Google Summer of Code 2013 Frequently Asked Questions

For questions about how to use the Google Summer of Code site, please see the new User's Guide. Please also consider reading the Google Summer of Code student and organization administrator and mentor manuals online to get a more in-depth look at the program. The manuals were written by and for participants in the program, so they can provide some insightful information for you.

About Google Summer of Code

  1. What is Google Summer of Code?

  2. What is the program timeline?

  3. What are the goals of this program?

  4. Is Google Summer of Code a recruiting program?

  5. How many mentoring organizations does Google expect to take part in the program?

  6. How many students does Google expect to take part in the program?

  7. How does the program work?

  8. When can I apply for Google Summer of Code?

  9. How do evaluations work?

     

Applying to Google Summer of Code

  1. How does a mentoring organization apply?

  2. What should a mentoring organization proposal look like?

  3. What is an Ideas list?

  4. How does a student apply?

  5. What should a student proposal look like?

  6. Can a student submit more than one proposal?

  7. Can students working on an open source project continue to work on it as part of Google Summer of Code?

  8. Should students begin working on their proposals before Google begins accepting program proposals?

  9. Can a student work on more than one project?

  10. Can a group apply for and work on a single proposal?

  11. What happens if two students are accepted to work on the same project, e.g. from an organization's Ideas list?

  12. Are proposals for documentation work eligible for Google Summer of Code?

     

Mentoring Organizations

  1. What is a mentoring organization?

  2. What is the role of a mentoring organization?

  3. What is the role of an organization administrator?

  4. Can a mentoring organization have more than one administrator?

  5. What kind of mentoring organizations should apply?

  6. When will accepted mentoring organizations be announced?

  7. Are mentoring organizations required to use the code produced?

     

Students and Eligibility

  1. Are there any age restrictions on participating?

  2. Who's eligible to participate as a student in Google Summer of Code?

  3. Is my school “accredited”?

  4. Who's not eligible to participate as a student in Google Summer of Code?

  5. What are the eligibility requirements for mentoring organizations?

  6. What are the eligibility requirements for mentors?

  7. I have been accepted into an accredited post-secondary school program, but have not yet begun attending. Can I still take part in the program?

  8. I graduate in the middle of the program. Can I still participate?

  9. I am a student who has already participated in Google Summer of Code. Can I apply again this year?

  10. I would like to participate in Google Summer of Code as both a mentor and a student. Is this possible?

  11. How much time is required to participate as a student in Google Summer of Code?

  12. How much time is required to participate as a mentor in Google Summer of Code?

  13. Should students contact the mentoring organization before the program begins?

  14. Should students send proposals directly to the mentoring organizations?

  15. Will a student receive the stipend if the organization does not use her/his code?

  16. What if there is no organization doing the kind of open source work I'm doing?

     

Code

  1. Who owns the code produced by student developers?

  2. What licenses do I have choose from?

  3. What language(s) should a student program in?

  4. Where does development occur?

     

Payments, Forms and Other Administrivia

  1. How do payments work?

  2. I would like to use the work I did for my Google Summer of Code project to obtain course credit from my university. Is this acceptable?

  3. Is it not unusual for open source developers to be paid?

  4. What documentation is required from students?

  5. What tax related documentation is required from mentoring organizations?

  6. I am a student in the United States on an F1 visa. How do I get work authorization to participate?

     

Other Questions

  1. What are the program mailing lists?

  2. Is there an IRC channel I can idle on?

  3. What can I do to spread the word about Google Summer of Code?

  4. I would like to schedule a Google Summer of Code information session or meetup. What is the process for doing so?

  5. Are there other resources for learning about the program?

  6. Where do I file bugs and feature requests for the Google Summer of Code site?

  7. Is there a t-shirt involved?

  8. Can I find Google Summer of Code on any social networking sites?

  9. What if I have a question not answered in this FAQ?

 

About Google Summer of Code

1. What is Google Summer of Code?

Google Summer of Code is a program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects.  Historically, the program has brought together over 5,500 students with over 390 open source projects, to create millions of lines of code. The program, which kicked off in 2005, is now in its ninth year. If you are feeling nostalgic or are interested in learning more about the projects we have worked with in the past, check out the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 program pages.

