Welcome Google Summer of Code applicants!

Please read everything on this page, especially the How to ask for Help section.
This page is designed to make your proposal better, by not reading everything are reducing your chances of getting your proposal accepted.

Step 0 - Prior Reading

Firstly, please read the Google Summer of Code Student Manual. It contains a lot of helpful information about the program and about participating as a student in Google Summer of Code.

Secondly, please read the Google Summer of Code FAQ. It contains lots of helpful information about the program, specific deadlines and how things will run.

Step 1 - Finding a Idea

Due to the TimVideos project being made up of many smaller projects, it can be tricky to work out which projects match your skills. We have a number of useful tools to help match you to projects.

As selecting a project or understanding an idea can be hard, we recommend you come join us on IRC and talk to us further about them. Good students are engaged with the community before GSoC even starts!

Contribute Page

The Contribute page is the primary location to help you figure out which project matches your skills and interests.

Idea Issue Tracker

The TimVideos project has a dedicated issue tracker which contains tasks which are suitable to be completed as part of GSoC.

It includes a guide to using the issue tracker and understanding what the labels on the ideas mean.

Can I work on XXX?

If a idea is listed in our Idea issue tracker and has the label GSoC you can assume the answer is going to be yes.

What should I work on?

What do you like to do? What interests you? You know better what projects are going to keep your interest for 3 months than we do.

Is project XXX important?

For GSoC the most important factor is the application quality! If the strongest application is for a lower priority project it is much more likely to be accepted even if poorer applications exist for higher priority projects.

Step 2 - Writing A Proposal

Feel free to submit multiple proposals.

The following links detail successful general ways to write a Summer of Code Proposal:


After reviewing many proposals there are a couple of things that many seem to be lacking. This list of tips should help you fix common mistakes and help make your proposals better.

Tip 1 - Include IRC Nickname

Include your IRC nick as the first thing in the detailed description.

During Summer of Code hundreds of new people turn up, keeping you all straight is hard for us. Specially when your IRC nick, email address and real name have no resemblance.

Tip 2 - Project First, Resume Second

We are most interested in your proposal for the project. If your proposal looks good we may then look at your resume / personal description.

Hence, include the project information first and your personal stuff second.

Tip 3 - Include assertive Functional Milestones

One of the best ways to show that you are a serious students is to include proper assertive milestones. These should be a single sentences which say something like:

  • The AI will issue move orders.
  • The client will be able to display planets in a 3d fashion.
  • The ruleset will allow tpclient-pywx to see planets.
  • The metaserver will display a starmap generated from starmapper.

The keyword here is will, it is assertive.

These milestones should have dates associated with them. We understand that you are new to the project and that these dates will change as the project progresses. You will not fail just because a milestone had to be moved a week or dropped all together.

The milestones should be testable and specific. Here are some examples which are not acceptable.

  • The AI framework will be finish.
  • The star map will work.
  • The ruleset will be balanced.

Negative milestones are hard to test, avoid them if possible. For example “The AI will not issue wrong orders” is almost impossible to prove and not all that useful. More often negative statements are goals not milestones.

These milestones will be hard to figure out, being able to talk about specifics shows that you are well researched and know your stuff. Have confidence in your own abilities!

Keep your milestones small, they should be doable in less than a week’s full time work. The smaller (and more specific) they are, the harder it will be to get behind on.

Talk to the mentors about your milestones, they have huge amount of knowledge about what is realistic and can really help you refine the details.

Tip 4 - We are not mind readers

Anything which is not linked to from your proposal effectively does not exist. I’m afraid we can not (yet) read your mind.

It is unlikely that we will remember that IRC conversation we had about XYZ. Other mentors may not have seen that conversation either.

If you have thought about a certain way to do something tell us, even if you decided that it was not feasible. If you had an important IRC conversation which resulted in changing the way you think, link too the logs. If a web page was influential tell us about it!

Tip 5 - Submit now!

Do not leave it to the last minute as you won’t have time to update the proposal based on feedback. There is still plenty of time for mentors to give feedback and you to update your proposal.

Tip 6 - Make your application public

Having a public application means not only can mentors give you feedback but other students and the general community can too!

Using a wiki is a good idea because it lets us look at the history of how your proposal has evolved. It also means you can have formatting making it easier to read.

Tip 7 - Splitting applications which are too big

Google limits the text you can submit for your detailed description characters. This can be quite limited if you have some detailed information or pseudo code. Hence, It is recommended that you produce two versions of your application.

A “cut back” version which fits into the character limit. This should be all the very important bits of your application. You must include your functional milestones in this section. There should be enough meat in this section to convince us to look at your further URL.

The URL in the document should link to your full proposal. Feel free to add things like pseudo code, design information or anything else which you feel is relevant.

