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					                     Seven Steps to Get Accepted to GSoC
    By C.S. Nirmal J. Fernando of Department of Computer Science & Engineering,
                          University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.

On the first day I heard of GSoC, I determined someday I will be participated in the program. May be
it’s because of the unforgettable experience one can get or may be
the willingness to contribute to the FOSS community, perhaps may
be to make a name in the globe or may be to get the thrill of seen
lots of Google hits or may be the stipends or etc..etc.

I only started for searching a matching project to me in the early
March, but I prefer as the first step you to start before than that, to
me I got my exams on January and training started on February so I
did not get much time before March. I had few interested projects on my mind before student
application period opens. Those were Apache Projects, Sahana, PHPMyAdmin and OpenCog. I got
subscribed to their mailing lists to get an idea of what exactly they are doing; I think this will be a
good second step for you to get started with GSoC. From those I was really interested in two
projects the most; those were Apache Derby and OpenCog. Google announced the list of accepted
mentoring organizations on 18th of March, unfortunately or fortunately OpenCog was not selected
this time. So I had to focus on Apache Derby, as I believe it was a plan of God, he took away a
possible option from me so I can put up my full effort on one. I found an interesting idea on Derby’s
idea list; perhaps this will be your third step, which is “Add tools for improved analysis and
understanding of query plans and execution statistics”. I read the JIRA issue created for this idea,
which is DERBY-4587, and contacted the mentor assigned to this idea, Mr. Bryan Pendleton on 20th
of March; the fourth step. We had lots of discussions on the idea even before the student
application period opens; possibly the fifth step try to understand your project, it is quite unlikely
that you can get the whole idea precisely beforehand. Sixth step a bit tough one follows next. I sent
my proposal to my mentor on 30th of March, ten days before the deadline, and he had reviewed it
on very same day and sent me a reply, this is how he had started it; “Your proposal looks very good
to me, thanks for letting me preview it. I think it is well written and clear”, that boosted my
confidence a lot. I did not stop my work on project; I kept on posting my findings in JIRA, in the
application period as well. I posted my proposal on the mailing list as well, to get ideas of other
members in the community. I quote here a comment I got from Kathey Marsden; “I do not have any
specific technical input, but wanted to say that I think this is a very good and thoughtful proposal and
appreciate your efforts to provide this capability for Derby. I also think your interaction with the
community has been much focussed, relevant and shows good technical understanding”. During this
period I had involved in some other issues as well, I think that is really important to get attention
from the community; possible seventh step. Keep one thing in mind it may be hard to fix a bug in
that short time period (depending on the project), but you can always send a documentation patch
to the community, I think they will highly appreciate it. The bug I kept my hands on was not that
small, though I put some effort I couldn’t solve it before the student application deadline, but I made
sure to submit a documentation patch which they appreciated a lot. Four days before one of the
happiest days of my life, my mentor requested me to send an ICLA to the Apache Software
Foundation (ASF); The ICLA is a legal document which grants the ASF the right to use my
contributions, that gave me some clue of things to come, but you can never know what will be the
plan of God. Finally the April 26th dawned, had a nervous day at my training place thinking of what
will happen. Heart rate was increased when the mid night arrived. Google was planned to announce
the accepted students on their site at 19:00 UTC that is 00:30 on April 27th. Suddenly at 00:16 AM, I
got an update of a new mail in Google Talk subjecting “Congratulations”; I rushed in to my gmail tab,
to read the mail. Here what it said:

Congratulations! Your proposal "Apache Derby-4587- Add tools for
improved analysis and understanding of query plans and execution
statistics" as submitted to "Apache Software Foundation" has been
accepted for Google Summer of Code 2010......

I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness, because I believe that is
the main hurdle of getting through GSoC.

I like to introduce you what is Apache Derby in few words though it is
hard. Apache Derby is a full-featured, open source relational database
management system (RDBMS) that is based on Java technology and
SQL, which is an Apache DB subproject under the Apache Software Foundation. Mainly Derby
provides an embedded JDBC driver and a client/server model with Derby Network Client JDBC driver
and Derby Network Server. The current stable release is release which was released on 19th
of May, 2010.

Ok, everyone so I sincerely hope that this will help you to get start with GSoC, but keep in mind it is
your dedication and passion make this a reality. While wishing you a good luck, like to convey thanks
for reading this up.

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