While the majority of past student participants were enrolled in university or college Computer Science and Computer Engineering programs, Google Summer of Coders come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds and degree programs (Bachelors/Masters/PhDs), from computational biology to mining engineering. Many of our past participants had never participated in an open source project before Google Summer of Code; others used the Google Summer of Code stipend as an opportunity to concentrate fully on their existing open source coding activities over the summer. Many of our 'graduates' have later become program mentors. This a global program run completely online.

2. What is the program timeline?

February 11: Program announced.
March 18: 19:00 UTC Mentoring organizations can begin submitting proposals to Google.
March 29: 19:00 UTC Mentoring organization proposal deadline.
April 1 - 5: Google program administrators review organization proposals.
April 8: 19:00 UTC List of accepted mentoring organizations published on the Google Summer of Code 2013 site.
April 9 - 21: Would-be student participants discuss proposal ideas with mentoring organizations.
April 22: 19:00 UTC Student proposal period opens.
May 3: 19:00 UTC Student proposal deadline.
Interim Period: Mentoring organizations review and rank student proposals; where necessary, mentoring organizations may request further proposal detail from the student applicant.
May 6: Mentoring organizations should have requested slots in Google Summer of Code 2013 site at this point.
May 8: Slot allocations published to mentoring organizations.
Interim Period: Slot allocation trades happen amongst organizations. Mentoring organizations review and rank student proposals; where necessary, mentoring organizations may request further proposal detail from the student applicant.
May 22: First round of de-duplication checks happens; organizations work together to try to resolve as many duplicates as possible.
May 24:
    1. All mentors must be signed up and all student proposals matched with a mentor - 07:00 UTC
    2. Student acceptance choice deadline.
    3. IRC meeting to resolve any outstanding duplicate accepted students - 19:00 UTC #gsoc (organizations must send a delegate to represent them in this meeting regardless of if they are in a duplicate situation before the meeting.)
May 27: 19:00 UTC Accepted student proposals announced on the Google Summer of Code 2013 site.
Community Bonding Period: Students get to know mentors, read documentation, get up to speed to begin working on their projects.
June 17:
    1. Students begin coding for their Google Summer of Code projects.
    2. Google begins issuing initial student payments provided tax forms are on file and students are in good standing with their communities.
Work Period: Mentors give students a helping hand and guidance on their projects.
July 29: 19:00 UTC Mentors and students can begin submitting mid-term evaluations.
August 2: 19:00 UTC
    1. Mid-term evaluations deadline;
    2. Google begins issuing mid-term student payments provided evaluation is on file.
Work Period: Mentors give students a helping hand and guidance on their projects.
September 16: Suggested 'pencils down' date. Take a week to scrub code, write tests, improve documentation, etc.
September 23: 19:00 UTC Firm 'pencils down' date. Mentors, students and organization administrators can begin submitting final evaluations to Google.
September 27: 19:00 UTC
  1. Final evaluation deadline
  2. Google beings issuing student and mentoring organization payments provided forms and evaluations are on file.
September 27: 19:00 UTC Students can begin submitting required code samples to Google.
October 1: Final results of Google Summer of Code 2013 announced
October 19 & 20: Mentor Summit at Google: Representatives from each successfully participating organization are invited to Google to greet, collaborate and code. Our mission for the weekend: make the program even better, have fun and make new friends.


3. What are the goals of this program?

Google Summer of Code has several goals:

  1. Create and release open source code for the benefit of all

  2. Inspire young developers to begin participating in open source development

  3. Help open source projects identify and bring in new developers and committers

  4. Provide students the opportunity to do work related to their academic pursuits (think "flip bits, not burgers")

  5. Give students more exposure to real-world software development scenarios (e.g., distributed development, software licensing questions, mailing-list etiquette)

4. Is Google Summer of Code a recruiting program?

Not really. To be clear, Google will use the results of the program to help identify potential recruits, but that's not the focus of the program. Take a look at the organizations we've worked with in the past, and you'll see the vast majority are engaged in work that's not directly applicable to Google's business. That said, the more code out there, the more everyone benefits.

Additionally, we've heard from several of our past student participants that their participation in Google Summer of Code made them more attractive to potential employers, and most participants who have gained employment as a result of their Google Summer of Code work are not currently employed by Google. We're just pleased the program has helped some students when embarking on their technical careers. We're also pleased that the industry sees participation in the program as an additional factor to qualify a future employee.

5. How many mentoring organizations does Google expect to take part in the program?

We worked with 40 organizations in 2005, over 100 in 2006, over 130 in 2007, 175 in 2008, 150 in 2009, 150 in 2010, 175 in 2011, and 180 in 2012. We expect a similar amount to 2012 in 2013.

6. How many students does Google expect to take part in the program?

We funded approximately 400 student projects in 2005, 600 in 2006, 900 in 2007, 1,125 in 2008, 858 in 2009, 1,026 in 2010, 1,115 in 2011, and 1,212 in 2012. We expect a similar number to 2012 in 2013. For more information, see our Notes on Student Allocations.

7. How does the program work?

Here are the steps:

  1. Open source projects who'd like to participate in Google Summer of Code in 2013 should choose at least two organization administrators to represent them.
  2. Organization administrators will submit the mentoring organization’s proposal for participation online.
  3. Google will notify the organization administrators of acceptance, and an account for the accepted organizations will be created on the Google Summer of Code 2013 site.
  4. Students submit project proposals online to work with particular mentoring organizations.
  5. Mentoring organizations rank student proposals and perform any other due diligence on their potential students; student proposals are matched with a mentor.
  6. Google allocates a particular number of student slots to each organization.
  7. Mentoring organizations make their final decision on which students to accept into the program.
  8. Students are notified of acceptance.
  9. Students begin learning more about their mentoring organization and its community before coding work starts.
  10. Students begin coding work at the official start of the program, provided they've interacted well with their community up until the program start date.
  11. Mentors and students provide mid-term progress evaluations.
  12. Mentors provide a final evaluation of student progress at close of program; students submit a final review of their mentor and the program.
  13. Students upload completed code to Google Summer of Code site.

8. When can I apply for Google Summer of Code?

We'll begin accepting proposals from open source mentoring organizations on March 18, 2013 at 19:00 UTC; we'll stop accepting organization proposals on March 29th at 19:00 UTC. The student proposal period begins April 22, 2013 at 19:00 UTC and ends May 3rd at 19:00 UTC. For full details, see the program timeline.

9. How do evaluations work?

Google will pre-publish the evaluation questions for both students and mentors. Mentors will fill out midterm and final evaluations for their students via the Google Summer of Code 2013 site. These evaluations will be visible in the system to the mentor and the mentoring organization's administrator(s). Students will fill out a midterm and final evaluation of their mentors online as well, and their evaluations will only be visible in the system to the mentoring organization's administrator(s). Program administrators from Google will have access to all evaluation data.

Any student who does not submit an evaluation by the evaluation deadline will fail that evaluation, regardless of the grade the mentor gives the student. If a student submits his or her evaluation on time but the mentor does not, then the student is  in an “undecided” state until the program administrators can speak to the mentor and determine the student’s grade.

Students who fail the mid-term are immediately removed from the program: it’s not possible to fail the mid-term, stay in the program, and then have a final evaluation.

In almost all cases, students will never see their mentor's evaluation of their progress, nor will a mentor see a student's evaluation of her/his mentorship. However, in the case where the mentoring organization's administrator and a student's mentor are one and the same, the student's evaluation will be viewable to the mentor/organization administrator. If you are a student in a situation where your mentor is also your organization’s administrator and you would like to discuss an issue with the program, please contact the Google Summer of Code program administrators. Organization administrators are expected to review midterm and final evaluations and to provide course corrections where necessary.

Many organizations choose to speak to students about their midterm and final evaluation responses directly. We would recommend you speak to the mentoring organization directly about how they administer their evaluations.

In some cases, Google's program administrators may need to share the results of evaluations with the student and mentor, such as to arbitrate when payment should not be made. Should this need arise, all parties will be notified in advance.

In the unlikely event that a mentor and organization administrator do not agree on a student’s grade for any evaluation, the decision of the organization administrator is the final one.

In the also unlikely event that a student does not agree with a mentoring organization’s evaluation decision at either the midterm or the final, the student may choose to submit his/her entire project plan, timeline and code sample to Google’s program administrators. Google will choose a Google engineer who is not working with any Google Summer of Code mentoring organization or the Melange project to review the code and arbitrate the decision. The decision of Google’s independent engineer is final.

Finally, any mentor who misses a deadline for an evaluation of his/her student without notifying the program administrators beforehand will not be allowed to attend the Google Summer of Code mentor summit. Any organization that misses two or more evaluation deadlines at the midterm, the final, or the midterm and the final combined, will be uninvited from the mentor summit completely. Timely evaluations of Google Summer of Code students are crucial to us. Please also note that organization administrators can submit student evaluations on their mentors’ behalf, so there really is no excuse for missing an evaluation deadline.

Applying to Google Summer of Code

1. How does a mentoring organization apply?

The organization should choose a single administrator to submit its proposal via the Google Summer of Code 2013 site between March 18 - March 29, 2013.

2. What should a mentoring organization proposal look like?

In addition to anything else your organization would like to submit as an proposal, Google will be asking (at least) the following questions as part of the proposal process:

  1. Describe your organization.
  2. Why is your organization applying to participate in Google Summer of Code 2013? What do you hope to gain by participating?
  3. Has your organization participated in past Google Summer of Codes? (yes/no)
  4. If you answered “yes” to the question above, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation. Please also list your pass/fail rate for each year.
  5. If your organization has not previously participated in Google Summer of Code, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)?
  6. What Open Source Initiative approved license(s) does your project use?
  7. What is the URL for your Ideas list? **This is the most important part of your proposal. Please make sure we can access it and it is complete when you submit this proposal. “Placeholder” or inaccessible ideas pages will be grounds for an automatic rejection for participation in Google Summer of Code 2013.**
  8. What is the main development mailing list for your organization?
  9. What is the main IRC channel for your organization?
  10. Who will be your backup organization administrator?
  11. What criteria did you use to select the mentors? Please be as specific as possible.
  12. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students? Please be as specific as possible.
  13. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors? Please be as specific as possible.
  14. What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?
  15. Are you a new organization who has a Googler or other organization to vouch for you? If so, please list their name(s) here.
  16. Are you an established or larger organization who would like to vouch for a new organization applying this year? If so, please list their name(s) here.
  17. What will you do to encourage that your accepted students stick with the project after Google Summer of Code concludes?

 

A few notes on the mentoring organization proposal:

  • If you take a look at the program timeline, we've left two weeks for students to get to know you before submitting their proposals. It is critical that it be obvious how students should reach you to discuss applying to your organization; plan to link this information from your Ideas list at the very least.
  • The email addresses associated with the Google Account information provided during the proposal process will be used as the primary mode of contact by Google throughout the program, e.g. the email address which we will use to subscribe you to the Google Summer of Code mentors/admins-only mailing list.
  • In addition to the proposal, the mentoring organization will be required to sign a Mentoring Organization Participation Agreement.


3. What is an Ideas list?

An Ideas list should be a list of suggested student projects. This list is meant to introduce contributors to your project's needs and to provide inspiration to would-be student applicants. It is useful to classify each idea as specifically as possible, e.g. "must know Python" or "easier project; good for a student with more limited experience with C++." If your organization plans to provide a proposal template for the students, it would be good to include it on your Ideas list.

Keep in mind that your ideas list should be a starting point for student proposals; we've heard from past mentoring organization participants that some of their best student projects are those that greatly expanded on a proposed idea or were blue-sky proposals not mentioned on the ideas list at all. A link to a bug tracker for your open source organization is NOT an ideas list.

You can check out the Ideas list for KDE for Google Summer of Code in 2011 to get an idea of what we’re looking for in an ideas list. 

4. How does a student apply?

Students can submit their proposals via the Google Summer of Code 2013 site from April 22 - May 3, 2013. We hear almost universally from our mentoring organizations that the best proposals they receive are from students who took the time to interact and discuss their ideas before submitting a proposal, so make sure to check out each organization's Ideas list to get to know a particular open source organization better.  In addition to a proposal, students will be required to sign a Student Participation Agreement.

5. What should a student proposal look like?

Your proposal should include the following: your project proposal, why you'd like to execute on this particular project, and the reason you're the best individual to do so. Your proposal should also include details of your academic, industry, and/or open source development experience, and other details as you see fit. An explanation of your development methodology is a good idea, as well. It is always helpful to include contact information as well, as it will not be automatically shared with your would-be mentors as part of the proposal process. If the organization you want to work with has a specific proposal template they would like you to use, it will be made available to you to fill in when submitting your proposal via the Google Summer of Code site. Regardless of what you include in your proposal, we recommend you speak to the mentoring organization(s) you are applying to about what they are looking for in a proposal to give you the best chance of success in your proposal.

6. Can a student submit more than one proposal?

Yes, each student may submit up to five proposals. However, only one proposal will be accepted. We've heard from our mentoring organizations that quality is better than quantity.

7. Can students already working on an open source project continue to work on it as part of Google Summer of Code?

Yes, as long as they meet all other requirements for program eligibility. Students should be sure to note their previous relationship with the project in their proposals. New work will need to be done for the project as part of participation in Google Summer of Code.

8. Should students begin working on their proposals before Google begins accepting program proposals?

That's up to you. Keep in mind, though, that our mentoring organizations will be publishing a list of proposed project ideas, so you may find that you'll want to revamp your proposal later, or create an entirely new one to address one of those ideas.

9. Can a student work on more than one project?

No, each participant may only work on one project and is only eligible for one stipend.

10. Can a group apply for and work on a single proposal?

No, only an individual may work on a given project.

11. What happens if two students are accepted to work on the same project, e.g. from an organization's Ideas list?

That's fine, a little duplication is par for the course in open source.

12. Are proposals for documentation work eligible for Google Summer of Code?

While we greatly appreciate the value of documentation, this program is an exercise in developing code; we can't accept proposals for documentation-only work at this time.

Mentoring Organizations

1. What is a mentoring organization?

A group running an active free/open source software project, e.g. the Python Software Foundation. The project does not need to be a legally incorporated entity. If you're looking for a broader picture, you can find a list of all mentoring organizations who have participated in the past on the Google Summer of Code 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 pages. Mentoring organizations must have already produced and released software under an Open Source Initiative approved license in order to participate in the program. Mentors for their organizations must at least be committers for the corresponding project and their participation in Google Summer of Code on the organization’s behalf must be approved by the organization administrator via the Google Summer of Code site.

2. What is the role of a mentoring organization?

Each mentoring organization is expected to provide: 

  1. A pool of project ideas for students to choose from, publicly published by the mentoring organization as an Ideas list
  2. (At least) two organization administrators to act as the project's main point of contact for Google
  3. A person or group responsible for review and ranking of student proposals, both those proposals which tie into the org's Ideas list and "blue-sky" proposals
  4. A person or group of people responsible for monitoring the progress of each accepted student and to mentor her/him as the project progresses
  5. A person or group responsible for taking over for a student's assigned mentor in the event they are unable to continue mentoring, e.g. take a vacation, have a family emergency
  6. A written evaluation of each student participant, including how s/he worked with the group, whether you would want to work with them again

In addition to these responsibilities, a mentoring organization should actively encourage each student developer to participate in the project's community in whichever way makes the most sense for the project, be it development mailing lists, idling in the project's IRC channel, participating in the project's forum, etc. A truly successful mentoring organization will work diligently to ensure that as many of their students as possible remain active project participants long after the conclusion of the program.

3. What is the role of an organization administrator?

An organization administrator oversees the overall progress of a mentoring organization and its students throughout the program. Organization administrators will have different responsibilities depending on the organization, but at the very least they will need to:

1. Submit the organization's program proposal to Google

2. Act as the main point of contact between Google and the organization

3. Respond to any inquiries from Google within 48 hours

4. Assign a backup mentor should a mentor be unable to work with a student

5. Ensure all program evaluations are completed on time on or before the deadlines

6. Handle payment and mentor summit administration and liaising at the end of the Google Summer of Code term.

For some projects, the organization administrator also acted as an arbiter when disputes arose between students and mentors, but each project should individually decide how such situations should be handled.

4. Can a mentoring organization have more than one administrator?

Yes, in fact it is required. It's good to have a backup administrator identified who can cover for your administrator should s/he go out of town, etc. If your backup administrator becomes the primary administrator, make sure to notify Google's program administrators. When your organization applies you will be asked to list a backup administrator as part of the application. Should your organization be accepted both yourself and that person will automatically become your organization's administrators.

5. What kind of mentoring organizations should apply?

As you can see from the lists of our mentoring organizations for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 many different types of open source projects participate in Google Summer of Code. As long as your project can provide mentors and is releasing code under an Open Source Initiative approved license, you are welcome and encouraged to apply. Unfortunately, there are far more great open source projects than we can work with, so if your project is highly niche or has very few users, chances are that your proposal will not be accepted.

6. When will accepted mentoring organizations be announced?

We will announce the list of accepted mentoring organizations on the Google Summer of Code 2013 site on April 8, 2013 at 19:00 UTC. 

7. Are mentoring organizations required to use the code produced?

No. While we hope that all the code that comes out of this program will find a happy home, we don’t require organizations to use the students' code.

Students and Eligibility

1. Are there any age restrictions on participating?

Yes. You must be 18 years of age or older on or before May 27, 2013 to be eligible to participate in Google Summer of Code in 2013.

2. Who's eligible to participate as a student in Google Summer of Code?

In order to participate in the program, you must be a student. Google defines a student as an individual enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including (but not necessarily limited to) colleges, universities, masters programs, PhD programs and undergraduate programs. You should be prepared, upon request, to provide Google with transcripts or other documentation from your accredited institution as proof of enrollment or admission status. Computer Science does not need to be your field of study in order to participate in the program.You may be enrolled as a full-time or part-time student.

You must also be eligible to work in the country in which you'll reside throughout the duration of the program, e.g. if you are in the United States on an F-1 visa, you are welcome to apply to Google Summer of Code as long as you have U.S. work authorization. For F-1 students applying for CPT, Google will furnish you with a letter you can provide to your university to get CPT established once your proposal to the program has been accepted.  While in the program you will not be employed by Google.  However, the program is administered by Google and Google will act as your host organization for the duration of your program participation.  Google is not able to provide any documents to establish you as an employee of Google for CPT purposes.  You should contact your school directly to determine if your participation is eligible for CPT with Google acting as host (not employer) during your program participation.  You may find it handy to print out this FAQ as part of your request to your university.  You may not participate if prohibited by law.  

3. Is my school “accredited”?

You can read more about accreditation for universities in your country or you can ask yourself the following questions about your institution:

1) Does your country consider that institution to be a valid university/college/etc capable of bestowing academic awards?

- AND -

2) Does that institution consider you a student to the extent that it issues you with material such as identification cards, or written letters confirming that position?

4. Who is not eligible to participate as a student in Google Summer of Code?

Google employees, interns, contractors,  or family members thereof; or residents and/or nationals of Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea and Myanmar (Burma), with whom we are prohibited by U.S. law from engaging in commerce, are ineligible to participate. Please also note that any residents of Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Peru, Russia, and the Ukraine that participate in the program will not receive a t-shirt or any promotional items for their participation.

Mentoring organizations that are taking part in Google Summer of Code may add additional stipulations regarding which students may participate in the program under their auspices.

5. What are the eligibility requirements for mentoring organizations?

Mentor organizations must be organizations or individuals running an active and viable open source or free software project whose proposals are approved by Google's Open Source Programs Office. Organizations based in Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea and Myanmar (Burma), with whom we are prohibited by U.S. law from engaging in commerce, are ineligible to participate.

6. What are the eligibility requirements for mentors?

Representatives and mentors for the organizations must be at least 18 years old.

7. I have been accepted into an accredited post-secondary school program, but have not yet begun attending. Can I still take part in the program?

As long as you are accepted into or enrolled in a college or university program as of May 27, 2013, you are eligible to participate in the program. Accepted students will be asked by Google to provide proof of enrollment after acceptance.

8. I graduate in the middle of the program. Can I still participate?

As long as you are accepted into or enrolled in a college or university program as of May 27, 2013, you are eligible to participate in the program.

9. I am a student who has already participated in Google Summer of Code. Can I apply again this year?

Yes, provided you meet all other eligibility requirements, you are welcome and encouraged to apply for this year's instance of the program. You might also want to consider becoming a mentor instead.

10. I would like to participate in Google Summer of Code as both a mentor and a student. Is this possible?

No. We've given this question a lot of thought, and we've decided it is best not to allow participants to act as a mentor to another Google Summer of Code student while they are working on their own Google Summer of Code student project. We want to make sure that each project and student receives sufficient attention, and we're concerned that this split in focus could create a bad experience for those involved. Please choose whether participation as a mentor or a student is more appealing to you and plan to apply accordingly.

11. How much time is required to participate as a student in Google Summer of Code?

The amount of time you will need depends on both the scope of your project and the requirements of your mentoring organization. While your organization may offer some flexibility around milestone completion dates, you should expect your project to be your primary focus this summer. If you have a great internship starting soon or you're planning a month long backpacking trip, you likely won't be a good candidate for the program.

12. How much time is required to participate as a mentor in Google Summer of Code?

While the answer to this question will vary widely depending on the number of students a mentor works with, the difficulty of the proposals, and the skill level of the students, most mentors have let us know that they underestimated the amount of time they would need to invest in Google Summer of Code. Five hours per student per week is a reasonable estimate.

