From: John Maddock (john_at_[hidden])
Date: 2008-03-10 15:01:12
The deadline for mentoring organisations is this Wednesday, so we really
need to get organised - in particular we need a preliminary list of mentors
by that time!
In the mean time at Jeff's suggestion I've attached below a draft of our
application so you all get to critique it :-)
Here comes the draft....
1) What is your Organization's Name?
Boost C++ Libraries
2) What is your Organization's Homepage?
3) Describe your organization.
Boost provides free peer-reviewed portable C++ source libraries.
We emphasize libraries that work well with the C++ Standard Library. Boost
libraries are intended to be widely useful and usable across a broad
spectrum of applications. The Boost license encourages both commercial and
We aim to establish "existing practice" and provide reference
implementations so that Boost libraries are suitable for eventual
standardization. Ten Boost libraries are already included in the C++
Standards Committee's Library Technical Report (TR1) as a step toward
becoming part of a future C++ Standard. More Boost libraries are proposed
for the upcoming TR2.
4) Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2008? What do
you hope to gain by participating?
Our aim in applying is twofold: to nurture long term Boost and/or other open
source participation, and to obtain useful contributions to the Boost C++
libraries. In past years we believe we have achieved both of these aims,
and would like to do the same this year.
5) Did your organization participate in previous GSoC years? If so, please
summarize your involvement and the successes and failures of your student
We participated in 2006 and 2007.
In 2006 we had 9 students: three of these projects have resulted in
completed libraries being added to the Boost project, and two of the
students have become long term contributors. Five other projects were
completed successfully, but the students ran out of time before polishing
the library to a sufficient standard for Boost submission: none the less
these represent significant bodies of work that will shape future
development efforts in these areas.
In 2007 we had a couple of students drop out, of the remaining 6 projects,
one has been integrated into Boost and the student gone on to be a
significant Boost contributor, three others have been under continued active
development through last Autumn - we hope to tempt more students back once
their college commitment allows.
6) If your organization has not previously participated in GSoC, have you
applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)? (optional)
Nothing to say here
7) What license does your project use?
The Boost Software License: http://www.boost.org/LICENSE_1_0.txt
See also: http://opensource.org/licenses/bsl1.0.html
8) URL for your ideas page
9) What is the main development mailing list for your organization?
10) Where is the main IRC channel for your organization?
11) Does your organization have an application template you would like to
see students use? If so, please provide it now. (optional)
Introduction: Introduce the main concepts around the project: Theoretical
preliminaries, pre-existing Boost libraries used (if any), important
concepts, problems/needs the project will try to solve/satisfy.
Goal: Concise statement of the overall goal of the project. Refine this
initial statement to include: project deliverables (code, docs, testing),
required/suggested methodology, standards of quality, possible goal
extensions beyond the main objective.
Requirements: List the requirements and level of expertise you estimate the
student will have to meet: Required level of C++, specific areas of the
language (STL, templates, locales, whatever), level of familiarity with
Boost and particular Boost libraries, development/documentation/testing
tools, mathematical/algorithmic background, other desirable skills.
Other sections: If you have more to say about the project that doesn't fit
in the proposed sections of this template, feel free to add other sections
at will. Oh, and don't forget to separate each entry with a horizontal line,
entered at the edit box as ----
12) Who will be your backup organization administrator? Please enter their
Google Account address. We will email them to confirm, your organization
will not become active until they respond. (optional)
1) What criteria did you use to select these individuals as mentors? Please
be as specific as possible.
We only use existing Boost library authors as mentors: people who have been
through the Boost submission process already and know their way around the
project. Ultimately the moderators of the Boost library project have final
say on who acts as a mentor - our aim is to seek out the existing authors
with the best development practices and persuade them to mentor!
2) Who will your mentors be? Please enter their Google Account address
separated by commas. If your organization is accepted we will email each
mentor to invite them to take part. (optional)
TODO: Mentor list here!!!!
About the program
1) What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?
Whilst we have to accept that ultimately some students will be bound to drop
out, we do try and avoid this as far as is possible. In the application
process we look for enthusiasm, communications skills, and community
participation as well as technically good applications: if we are able to
select students who "can't wait to start" then that tends to reduce the
initial dropout rate. Once the project starts we try and ensure that the
students have regular contact with their mentors and plenty of help and
encouragement to continue where required: while still trying to ensure that
the students have the opportunity to explore and grow into the project and
explore their own ideas. This is a fine line to draw, and one we will no
doubt never get completely resolved!
2) What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?
We've never had a mentor disappear, but in the last two years we ended up
with more mentors than students, so if necessary we have had backup mentors
available. We also have a dedicated mailing list for the students: useful
if they need a response faster than their mentor can provide. In the event
of a student/mentor dispute then the Boost moderators are available to help
resolve things - thankfully we haven't needed that so far.
3) What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your
project's community before, during and after the program?
We encourage students to interact on the mailing list and discuss and refine
project ideas prior to submission: in the past this has resulted in much
improved project submissions, and a reasonable indicator of which students
are likely to continue this interaction during and after the project.
4) What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the
project after GSoC concludes?
As well as encouragement to continue, we try to provide students with
detailed feedback on their progress towards getting their contributions
formally accepted into Boost, so that they know exactly what needs to be
done to complete the project. Although progress after the SOC period ends
tends to be slow - we still have SOC 2006 projects being actively worked
on - none the less we have been pleased with the continuing involvement of
Boost list run by bdawes at acm.org, gregod at cs.rpi.edu, cpdaniel at pacbell.net, john at johnmaddock.co.uk