Newcomer Experience Survey

Did you first start contributing to GNOME after January 2010? Then you must still remember the confusion and the clarity, the friendly people and the trolls you encountered on your path. Please take Kevin Carillo‘s well-researched survey about your experience as a newcomer and how it shaped you as a contributor.

The collected data will be released under a ‘share-alike’ Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL) and the published materials about the research will be publicly available. The results of this research will be of great interest to everyone in Free and Open Source Software and your response would help ensure that we have a comprehensive set of data about newcomer experiences in GNOME. Thank you!

Mentoring in GNOME

The application deadline for Google Summer of Code and GNOME Outreach Program for Women this year will be April 6, and the internship dates will be from May 21 to August 20. Organizations accepted for GSoC will be announced March 16, but we need to start encouraging the potential applicants to prepare to apply for both programs as early as possible.

In OPW, connecting applicants who are new to the project with mentors who can help them with their first contribution is an important part of the process. For a student, connecting with a mentor and starting to contribute to a project is the best way to prepare to apply for GSoC as well.

The big change for this round of OPW is that, instead of the dedicated list of mentors, we now point the applicants to the GNOME-wide list of mentors. I moved the OPW list of mentors there a few months ago, and people have been adding themselves to it. With this list, we now provide all newcomers with a way to find a mentor in GNOME who can help them with the first contribution! Please add yourself and your project to it.

I created an information page for mentors in GNOME with ideas that have proved to be important for OPW, such as requiring the applicant to contribute to the module they are applying to work on and encouraging manageable projects with commits throughout the internship period. Please help students interested in working on your module, make sure they have the necessary skills by having them fix a small bug, and guide them in proposing a viable and manageable project.

I have also encouraged other organizations to create lists of mentors or provide links to other ways newcomers can connect with mentors in their organization. These are compiled on a GSoC wiki page and will provide a way for more students to gain the necessary experience to successfully apply for GSoC. In particular, we will spread the word about this resource among various technical women groups, which will help encourage more women to participate in GSoC.

Four creative OPW interns – Liansu, Christy, Meg, and Tamara – made an awesome cartoon to better explain the OPW application process. Their collaborative work spanned 90 e-mails over a course of a month.

GNOME mentors, can you spot yourself in the cartoon? In addition to mentoring, please help spread the word about GSoC and OPW by sending a prepared e-mail to your university’s Computer Science department or to a local FOSS group, distributing flyers on campuses and at events, and posting updates on social networks.