13. Should students contact the mentoring organization before the program begins?

If you're interested in contributing to a particular open source project, there's no need to wait for Google Summer of Code to start; start talking in the project's IRC channel, subscribe to the development mailing lists, take a look through the bug tracker and submit a patch. If you see something that you think would make a particularly good project for Google Summer of Code, why not suggest it to the organization?

 That said, we'll announce the list of accepted organizations on April 8, 2013. At that point, students should definitely contact the mentoring organizations using the contact information listed on the project's Ideas page.

14. Should students send proposals directly to the mentoring organizations?

No, all proposals should be submitted to the mentoring organization using the 2013 program site. Proposals submitted outside of the 2013 program site will not be considered for Google Summer of Code.

15. Will a student receive the stipend if the organization does not use her/his code?

Yes, assuming he/she has received a passing evaluation from his/her mentor. Whether or not the project uses the produced code does not impact the student stipend.

16. What if there is no organization doing the kind of open source work I'm doing?

If you have an outstanding need for an alternate mentor, Google itself will review suggestions. For instance, suppose you're working in a cryogenics lab and the only ones really qualified to judge your work writing profilers for liquid nitrogen delivery systems are other cryogenicists. In such a case, you can submit your “alternate” project proposal. 

When applying, choose ‘Google Open Source Programs Office’ as the mentoring organization. Your proposal should describe who you'd like to oversee your work and include detailed contact information for your proposed mentor. Google's program administrators will then review your proposal and notify you and your mentor whether your alternate project has been accepted. Please don't apply unless your proposed project has an academic research focus and you've already found an advisor from your university or industry to mentor you. 

Please also note that we've accepted less than 5 "alternate" proposals per year historically, and the program doesn't currently have the resources to accommodate many proposals outside of the domain of our registered mentoring organizations.

Finally, please note that this is not a proposal to work on a specific Google product or project. We may or may not have Google products or projects that act as mentoring organizations in Google Summer of Code from year to year, but applying to work under the Open Source Programs Office umbrella does not fall into this category. Our organization only provides an umbrella for a student working on a specific, already existing, research project with a university advisor. It does not provide any of the mentorship on its own. Proposals to work on specific Google projects or products under the Open Source Programs Office umbrella will be rejected.

Code

1. Who owns the code produced by student developers?

Each student (or her/his mentoring organization) must license all student Google Summer of Code code under an Open Source Initiative approved license palatable to the mentoring organization. Some organizations will require students to assign copyright to them, but many will allow them to retain copyright. If Google is a student's sponsoring organization, then the student keeps copyright to her/his code.

2. What licenses do I have to choose from?

That depends on your mentoring organization. All code created by student participants must be released under an Open Source Initiative approved license. It's also extremely likely that your mentoring organization will have a preferred license(s) and that you will need to release your code under the license(s) chosen by that organization.

3. What language(s) should a student program in?

Talk with your mentoring organization about this and other technical style questions. Of course, the Python people will prefer Python submissions, and so on. Students  should let the mentoring organizations know in their proposals what languages they're thinking about using.

4. Where does development occur?

All development occurs online; there is no requirement to travel as part of the program. Google makes no provisions for office space or travel to mentoring locations. Any such travel is undertaken outside the scope of the program.

All code development must happen in the open and all code must be made available publicly. Students may mirror development on their personal infrastructure if they wish. Students must also provide a copy of their code to Google to be publicly hosted by us.

Payments, Forms and Other Administrivia

1. How do payments work?

Google will provide a total stipend of 5500 USD per accepted student developer, of which 5000 USD goes to the student and 500 USD goes to the mentoring organization.

  • Accepted students in good standing with their mentoring organization will receive a 500 USD stipend shortly after coding begins on June 17, 2013.
  • Students who receive passing mid-term evaluations will receive a 2250 USD stipend shortly after the mid-term evaluation deadline, August 2, 2013.
  • Students who receive passing final evaluations and who have submitted their final program evaluations will receive a 2250 USD stipend shortly after the final evaluation deadline, September 27, 2013.
  • Mentoring organizations must request their payments of 500 USD per student mentored by November 11, 2013.

Please note that Google cannot issue any payments until the proper tax-related documentation is submitted. The forms required will be provided to you and you do not need to submit them until you are asked to do so by Google. More detailed documentation on payments will be sent to you.

2. I would like to use the work I did for my Google Summer of Code project to obtain course credit from my university. Is this acceptable?

Absolutely. If you need documentation from Google to provide to your school so you can obtain course credit, we can provide it to you. We will not provide documentation to you until we have received a positive final evaluation from your mentor.

3. Isn't it unusual for open source developers to be paid?

Not really. Many of our mentors get paid to work on open source. Some run their own consultancies, others tinker for some cash on the side, others work for large companies.

That said, we do know it is tricky to introduce cash into the mix of Free and Open Source, but that is why we're working with external organizations with years of collective experience in this kind of thing.

4. What documentation is required from students?

We will need the following documentation from students: 

  • For students based in the United States, we will need a completed IRS form W9.
  • For students based outside the United States, we will need a completed Foreign Certification form.
  • For all students, we will need a transcript/proof of enrollment in school. A pdf or electronic file of the transcripts is acceptable.

Detailed instructions for obtaining and returning these documents to Google will be sent to the private students' mailing list. We will need to have all of this documentation on file before issuing payment to a particular student.

5. What tax related documentation is required from mentoring organizations?

We will need the following tax related documentation from mentoring organizations or umbrella organizations:

  • For organizations based in the United States, we will need a completed IRS form W9.
  • For organizations based outside the United States, we will need a completed IRS form W8-BEN.

All organizations are paid via purchase order from Google, which will require registering as a vendor in our payments system. Detailed instructions for registering as a vendor and invoicing Google for payment will be sent to the private mentors' mailing list. We will need to have all required documentation on file before issuing payment to a particular mentoring organization.

6. I am an accepted student in the United States on an F1 visa. How do I get work authorization to participate?

Please talk to your international student affairs office for more details. In the past, students on an F1 visa have participated in Google Summer of Code through CPT, but you will need to check with your university to see what will work best.

If you need a letter from Google to establish CPT, we will email the documentation to you. More details on how to request a letter for CPT are available here. If there is specific information that must be contained in the letter or there are other instructions for returning it, e.g. it must be faxed to your student affairs office, include this information when requesting the documentation.

Other Questions

1. What are the program mailing lists?

There are four program mailing lists:

If you are a past participant in the program, now would be an ideal time to revisit and update your subscription preferences to the program mailing lists.

2. Is there an IRC channel I can idle on?

Yes. You can get your questions answered real-time and hang out with us in #gsoc on Freenode.

3. What can I do to spread the word about Google Summer of Code?

You can download flyers and post them around your campus. We're also asking for community help in translating the flyer, so if you're interested in contributing your skills in localization please check out the program flyer wiki page for further details. You can tweet about the program, make YouTube videos, or host a meetup in your area about the program.

4. I would like to organize or host a Google Summer of Code information session or meetup. What is the process for doing so?

Please schedule a meetup at whatever time and place is convenient for you. You can always use our presentation templates to help you prepare for the meetup. If you would like help from Google to spread the word about the meetup in advance, then you can ...

  • Send a message about the meetup to the Meetups List. Be sure to include as much information as possible, including date & time, location, registration information if needed, etc.
  • While the program administrators do their best to monitor this list, it is always worth sending a reminder email to us to let us know that the meetup is happening so we can add it to the program calendar and update our social networking sites with the information.
  • Please send us a blog post for the Google Open Source Blog after the event happens so we can showcase your efforts! We can send you more information about what we look for in a post when you let us know that you have scheduled the meetup.

5. Are there other resources for learning about the program?

There are several other resources that may be helpful to you: 

6. Where do I file bugs and feature requests for the Google Summer of Code 2013 site?

You can submit bugs and feature requests to the Google Summer of Code site issue tracker. Please check to see if your problem is already a known issue before submitting a bug report.

7. Is there a t-shirt involved?

Yes, with some caveats. Successful participants from some countries will receive a Google Summer of Code t-shirt. Unfortunately, if you live in Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Peru, Russia, or the Ukraine, we can not ship you a t-shirt. Logistics and shipments to these countries has become untenable, and so you will only receive your payment card for your participation in the program.

All successful student participants will receive a certificate of completion at the close of the program.

8. Can I find Google Summer of Code on any social networking sites?

Yes. You can find us on Google+.

9. What if I have a question not answered in this FAQ?

You can find a lot more information available on the program wiki. If these FAQs and the wiki still don't answer your questions, you can reach the Google Summer of Code program administration team via the Google Summer of Code Discussion Group.