Congratulations GSoC 2020 students!

Congratulations to the 18 @gsoc-students accepted to work with our DIAL Open Source Center sub-organizations: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), moja global, Open Data Kit (ODK), Primero, Public Lab, Tor Project, and Ushahidi. We are excited for the projects you will be working on this summer, and are eager to do everything we can to make your experience rewarding and fun.

Please read all of the information below carefully – it won’t take too long, and it has important next steps for you to be successful. We’ve also created a 2-minute video summarizing some of this information. Start by taking a quick look and then continue reading below.

Next Steps for Accepted Students

  1. Contact your mentor(s) immediately. The GSoC web site will let you know which mentor(s) are associated with your project. Find out which person is serving as the “primary” mentor, your first point of contact for questions. The other mentors listed are there as “backups” in case you need additional answers or resources. Make a plan to communicate with your mentor(s) regularly. Open source projects communicate in the open, so plan to keep any direct/private communication to an absolute minimum. You are now part of your sub-org’s developer community, and your mentors want you to feel like part of the team! You should plan to use some combination of public chat tools, discussion forums, mailing lists, and any of the other public communication tools your sub-org community already uses. Your mentors may guide you in how to tag or label or otherwise organize your communications to make it easier for them and others to keep track of things. Listen to their advice and follow it. You can see a list here on the OSC Hub of all of our @gsoc-mentors, and their associated sub-orgs.

  2. Prepare a detailed project plan together with your mentor(s). Browse the current code specific to your project, and review the requirements for your project together with your mentor. Your plan should include “SMART goals” and you should schedule milestones for each week, to make it easier for you to understand if you are on track or might need to adjust dates as the summer goes on. Publish your project plan using tools already used by your sub-org community, such as wikis, forums, web sites, etc. (Your mentor can let you know the best place to publish your plan.) Project plans are “living” documents, so if you need to adjust the dates, talk about it with your mentor first, and then make appropriate updates throughout the summer.

  3. Get ready to start working on your project. Review any documentation or bugs/issues in the backlog related to your project. You can also use this time to participate in community meetings, or work on some initial bugs or feature development, or work on some other general bugs and issues in your backlog. Remember, you generally shouldn’t begin your project until the official start date of 1 June! Ask your mentor for guidance with these activities through the rest of this month.

Students Weekly Standup and Blogging Requirements

  1. Every Friday during the program (starting this Friday 8 May) you should publish a “blog post” style update about your project. Create a single ongoing topic for your project in the #programs:mentorship category here on the OSC Hub. Each week, you will reply to that same topic with what you’ve written. (Consider also including screen shots or videos some weeks!) Ask your mentors if they want the same “blog post” cross-posted in your sub-org’s community somewhere (for example, web site, blog, forum, mailing list). Your mentor will let you whether or not there’s an additional place you should cross-post. Regardless, you’ll post your update here each week. Writing each week helps the larger community learn about the you are doing, and also helps the OSC org admins make sure you are still on track to pass and don’t need any additional help.

  2. Every Monday during the program you will also write a brief “standup” report for your mentor. A “master topic” will be created in #programs:mentorship and starting next week (Monday 11 May) you will answer three (3) questions: one about the past week, one about the upcoming week, and one about any place you may feel stuck. You should also share these reports with their mentor, to be used in 1-on-1 conversations during the week ahead. The easiest way to make sure your mentor gets a copy of this update is by @-mentioning them in your weekly update here. Your mentor will let you know if there is an additional place you should also send this weekly update in your specific sub-org community (forum, mailing list, chat, etc.). Regardless, you’ll post your update here each week.

Additional Ideas, Tips, & Advice

  • If you don’t already have one, consider setting up a personal blog for your work on open source projects, including GSoC and your sub-org. You should try to use open source solutions like WordPress (hosted or deploy your own) or try a static site on GitLab. Share your blog’s URL with your mentor(s), and perhaps with others in your sub-org if it seems appropriate. You may want to add it to your social media profiles, too. You can cross-post your weekly updates that you write here on the OSC Hub to your personal blog to keep a permanent record of your exciting project work, and you can also post other interesting things you learn about open source software development. If you don’t already have them, you may also want to set up a social media account to share your open source work. Consider federated open source tools like Mastodon!

  • As directed by your “primary” mentor, also be sure to CC any designated “backup” mentors in all communications about your project. Unless you hear otherwise, don’t worry about over-communicating with your mentors – they will figure out how to filter and organize your communications so they can easily keep track of things. By remembering to CC your backup mentor(s), it will be easier for them to understand what’s going on when they need to help.

  • Finally, if you feel stuck and aren’t making progress by communicating with your mentors, your OSC org admins are here to help. Send a private message here on the OSC Hub to @gsoc-admins, or send an email to We will be sending out messages applicable to all of our umbrella org students from time to time during the summer, so you’ll hear more from us then.

Once again, congratulations! Now go celebrate, share the news to your friends and on social media, and then send a note to your mentors to get things rolling. Good luck!


:tada: :tada: :tada:

Thanks to everyone who’s joining our sub-org this year at Public Lab and congrats to everyone!

We’ll be posting a “welcome packet” in a new issue on in a bit, in our weekly check-in issue at

Also, +1 the personal blog suggestion! Public Lab students are welcomed to post theirs at, using the tag soc-2020 – thanks!

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Thanks @jywarren - you give a great example of what each @gsoc-students sub-org may have available to share updates.

Students: Be sure to ask your mentor if they’d like you to do something similar to what Public Lab is planning. They may even ask you for ideas!

Meanwhile, a couple of your fellow students have already started the “running topic” for weekly updates here on OSC Hub. Have a look, then create your own in the #programs:mentorship category. You should also try to tag your topic with #summer-of-code, #student-blog, and a tag for your sub-org name. (The @gsoc-admins team can help with this if needed.)

We know not much has happened this first week other than finding out the good news and starting to make plans, but we look forward to seeing your updates on Friday about the reactions from you and your friends. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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