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Git's application to Google's Summer of Code 2010.

spearce is the organization admin this year.



Git is close to five years old, and it is probably the most successful revision control system in Open Source by now. Many of the largest and most successful open source projects use it, including the Linux kernel,, BlueZ, Cairo, DragonFly BSD, Etherboot, One Laptop Per Child, Perl, Samba, Thousand Parsec, The Wine Project, VideoLAN, XMMS2, etc.

This achievement is the product of the lively Git development community, a loose-knit team of developers, technical writers, and end users with a passion for high quality open-source development.

Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2010? What do you hope to gain by participating?

During GSoC 2007 Git had two successful student projects. Although both students contributed useful code to the community, the biggest benefit we received was the increased visibility and the addition of new long-term contributors.

During GSoC 2008, Git had 6 students, 5 of which succeeded. We gained two regular contributors, and the other students are still seen on the mailing list sometimes. Even the student we had to fail continues working on his project.

In 2009, Git had only 2 students, one of which dropped out due to time constraints. The other student was attending the GitTogether 2009.

By participating in GSoC 2010 the Git community hopes to attract more new talent to our community, and convert that talent into long-term contributors and high-quality enhancements to Git.

Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation

During GSoC 2007 we had two student projects ("GIT library project", "Replace most core scripts with C versions") mentored by two of our active developers. Both projects were completed successfully, but only one merged its code into the main project.

In 2008, we had six projects: "GitTorrent - implement a BitTorrent like protocol to exchange Git repositories", "git-statistics - mine the commit history of a project and identify 'good' changes from 'bad' changes", "Gitweb caching - a project that allows gitweb, our web interface, to scale better", "Eclipse plugin push support", "builtin-merge - reimplement git-merge in C", and "git-sequencer - a low-level patch-application engine".

While we had to fail the student working on GitTorrent, he still continues to work on the project from time to time.

The git-statistics project was finished, but it was decided that it is independent enough to be maintained separately, the better to gain support for other source code management tools. This student is an active member of the Git community, even if he is also an active contributor to the Melange project.

The Eclipse plugin and builtin-merge projects were integrated into the mainline source code. The latter student remains a very active contributor to our project.

While the Gitweb caching and the git-sequencer project were finished in time, neither of them were fully integrated into our mainline source code yet. However, both students have a two-digit number of commits in our repository.

In 2009, we only had two projects: ("Add caching support to git-daemon" and "Interactive Graph-GUI").

The former saw some revisions of the patch series, but there are a few concerns to be addressed before they will be merged. The student has been attending the GitTogether in Mountain View in 2009. See also

The interactive Graph-GUI project was stopped at a premature state, due to unfortunate time constraints on the students' side; it would take a full Google Summer of Code project to add the functionality that was originally intended. But there is some source code which compiles fine, so not all is lost:

The biggest challenge turned out to be moving the communications with some of the students from private to public. For example, the Gitweb caching and the GitTorrent projects could have shared some effort, and in general, the students did not benefit from the competence of the non-mentor community members as much as they could have.

If your organization has not previously participated in GSoC, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)?


What license(s) does your project use?

GPL (GNU Public License), version 2

What is the URL for your ideas page?

What is the main development mailing list for your organization?

What is the main IRC channel for your organization?

#git (on freenode)

Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now

Who will be your backup organization administrator?

Johannes Schindelin

What criteria did you use to select individuals as mentors? Please be as specific as possible

All mentors volunteered for the specific project(s) that they could contribute the most to. All mentors are active contributors within the Git development community.

Active contributors are defined to be those who have submitted and have had accepted into a shipped release a substantial amount of code. Substantial amount of code is defined to be equal in size (or larger) to what might be reasonably expected of a student working on a Google Summer of Code project.

All mentors are well known within the Git development community for their accomplishments and contributions.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?

Every reasonable effort will be made to maintain contact with students and ensure they are making progress throughout the summer.

In the unfortunate event that a student abandons and does not complete his/her GSoC project, the Git community will try to pick up and continue the work without the student. This is one reason why we will require frequent publishing of project materials to

Students will also be strongly encouraged by our mentors to work through their project by completing several small milestones throughout the summer. This strategy of project organization will help students to feel like they have accomplished something useful sooner, as well as making it easier for the Git community to pick up an abandoned project.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?

Most of our suggested projects have more than one mentor available. As a community we plan on making sure all of the active projects have at least two mentors willing and available to work with the student, reducing the likelihood that the project becomes mentor-less during GSoC '10.

In the unlikely event that a mentor disappears during the summer another mentor will be arranged to step in. The Git community has plenty of good people within that would be more than happy to help a student finish their project. It is very probable that the replacement mentor would already be familiar with the student and the project, as many community members routinely review code and discussions on the mailing list.

What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?

Students will be required to join the main development mailing list, and post their patches for discussion to same. All current contributors already do this, so students will see the experienced hands performing the same tasks, and will therefore be able to learn by example. We feel that the list based discussions will help the students to become, and stay, a member of the community.

Mailing list traffic is currently around 80-100 messages per day, and is focused on Git feature development. Keeping current by at least skimming list messages is an important part of the Git development process.

Students will be required to post their work as a Git repository on (an open community hosting server), or on another publicly available server, so that their work is immediately available for everyone to review, experiment with, and make use of. Nearly all members of the Git community post their active work to or similar servers.

Mentors will also exchange email with students on at least a weekly basis, if not more frequently. Students will be required to provide weekly progress reports back to their mentors, so that the mentors are aware of the tasks that a student might be stuck on or are having difficulty with. The intent of the progress reports is to give the mentors a chance to provide suggestions for problem resolution back to the student.

Frequent email and IRC interaction with mentors and other developers will be strongly encouraged by suggesting students post their questions and ideas to the mailing list, and to discuss them on #git. Most developers either already hold "office-hours" on IRC, or have agreed to do so during GSoC '10.

What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after GSoC concludes?

GSoC will be a good introduction to Git (both the technology and the community) for the students. Once they know Git and are "hooked", we are confident they won't easily leave the arena, for a number of reasons.

The interaction between community members has always been very friendly, and new people are always warmly welcomed; especially those with interesting new ideas and viewpoints. Jovial working friendships have been easily formed between the community members, and students will most certainly also be warmly welcomed into that environment.

Hacking on Git is an excellent way to hone one's development skills, as the community is filled with a wide range of very experienced programmers who are ready and willing to help a contributor improve the quality of their work. We hope that students will realize this unique opportunity during GSoC and continue staying active within the community even after GSoC '10 completes, just like many of our previous GSoC students did.

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