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Google's Pandemic-Minded GSoC Will Be A Lot Less Interesting This Year

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  • Google's Pandemic-Minded GSoC Will Be A Lot Less Interesting This Year

    Phoronix: Google's Pandemic-Minded GSoC Will Be A Lot Less Interesting This Year

    While it's sign-up time for open-source organizations hoping to participate in this year's Google Summer of Code, GSoC 2021 changes in the name of the pandemic are leading some organizations to debate whether it's still being involved with this student coding effort...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...ss-Interesting

  • #2
    Originally posted by phoronix View Post
    This was in the name of "the pandemic straining folks’ time." But that decision was made all the way back in October before seeing how the pandemic would really play out for 2021, many people having more time on their hands at home due to the pandemic, and that announcement also mentioned "starting in 2021" so it sounds more like a permanent change of course than some temporary measure due to COVID-19.
    You just had to look at plausible vaccination delivery timelines to see that summer would still be fairly locked-down. And Google has long been ahead of the pack in announcing extensions to their work-from-home policy:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/27/goog...mmer-2021.html

    Most project mentors are probably in the age range to have children at home, which eats up any "more time on their hands" ...and then some.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by coder View Post
      You just had to look at plausible vaccination delivery timelines to see that summer would still be fairly locked-down. And Google has long been ahead of the pack in announcing extensions to their work-from-home policy:

      https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/27/goog...mmer-2021.html

      Most project mentors are probably in the age range to have children at home, which eats up any "more time on their hands" ...and then some.
      Google's work from home policies are arguably irrelevant to GSoC no matter how prescient. An e'mail here and there, explanations on certain concepts, add in some video calls with some shared desktops to show something difficult. Mentoring doesn't take up as much time out of people's lives as some think. I've been a mentor myself, albeit a different subject. This sounds like some manager at Google making a decision without bothering to take time to poll the interested projects and their available mentors what they actually have time for, not what the manager thinks they have time for.

      If someone wants to correct me on that, that's fine. It's just a modern historical trend for Google to make changes having not bothered to ask anyone if they're wanted or welcome, catch considerable flack, roll them back... then try to sneak them in down the line anyway. Arrogance is Google's de facto mantra these days. Or come up with a project and kill it a couple years later regardless of the number of users. Maybe GSoC is about to be Googled, and I don't mean searched.

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      • #4
        yup, what a shame, yet another great project abused for political purposes. Looks like they're trying really hard not having people think outside the covid box anymore for fear of wanting to go back to normal.
        I remember times when it was really about funding creativity and trying to see what greatness happens when you don't put up boundaries.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by _blk View Post
          Looks like they're trying really hard not having people think outside the covid box anymore for fear of wanting to go back to normal.
          I doubt there's a person on Earth who fears wanting to go back to normal.

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          • #6
            I see this as simply they wanted to cut the budget on this initiative that was nice but never really a profitable one and now they finally found an excuse to do so. That's why I believe this change might indeed be permanent if it works out alright. There's no politics involved, just business as usual.

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            • #7
              It does seem odd because with people locked down, students would have more time on their hands and a lot of the jobs they would have are in short supply. This surprises me as it seems the perfect time to turn the project up if you are really trying to do no evil.

              Must be an internal reason they are trying to kill this off (political/business/lost interest/etc..).

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              • #8
                Having done GSoC project admin several times by now, there are a few issues that these changes resolve:
                1. Not all students have the same US-centric schedule that GSoC was originally based on. GSoC still covers the same time frame for less work, so there's more flexibliity to work around exam times etc officially (instead of needing informal agreements between students and mentors.)
                2. There were candidates who had to choose between maybe being chosen for GSoC or taking a "real" summer job, and they opted out for incertainty. The reduced work load enabled taking on a job _plus_ Summer of Code.
                3. GSoC often meant a paid summer job for existing contributors in their project. That's nice (and the best way to ensure a successful outcome for a given project) but one of the goals of GSoC has always been to get people into Open Source development that weren't exposed to it before. More flexible arrangements mean less risk for such candidates.
                4. Same for allowing coding camps, community colleges and so on, which provide a path for a wider range of folks (outside the traditional academic career) to get into OSS development through this program.
                I'm only partly speaking with my Google employee hat on here, and I have no relation with the GSoC team beyond having been GSoC student, mentor or admin over many years, and I'm definitely not speaking for the company yada yada: All that said, it's Google's money to spend. It would be regrettable if the budget for GSoC is reduced, but equating that with "being evil" seems a bit over the top to me.

                I also don't know what impact this has on financials: Since a student is now only half the work for their mentor, I suppose each could take on two students, making these changes cost neutral. I also wonder what that means to the success rate of students: If you had a student bail out during the program, or fail their task, from the project's point of view their slot was wasted. That can still happen, but in theory there can be more students, spreading out the risk. Let's see if that happens.

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                • #9
                  Weather.com reported:
                  During the second week in January, 23 people tested positive for the flu in the United States.

                  More than 14,657 tested positive for the flu during the same time last year, before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

                  “It’s crazy,” Lynnette Brammer, who leads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Domestic Influenza Surveillance team, told The Washington Post. “This is my 30th flu season. I never would have expected to see flu activity this low.”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by staggerlee View Post
                    Weather.com reported:
                    During the second week in January, 23 people tested positive for the flu in the United States.

                    More than 14,657 tested positive for the flu during the same time last year, before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

                    “It’s crazy,” Lynnette Brammer, who leads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Domestic Influenza Surveillance team, told The Washington Post. “This is my 30th flu season. I never would have expected to see flu activity this low.”
                    It's a scam all about controlling the population to accept "the great reset"...

                    Comment

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