This linked proposal you should also include your complete Google application. The text which is being duplicated should be clearly marked in a different colour but still readable. Assume that clicking the link replace the Google application with the page and we can no longer remember the original proposal.

Remember quality is better than quantity!

Selection Criteria

The following gives some indication of some of the things we are looking for.

There is some subjective elements to judging applications, but it’s hoped that by trying to quantify the decision process, it’ll help people understand why their application was or was not accepted.

  • Proposal is longer than a few sentences. - We need some meat in the proposal in order to even consider it.
  • Proposer has contacted us prior to the submission. - This demonstrates a definite interest in TimVideos.us and proves an ability to communicate with us.
  • Proposer knows the appropriate programming language(s).
  • Proposer shows evidence of being able to create software. - Our goal is to help programmers become good at Open Source, not to teach non-programmers how to program. However, we are willing to help people develop their programming skills.
  • Proposal is well written. - While we don’t expect perfect English, we do expect that the proposer took time to spell check, proofread it, organize it logically, and use comprehensible grammar.
  • Proposal demonstrates understanding of subject matter. - We expect the proposer to do some research, ask questions, and gain some understanding of the project they’re proposing. This gives us confidence that they’ll be able to complete the project successfully.
  • Proposal shows creativity. We like to see someone thinking outside the box, including proposing ideas for projects we hadn’t listed.
  • Proposal is the only submission for the given task. - Many proposals focus on the same few tasks, so if you’re the only person proposing to do a given project, that weighs in your favor.
  • Proposal shows implementation planning. - If the author has broken the work out into a task list, it shows that they know what they’ll be doing.
  • Proposal scope is realistic. - 12 weeks goes fast. Proposals that are promising too much are unlikely to be completed in a timely fashion.
  • Proposal shows motivation. - While it’s important to describe the project in detail and show us that you have the necessary skills, do not forget to communicate your motivation, i.e. why you want to work for us on this particular project.

The following are conditions that result in automatic rejection:

  • Group project proposed. Google has specified that groups MAY NOT participate. Individuals only.
  • Proposer is not a student. Google has specified this as a requirement of the GSoC program.

Step 4 - Fixing your first bug

While not required, it is highly recommended that GSoC students try and fix at least one small bug as before the mentors finish reviewing applications.

Most TimVideos projects have number of small tasks marked as Good First Bug label. These bugs are generally smaller and designed to be easy to get started with.

Submitting a bug fix shows that you have understood the project enough to get things set up.

How to ask for help

Google Summer of Code will require you to work independently and hence showing independent investigation and troubleshooting skills is a must. We definitely encourage asking questions of the mentors but you must demonstrate researching the question.

The following is bad example. It demonstrates no research or thinking. The response to this question will be a link to this page!


I’d like to work on “[HDMI2USB #14] Supporting Marvell Ethernet chip on Digilent board” project, please guide me.

Potential GSoC student, Tim ‘mithro’ Ansell

The following is a good example. It demonstrates research and thinking about the issue and more in depth questioning.


I’m currently researching the “[HDMI2USB #14] Supporting Marvell Ethernet chip on Digilent board” issue and have a number of questions I’d like clarified.

The Marvell Ethernet chip appears to be a RGMII compatible PHYs interface. I have found a number of compatible cores at OpenCores and want to know if reusing their work is acceptable? I also found that a person has had some success at http://www.joelw.id.au/FPGA/DigilentAtlysResources and would like to follow their approach.

What level of network protocols need to be supported? Using a low level Ethernet frame would be significantly easier from the FPGA side but would require more work on the connected PC. Using UDP seems like the best compromise between difficulty and compatibility. TCP/IP would had a huge amount more complexity and I’m not sure of the added benefit. Would it be okay to just support UDP?

Thank you for your help.

Potential GSoC student, Tim ‘mithro’ Ansell

Some good pages to look for tips about writing good questions can be found below;

Often the best way to ask questions is to start writing your Google Summer of Code proposal as documented in the Writing Proposals section and find out what areas you are getting stuck at.

Where to Ask Questions

Frequency Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I work on project XXX?


Can you please help me?

Please ask more specific questions. What don’t you understand? What have you read so far? Tell us about yourself.

See the How to ask for help section above.

What should I work on?

What do you like to do? What interests you? You know better what projects are going to keep your interest for 3 months than we do.

Is project XXX important?

For GSoC the most important factor is the application quality! If the strongest application is for a lower priority project it is much more likely to be accepted even if poorer applications exist for higher priority projects.

What should I do next?

Start writing your proposal as shown in the Writing Proposals section. This will help you ask better questions too!

Who should I contact for project XXXX?

As developer time is limited, we ask everyone post their messages to the public mailing list or IRC channel (read http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html#noprivate for a more detailed explaination).


We would like to thank the following: