder that received the cheque.  The mentors involved get to decide
what happens to it.  I think we are planning to spend last year's on
machine/bandwidth for hosting hackage.haskell.org.

> Furthermore, the Google Summer of Code FAQ talks about *the* project of a 
> organization which seems to indicate that each organization has only
> one SoC project.

The model is that an open-source organisation does indeed usually have
one focus, e.g. apache, Linux kernel, GTK, Gnome, Python.  But of course
there can be smaller tools and focuses within each overarching theme.

> What is the project of the Haskell.org organization then? Is this 
> the general project "The Haskell language plus associated libraries and 
> tools"?

Exactly so.

> The FAQ says "Mentor organizations must be organizations or individuals 
> running an active and viable open source or free software project".  Does 
> this mean that the above-mentioned general project has to be active and 
> viable (which it is) or that each concrete idea has to be part of an active 
> and viable project?

The former.  Decisions about concrete ideas are made collectively by the
organisation, and we could certainly decide to go for a relatively
immature concrete idea, if it looks both viable and of sufficient value
to the community as a whole.

> That is, is it allowed to start a new concrete project 
> by letting a student code for it as part of the SoC or wouldn’t this be 
> possible since a new project isn’t yet active and viable?

Yes, you can do.  It will have to compete with other ideas for top

> Who decides which ideas will be worked on and who decides which student
> works on which?

Each organisation (in practice, this means a group of people prepared to
be mentors) reads and ranks student proposals.  After a certain date,
Google tell us how many projects they will fund, and the top N are given
the money.

> What are the obligations of a mentor?

 (a) To carefully read and vote on quite a lot of student proposals.
 (b) If chosen to mentor a funded project, to guide the student throughout
     the project time, primarily by email (and/or IRC).  Also to write
     two reports on progress (mid-term and final), that directly
     determine whether the student gets paid.

> Is it okay to create an idea, become the mentor for this idea
> and propose a concrete student for it?  

Sure.  But your idea and student will need to compete for ranking.

> What do I have to do to become a mentor?

Start by adding yourself to the wiki.

> What are Haskell.org's criteria for selecting mentors?  According to the 
> above-mentioned FAQ, Google wants to know these criteria as specifically as 
> possible.

I'm not sure we have definite criteria.  I guess that the community
generally recognises your name as a contributor to the Haskell language,
libraries, tools, or whatever.  Regular and visible engagement with the
community would count for a lot.

> Finally, should the ideas be chosen so that they are solvable by a student 
> working full time on them during the three months of the SoC?

Exactly so.  This year, Google have set things up with a greater time
period between notification of acceptance, and the official beginning of
coding, so that students have more preparation time before full-time
work starts.

> The problem is that at many German universities lectures go until
> July.  At our university, for example, lecture time ends in mid of July
> and is followed by two weeks for exams.  So a faithful student would
> only have the last month for working full time on the SoC.

Google have indeed set up the timetable largely with US universities in
mind.  So yes, it is certainly a disadvantage to a German student that
they cannot work full-time for the three months.


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